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Your air conditioner isn’t the only way to dampen the heat during the warmer parts of the year or country. With the right materials and decorating choices you can make your home feel even more comfortable in hot climates. Here are some tips and tricks for interior decorating that will help you beat the heat:

Window Coverings

Using the right window treatments can make an enormous difference in the indoor temperature of your home. Create some shade by covering any windows during the hottest parts of the day. The best type of window dressings for keeping out the heat are fabric curtains and drapes. Choose curtains if you don’t want the fabric to extend to the floor, but make sure they are the right size for your window. Curtains and drapes are most effective when hanging close to the window and touch a surface at the bottom, whether it be a windowsill or floor.

Covering your windows doesn’t mean the room has to feel dark, either. The best way to keep the room cool is to use thick, opaque fabrics in medium-range colors. Patterns and colors are your choice as long as the fabric itself has a tight weave. You can also find special insulating drapes with white outer layers to reflect heat even more effectively. Either way, you have plenty of options for factoring these cooling window treatments into your interior design.

Cool Surfaces

Using materials that are cool to the touch is a simple way to keep the entire space feeling comfortable in hot weather. This is especially important for flooring. Tile or stone flooring will not absorb heat like hardwood or carpet, and will feel comfortably cool throughout the day. Other cooling floor options include marble and cement. However, avoid faux stone made of vinyl or fiberglass as those materials tend to trap heat.

This same concept applies to other surfaces like counters. If you’re building or renovating in a hot-weather home, consider using granite or marble rather than artificial alternatives. They may have a higher price tag, but they will last a long time and add a cooling feel to your kitchens and bathrooms.

Light Colors

While the idea of a dark room might seem cool, lighter colors will actually keep the temperature down. It all comes down to the science of light: black will attract and absorb heat, while white will reflect it. The lighter the color you choose, the lighter the room will feel. Also, because light colors create the illusion of more space in a room, this can make you feel more calm and comfortable on hot days compared to stuffy and cramped rooms full of dark decor.

That said, you don’t have to make everything plain white to feel cooler. Try colors like cream, beige, or pale blue for wall colors and large furniture pieces. Even these changes alone can make a noticeable impact on the overall feel of a room. Patterns, prints and color are all up to you, but sticking with a lighter palette will prevent absorption of excess heat.

These are only a few ways you can keep your home interiors cool in a hot climate. While structural factors like windows and ventilation will make the biggest difference, every bit can help. You’ll find it’s easy to explore your own style while getting the added benefit of keeping the temperature down and the comfort level up.