5 Simple Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

By: Ryan Reed
Related To:

The first day of summer is only days away, but the hot, humid weather is already here for many. While the gentle hum of an air conditioner is as synonymous with the season as water splashing at a pool, there are plenty of other ways to keep cool (and save money) without turning down the thermostat. Here are a few that we think you should try:

Wet Dog in Pool

Wet Dog in Pool

A wet dog leans on the edge of an inflatable outdoor pool.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Dorottya_Mathe


1: Become a Grill Master

Outdoor Family-Friendly Patio for Entertaining

Outdoor Family-Friendly Patio for Entertaining

This family grills on their outside patio on a grill with a bar attached so the whole family can enjoy a meal outside. The patio is adorned with simple landscaping.

There's a reason why summer is grilling season. If you’re feeling overheated, cooking dinner in a 350-degree oven is only going to make matters worse. Instead, head outside and fire up the grill. You’ll get to enjoy your stylish patio while the inside of your home remains cool. Win-win.

2: Choose Your Sheets Wisely

Neutral Bedroom With Stunning View

Neutral Bedroom With Stunning View

A breathtaking view of Beverly Hills is the star in this simple but tasteful bedroom. Neutral art and white bed linens allow the gorgeous view to shine in this nature-inspired space.

Photo by: Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep in a hot bedroom. Having a fan nearby helps, but your sheets can contribute to keeping you comfortable, too. Choose sheets made out of breathable, natural materials, such as cotton or cotton blends, as they wick away moisture without clinging to your body.

Pro Tip: Place your top sheet and pillowcases in a bag and let them sit in your refrigerator before going to bed. They won’t stay cold all night, but the relief from the heat might be just what you need to fall asleep.

3: Window Treatments Make All the Difference

Color-Blocked Drapes in Modern Bedroom

Color-Blocked Drapes in Modern Bedroom

In the master bedroom, color-blocked drapes have a strong personality that's softened by playful art. The color combination carries over from the window treatment to the walls, lending incredible structure and visual interest to the design.

Photo by: Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design

Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design

During the day, when the temperature outside your home is hotter than inside, the best way to keep it that way is to close your windows, blinds and curtains. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, highly-reflective blinds can reduce heat by 45 percent, and curtains with a medium- to white-colored backing can reduce heat by 33 percent. You may feel a little bit like a vampire with the lack of sunlight, but it can really help save on your energy bill.

Pro Tip: In addition to blocking sunlight, try setting your ceiling fan so that the blades are spinning in a counterclockwise direction. This will help draw the heat in the room up and away from you.

4: Ice, Ice Baby

Vintage Fan and a Block of Ice

Vintage Fan and a Block of Ice

Block of ice and an old vintage fan.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/pauldempsey


This tip couldn’t be any easier, and it might be the most effective. All you need is a fan and a container full of ice. Turn your fan to the desired speed and place the ice in front. Voila! You’ve created a DIY air conditioner.

5: Skip the Cocktails + Drink Water

Glass Bottle at Baby Shower Brunch

Glass Bottle at Baby Shower Brunch

Include your drink ware in the baby shower by color coordinating them. Decorate a glass bottle and drinking glasses with lemons and a yellow napkin to match the color scheme of the shower.

From: Laura Fenton

Sipping a cocktail or iced coffee may sound like a great idea when the temperature rises, but you may actually be doing more harm than good. Both alcohol and caffeine are known to cause dehydration, which is the last thing you want in the middle of summer. Instead, drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day.

20 Ways to Beautifully Shade Your Outdoor Room

See All Photos

Striped Awnings

Functioning awnings help minimize the exposure to the sun in this sophisticated outdoor dining space. Design by Barry Dixon

From: Barry Dixon

Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Intimate Pavilion

Seeking shade has never been more romantic in this outdoor dining pavilion with soft, flowing draperies and an Italianate chandelier. Design by Charles Faudree

From: Charles Faudree

Photo By: Photo Credit: Jenifer Jordan © Gibbs Smith, Charles Faudree Interiors, Charles Faudree, Jenifer Jordan (photographer)

Fabric Strips

Strips of fabric overhead add a soft elegance to the clean lines of the sunken concrete dining room and help focus the view to the surrounding countryside. Design by Jamie Durie

Scrap Wood

The dappled lighting in this covered patio was created by the use of wood latias and helps protect the area from the desert sun. Design by Dorothy Willetts

From: Dorothy Willetts

Painted Pergola

This bright colored pergola not only adds shade, but acts as a dramatic design element. Design by Claudia Schmutzler

From: Claudia Schmutzler

Outdoor Draperies

Turn your outdoor space into a shady, peaceful retreat by giving ready-made drapery panels a quick and easy designer update. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Trellis Coverage

Designers Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri built a large trellis with an attached bench that's perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

Pergola + Draperies

A pergola and breezy fabrics provide shade without sacrificing sunlight, while cozy furnishings and blue accessories dress up the space. Design by Debbie Talianko

Shady Panels

Designer Shanon Munn creates a retreat with lounge-style furniture and neutral colored shade panels that drape that entirety of the master deck.

Durable Outdoor Curtains

Curtains made from durable outdoor fabric hang along the side of the new pergola to allow celeb homeowners Anne Heche and James Tupper control the amount of sun entering the space. Design by Jamie Durie

Natural Shade

If you don't want to wait for a tree to grow, take your patio to the tree. Here, Jamie Durie created a gathering spot whose central focus is a beautiful sycamore.

Adjustable Roof

The open roof areas hold colorful shade cloths in the summer and allow light through the winter. The center remains open for the fire pit. "Tricky covenant requirements in a small space required design finesse," says designer Steve Appolloni.

Retractable Awning

A retractable awning lets you entertain in the shade during the day and enjoy stargazing at night. Design by Christopher Grubb

Beautiful Climbers

Decorative vines are vigorous and attractive climbers that can soften the lines of the pergola while still augmenting the shade.

Pretty Pergola

The cover for this poolside outdoor dining grotto is a unique upper deck accessible by nearby stairs. Design by Jamie Durie

Rope Netting

Rope netting and hanging plants create lightly dappled shade for a Bohemian-style pergola. Design by Jamie Durie

Shade Panels

These gorgeous shade panels stretch across the spans of the pergola, creating a colorful, contemporary "ceiling". Design by Jamie Durie

Bold Shade Panels

Bright orange panels shade this modern lounge area and offer a bright touch for the color-loving homeowners. Design by Jamie Durie

Plant-Filled Pergola

Container gardens filled with sun-loving, low-maintenance plants create the shade in this pergola. Design by Jamie Durie.

Just for the Kids

If you're worried about the kids spending too much time in the sun, put one of these in the backyard for a great place to cool off.

Keep Reading

Next Up

6 Yummy Ways to Cool Off RN

Hint: They might involve frozen berries and booze.

It's Hot Out There! 7 Ways to Keep Pets Cool This Summer

Keep your furry BFFs sun-safe with these tips and cool-down tricks.

Grown-Up Science Project: 3 Gorgeous Ways to Craft With Sun Prints

Visually stunning and easy to make, DIY sun prints are a must-try craft this summer. Who knew science could be so much fun?

10 Ways to Summer-ify Your Home

It's time to swap out the bed linens.

14 Homemade Ice Pops to Cool You Off This Summer

It’s hot out there! Beat the heat with a delicious, DIY frozen treat.

12 Ways to Prep Your Entire Home for Cool Weather

Make sure your home is ready for winter from the inside out.

25 Ways to Bring Summer's Hottest Trends Into Your Home

Embrace the season with adorable products featuring 5 hot prints and motifs. 

5 Killer Ocean Views That Will Get You Ready for Vacation

Dreaming of vacation but stuck at home? Check out these five rooms with stunning ocean views that will relax you in an instant.

Love Fixer Upper? See 5 Ways to Bring Joanna's Style Home

HGTV.com shares 5 charming home design ideas from Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts