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Help! My House... Is Stuffy

June 12, 2017

It is getting hot in here.

For all the wrong reasons. Most days, your house feels like it's on fire - like a greenhouse with its airless confines, or an impossibly humid sauna you keep sweating in. You're not alone. Many flats actually suffer from terrible ventilation - made worse with Singapore's equatorial climate.

Sometimes, the easiest way is to turn on the air-con and get all that stuffiness out of the way. But, that would also mean having higher electricity bills! What's a homeowner with an impending heatstroke to do to keep cool and save money? This - here are 10 genius tips to help drop those temperatures by a couple degrees - all without air-conditioning.

1. Deflect Heat Through Your Windows.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Co. Prozfile Design

Your windows don't only let wind in. They also allow sun rays to enter your home - which could inevitably warm up a house's interiors. Reduce those chances of heat radiation by closing your windows during the hottest periods of the day - specifically 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, so that warm air would not enter your home.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Collective Design

Other ways to reduce heat from penetrating is to apply heat-reflective film or choose frosted glass for windows. Both help to deflect warmth whilst allowing natural light to enter.

2. Use The Right Blinds Or Curtains

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Corazon Interior

Take sun (and heat) protection to the next level by pairing your windows or balconies with heat-reflective blinds or curtains. For blinds, pick a bamboo version that is lightweight and cool to the touch.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Inzz Studio

For curtains, get something thick and opaque, think cotton or velvet. If you're concerned that these materials would seem to retain more heat, due to its density, get one with a white-plastic backing for more heat-deflective power.

3. Apply A Pale Colour Scheme

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Summerhaus Dzign

Here is where your primary school science classes come in handy. As a rule of thumb, darker colours absorb heat, while lighter ones like reflect them. The same can also be applied to your paint colours.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Fineline Design

If your home is on the stuffy side, try to refresh those walls with a fresh coat of white - you might begin to feel a subtle difference in room temperature. If plain white isn't your thing - other cooling colours work too, such as baby blues, lilacs, dove greys or creams.

4. Go For 'Cooler' Floors

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: The Local INN.terior

That's right, your flooring material can affect the amount of heat circulating within your home. Avoid parquet or any other wooden flooring, as woods are a good insulator of heat. Instead, choose materials like stone, cement or tile which are cooler to the touch.

5. Add Some Leafy Greens

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: D5 Studio Image

The same reason why it's always cooler sitting under the trees, indoor plants that transpire during the day, actually give out oxygen that cools down a space and provides fresh, toxin-free air. In particular, leafy plants like Areca palm, ferns or Ficus trees are large enough to provide substantial amounts of cooling air, but compact enough to fit into an apartment or balcony area.

6. Bring In Some Water Features

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Space Concepts Design

More psychological than scientific, the soothing, lapping sounds of water can remind one of refreshing dips in the sea - which could in turn lower one's perception of heat. In HDB apartments or condos, small water features like mini fountains or ponds by the living room or balcony may do the trick.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Schemacraft

However on a larger scale, water features such as ponds, fountains or swimming pools do actually lower air temperatures, through evaporative cooling.

7. Go Minimal

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Third Avenue Studio

More stuff cluttering up a space means less room for wind or air to flow through - resulting in a stagnant, stuffy home. One simple, oft overlooked aspect, sometimes decluttering a space is all you need to make your home feel cooler again.

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Third Avenue Studio

Go minimal in your furnishings, and discard any knick knacks or items that might hinder the air flow. Also consider going for an open-plan concept. It isn't called bright and airy for no reason - an open-plan space provides more room for cold air to linger or pass through.

8. Add Some 'Icy' Accents And Art

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Imagine By SK66

Alternatively, if water features may be too much of a hassle to maintain, you can similarly trick your mind into thinking its colder - using chilly-looking decor pieces. Think icy, lucite furniture, items in a cold colour scheme or artworks that feature blues and wintry landscapes. These accents will help to create an atmosphere of calm and coolness.

9. Don't Close Your Doors

Cooling Home Tips

Architect: Studio JP

Another way of reducing the stuffiness in each room? Opening up the doorways. On drafty days, leave your windows, main door and room doors slightly ajar, to provide the air with a pathway to lead in and out of the home. The passage of air could in turn form soft breezes within your interiors, cooling your home.

10. Pick Fluorescent Over Incandescent

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: Mr Shopper Studio

Love the warm, cosy feeling a golden-hued incandescent bulb emanates? In fact, you aren't imagining things if you think it's getting a bit more toasty in here; the tungsten wires in a conventional incandescent bulb heat up very quickly when radiating light, and its scorching heat is actually transmitted to the rest of your home!

Cooling Home Tips

Interior Designer: The Design Abode

Instead, consider swapping your lights with a fluorescent bulb, that uses four times less energy, and emits less heat than an incandescent version. With many colour options available, you can still achieve that warm glow - without the stuffy heat.

A cool home doesn't have to cost

An interior designer knows how to best maximise the air flow through your stuffy space, and we can find you with one that's perfect for your needs or tastes. Simply request for a quote here, and we will match your with 5 interior professionals, based on your budget and style. All recommendations made by Qanvast will be covered under the Qanvast Guarantee, up to $50,000.

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