Wherever you go the same question is asked “Is it hot enough for ya?” Although we all look forward to summer not many of us in Central Alberta are used to +30 temperatures. Growing up in Medicine Hat I used to live for those sweltering +35 days and now when I go back to visit I can’t imagine living in that heat.
It makes sense to dress for hot weather with loose fitting, cottony clothing that will breathe in hot temperatures but how do you dress your home? Our homes also need certain materials to help it feel cool even during the most hazy days and you can prepare yourself for the heat wave just as you would pull together a summer wardrobe.
To start with, your flooring is covering a large area of your home and it needs to be considered in the scheme of keeping your cool. Any hard, reflective surface such as tile or hardwood will always feel cooler than a plush carpet. Many people come in to buy area rugs in the winter to keep their feet warm and then neglect to remove and store these rugs in the summer months. A hard surface will feel cooler to the touch of your toes and is also far more forgiving for popsicle or watermelon spills.
Windows will be your biggest challenge in the quest for cool. I have recently put a double cell honeycomb shade in my bedroom and let me tell you the difference is amazing! The cells of the shade trap heat (and cold in the coming months) and really make a difference in keeping the room cooler. As long as I remember to close them during the heat of the day, the room stays a nice temperature for sleeping. Any window coverings with folds or cells in it will have a higher R value which can protect you from heat and cold up to 70% better than uncovered windows.
Bedding and linens should be like your clothing, cottons or cotton blends are best for your slumber as they will wick away moisture from you as you sleep. Try storing your top sheet in the freezer or dousing it with cool water just before crawling into bed. A fine mist water bottle directed into the air stream of a fan is another delicious way to cool off and remember, cotton fabrics also dry very quickly. A cool soak in a tub right before bed is not only relaxing; it will help cool down your core prior to slumber.
Keep lighting and electronic items usage to a minimum, not only do these items use precious electricity which is valuable in summer (have any of you had a power outage yet) they emit a small measure of heat when they are running. Keep the electricity usage for your much needed fan that will be running all night.
We only have a few weeks or days of this extremely so hunker down, camp out and sleep in your basement with your frozen sheets and loose cotton PJ’s. We will be back soon enough to our Canadian comforts of flannel night gowns and wool socks as we complain about winter and wish for summer days again.
Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.