Too hot to handle? Here's how to cool down a dorm room

It's getting hot in here 🥵

Three white fans on pastel background
(Image credit: Future)

Living on-campus is great for meeting new people, making friends, and obvi getting invited to all the best parties. But what’s not so great about them is that they can get seriously hot in the warmer months if they're lacking air conditioning.

Come spring semester, your room might just lack that refreshing feel that you need to sleep and study. It can seriously uncomfy, especially if you're piled in a triple. But what happens when you can't simply crank up the AC? What can you do to cool down your dorm room?

Listen up besties, you don't have to sit in a stuffy dorm, there are lots of simple ways that you can cool down a room.

1. Try blackout curtains or blinds

The heat outside can quickly impact the temperature of your room, so blocking that heat (as well as the sun’s rays) will do a lot to keep your room cooler. An easy way to do this is to swap out your current ones for thermal blackout curtains instead, which will block heat and sunlight from the outside and stop it from coming in and heating up your room. 

Not able to swap out the curtains or blinds? How about trying a peel-and-stick window film instead that blocks heat and sunlight from entering the room? Some of my friends at college had this on their windows and it worked a total treat. 

2. Keep the windows shut

Okay, okay this might sound counterproductive but here us out on this, because honestly, it works. It’s easy to assume that opening your windows on a hot day would help to cool your dorm down but actually letting the warm air from outside into your room will push the temperature up, instead of cooling the space. 

Before you open your windows, wait until the temperature outside is cooler than it is inside. That way, when you open your windows the breeze will actually cool the space, rather than making it even hotter. 

3. Utilize your fan

Another way to keep your room cool is to add a fan to the space — whether it’s a tower fan or a tabletop fan it doesn’t matter, just as long as you have something to move the air around. While fans can’t cool air like AC can the movement of the air can help to make the room feel cooler. 

Luckily, there’s a super easy TikTok-approved hack for cooling down the air further and all you need to do is place a bowl of ice water in front of the fan, so that as the air passes over the bowl the chilled water and ice will cool it down, creating a DIY-style air conditioning-esque setup. 

You can also check the cost of running a fan to avoid surprises on your on energy bill.

4. Get a cooling mattress topper

Finding yourself struggling to sleep in the heat? We feel ya. There’s nothing worse than trying to drift off but being too hot to settle and becoming increasingly irritable as a result. The good news is that treating yo’self to a cooling mattress topper could be the answer. 

If you're going to invest in a mattress topper, we'd recommend one of these cooling mattress toppers that we've reviewed and rated. 

5. Opt for cooler bedding

Another great hack for sleeping better in the warmer weather and making your dorm room feel cooler is sleeping with cooler bedding. Look for breathable materials like cotton or linen and avoid synthetic ones like polyester. There's plenty of lightweight dorm bedding out there.

6. Use a dehumidifier

The sun aside, high levels of humidity in your dorm room can also contribute to the space feeling overly hot. So to reduce the humidity you need to remove some of the moisture from the air, which is where a dehumidifier could come in handy. Yes, they can be expensive but they tend to last for years and, honestly, they really do work a treat at reducing how humid a room feels. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.