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5 ways to improve your home this summer

July 13, 2012

Despite it having been the wettest June in more than a century (and with July not promising to be much better) – believe it or not – it is officially summertime.

Here we present 5 ways for you to improve your home this summer – good weather not strictly necessary!

1. Keep it cool

When the sun finally does decide to shine, it’s all hands on deck to find ways to keep cool! Air conditioning units can be expensive to install and run. But there are lots of alternative, more economical ways to keep cool.

Ceiling fan in a Nolan conservatory 

• Ceiling fans
Ceiling fans do use electricity, but a lot less than central or wall unit air conditioners. There are a host of styles to suit any home and they can really make a difference to the temperature. Set the blades to rotate anti-clockwise for maximum cooling effect.

• Glass roofs
Replacing your old conservatory roof with a new solar controlled glass roof can have a tremendous effect on the way your conservatory looks, feels and sounds. By replacing your glass units or having a newly designed conservatory with solar control glass such as Pilkington Activ Blue or Neutral on the outside and K Glass on the inside, you can keep your conservatory cooler when it’s warm outside and warmer when the weather’s cold.

• Window treatments and covers
Up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost though windows. So by treating windows and conservatories using special types of covering and reflective films, homes can be kept cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The more traditional options of shades, blinds and curtains can all help to reduce heat from the sun, and help retain heat in winter, too.

• Air conditioning
If you do have an air conditioner make sure it’s serviced at least once a year to ensure it’s operating safely and efficiently. And remember to time it to keep the bills, as well as the temperatures, as low as possible.

• Rethink appliance use
Try and change the way you use appliances in the home during hot weather to minimise the amount of heat created by them, which can be difficult to shift once it’s created in a room. Try and avoid using the oven, and cook outside if you can. Use the dishwasher and washing machine later at night – not only will this reduce the heat levels during the days but it can be cheaper to run them at off peak times depending on your energy tariff. And give the tumble dryer a break – hang clothes outside to dry. Although this can be a bit of a gamble in the beautiful Welsh weather!

2. Have a spring summer clean!

‘Summer clean’ – What You Can Do 

When the sun’s shining and you finally get to sweep open the curtains and venture into the conservatory again there’s nothing worse than gorgeous sunlight streaming through dirty windows!

Spring isn’t the only time when you have an excuse to rope the whole family in and give the house a good going over! Get windows and surfaces glimmering to make the most of the sunshine. And as well as all the usual chores, take time to switch off the fridge and vacuum carefully between the coils to get rid of any dust and lint which could be stopping it from working as well as it could be in the higher temperatures.

3. Clear away the clutter

As well as making sure everything is spic and span, nothing makes you relax more into the beautiful summer weather than relaxing in a tidy and spacious-feeling home! Easier said than done I know!
Organising clutter doesn’t have to take as long as you think it will. There are some gorgeous furnishings and accessories to help you organise your clutter, such as this attractive varnished rattan storage chest –perfect for the living room or conservatory.

Rattan storage chest – The Holding Company

It’s not just the house you can focus on either. Your wardrobe can be organised to make the most of the weather, and to help you avoid having to sift through all those depressing and dreary winter clothes on a bright summer morning! Choose the heaviest and warmest items that you definitely won’t be wearing for a while and store them away for colder days.
Living in Wales, we don’t advise moving them too far away though, as you never know what the weather will bring! Avoid putting them in the attic, and instead use clear plastic storage bags to stow them at the back of the wardrobe.

4. ‘Summerise’ your soft furnishings

Celebrate the summer in style by ‘summerising’ your soft furnishings as much as you can, without blowing the budget too much.
Chooser paler, lighter, less heavy curtains, to keep the sun from shining in and heating up rooms – but still letting light in.

Curtains from John Lewis

Swap your higher tog winter duvet for a lighter summer option. Or ditch it completely and use sheets with a heavier thread count (with a blanket if necessary).

If your favourite colours or fabrics include some brighter, more shimmery ones, which you might be afraid to permanently feature in your home – use summer as an excuse! Test out a few choice pieces and brighten up rooms with tangy orange or hot pink accessories or a shimmer. (See our previous blog post on trends, including pastels and neon if you’re stuck for inspiration).

5. Be barbeque ready!

BBQ steaks – Athleat 

We all know the scene… the ravaged supermarkets with bare shelves and nothing left! Then having to traipse around three different stores to find burger buns and firelighters.
So our advice is to be barbeque ready. Dust everything down and give the barbeque and all your outside furniture a good clean. And stock up on all the tools and equipment you need before the hot weather hits!
Most barbeque food can be bought in advance and stored in the freezer if you want to avoid the queues and shortages as well.

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