The dog days of summer are here, with August typically bringing higher temperatures and drier conditions, inviting lazy days before the new school year kicks into gear. With the sun a little lower in the horizon, umbrellas and shading often need to be adjusted to minimize exposure and discomfort. There are several other measures you can take to ensure your luxury retreat is providing maximum comfort and proving a welcome retreat for the remainder of these precious summer days and for the many summers to come.

The following are some suggestions for preparing your home, both indoors and out, to help you beat the heat:

Ceiling Fans: A classic concept and welcome ambient noise, most living spaces can benefit from the air circulation provided by ceiling fans. Today the design options are endless, from simple lines that dissolve in the space to more ornate designs that compliment the decoration palette. Running a fan while the air conditioner is on is also more efficient, as you can run the A/C on a lower mode and still feel cool. Air conditioners remove humidity from the air while fans help evaporate sweat and move heat from the body, a powerful combination for comfortable sleeping conditions. With screened porches, ceiling fans increase the circulation and cooling effect of the fresh outdoor air.

Awnings: Both practical and beautiful, awnings lend a tasteful accent to outdoor gathering areas while providing welcome shade from the midday sun. Sophisticated retractable designs can be customized with a variety of materials to blend into the home’s architecture or add a colorful accent, easily installed over porches or pergolas. These retractable designs are often preferable for custom home owners today, their versatility more forgiving in Southeastern Wisconsin’s climate variables.

Window coverings: Sunshades are a remarkably effective way to reduce the indoor heating effect of the hot midday sun without blocking natural lighting and views. Residential solar screens can be installed as fixed panels on either the interior or exterior of the window, or on a roller. There are also many types of window films on the market which will subtly tint windows, reducing solar heat and glare, and save on energy costs.

Umbrellas: a must for any outdoor seating area, the endless options today make it easy to beautifully shade any space. When investing in umbrellas, choosing the most stable base, sturdy construction, weather-resistant and fade-resistant fabrics and tilting options may cost more upfront, but will provide an enduring solution that will save on time and money in the long run.

Having properly shaded areas to retreat to when the summer heat gets to be too much is a necessary comfort for any homeowner and also a matter of sun safety. Consider some other creative and easy ideas that add a touch of luxury, such as stocking a cooler with damp facecloths on ice, and have plenty of water toys on hand!