The Arizona summertime, with those 100-degree temperatures, are a perfect time to explore our interiors. Since we’ll be spending more time inside we can look around and make some choice improvements from large to small, in different rooms and with different budgets. There’s going to be plenty of suggestions to change, do, undo, to add and subtract all kinds of things in your interiors, it’s up to you as to how much and where you want to make those changes.

This first of several series will focus mostly on colors. Colors affect each of us aesthetically, physically and psychologically. With such a big impact on us, we can use colors to help us get through the Arizona summer’s heat with pleasure.

There are many ways and places for a mental getaway to escape the Phoenix heat. Most of us image the mountains or a beach location transporting us to a locale of lower temperatures and fresh fun. These locations have plenty of those colorful blues and greens that can cool us down physically and psychologically. Scenery like this brings mental pictures of Caribbean blues, aquas, jades, palm leaf greens and pale, sandy seaside beaches. Images of the cool mountains bring visions of crisp colors of green woodsy pines along with mountain blues in rivers, lakes and skies.

Now, how to incorporate these colors and mental images into your home. There are generally two areas of the home that get very little colorful design attention: the front entry and the powder room.

The entry is the first and last place you and your guests enter and exit your home, leaving a lasting impression. What kind of impression does your entry reflect? Is it a catch all, and does it need to be de-cluttered of keys, mail, coupons, baseball caps and children’s stuff?

If so, perhaps this is where a surprise of color and functional storage can spark up the entry. Adding a colorful, painted credenza or a side board piece of furniture with drawers and cabinet storage space would help reduce the clutter. Choose painted furniture in bright colors or serene blues or pale greens. Top it off with a healthy green plant and/or a decorative vase or bowl in blues or greens. If there’s enough space, add several books with blue or green covers, include a silver or painted picture frame of the family, and don’t forget to add an attractive lamp. Most important in the entry, is a beautiful piece of art work reflecting your favorite scenery. Maybe it’s at the beach or a mountain retreat that can be enjoyed every time you and your guests come and go.

The next place to evaluate is the powder room where everyone, family or guests, will eventually go at some point. Powder rooms can be over the top design wise, reflecting the character, fun and personality of the homeowners. It can be a complete makeover, changing out the flooring, walls, cabinets, plumbing, paint and mirror, or perhaps, just re-accessorizing the room, which would make a big difference in appearance giving you a “cool” powder room.

Start by painting; one wall or all the walls, or just the ceiling; bringing in cool colors for a surprising and refreshing visit to a much used room.

The wall opposite the door is “the” place to hang a huge piece of fun art. Depending on your budget, a special piece of fine art or framed poster art is perfect for the powder room. Landscapes of the seashores, rivers, streams, lakes or mountain vistas are a wonderful revitalizing theme, a subject everyone can enjoy. Purchase artwork found at art galleries in favorite vacation spots when traveling at the beach or mountains, or other special places you want to mentally remember and often revisit.

Colorful hand towels with summer themes, especially with sea shells, beach umbrellas, etc., are a must for accessories in the powder room. Colorful candles and soaps in azure blue or emerald green with scents of summer breezes or whispering pines help to remind us of cool, soothing places. Adding a small area rug in a solid or textured color is a perfect addition and easily finishes off the floor decor.

Use tranquil colors to cool down your interior spaces this summer by bringing in the opposite colors of the warm hot sun. These visual color changes can give a big psychological boost to your home, your family, and your guests this summertime.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Carol Sampson is an award-winning interior designer and author of 35 years. Reach her at (480) 759-6763 or visit

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