How to cool down a room: 28 ways to stay cool indoors during a heatwave

Here are tons of ideas for how to cool down a room fast. If your home tends to overheat during summer, these tips are for you...

How to cool down a room
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Need to find out how to cool down a room fast?

If your house has a tendency to overheat during summer, perhaps because its south facing, or as a result of lots of glazing, you'll likely be desperate to know how to cool it down as quickly as possible.

Especially if you have little ones for whom too warm an environment could become quite dangerous.

Here, we list the fastest ways to keep rooms cool during hot weather, including the best fans – and suggest a few longer term solutions you might like to introduce to a home renovation project.

Discover how to cool down a room in your home

1. Shop for cooling bedding ideas

(Image credit: Lapuan Kankurit)

It’s all very well being hot during the day, but most of us need a bedroom to be under 21˚C to have a comfortable night. Beds can become heat sinks pretty quickly, with your hot bodies releasing heat into the mattresses and pillows. 

Your hypothalmus controls body temperature – so keeping your head cool is absolutely critical to comfort. There are several ways of doing this artificially at night – one of which are pillow- or mattress-cooling pads (see our reviews – basically, they're toppers that act like hi-tech versions of mother’s cold flannel). 

The JML Chillmax Cooling Pad  goes on top of the pillow and can be refrigerated before bedtime. You could also go for a temperature regulating pillow itself such as Simba's Hybrid Pillow, which aims to ventilate and regulate temperature through OUTLAST® technology.

2. Choose bed linen that will keep you cool

You could also switch up your bedding to help you stay cool on hot nights. Cotton is the best material to go for thanks to its body heat-regulating properties that absorbs moisture fast for the ultimate in comfort. Look out for Tencel cotton bed linen which is not only sustainable (this one is made from eucalyptus) but it offers luxurious comfort in its fine fibres, aiding you in getting the sleep you need in those hotter months. If money's no object, silk bed linen also has excellent temperature-regulating properties and does not hold on to moisture.

Another trick is to put your cotton sheets in the washing machine on a quick wash and spin cycle then go to bed with the damp sheets over you when you go to bed. The evaporation will cool you as you drop off. If you have a fan aimed at you, too, you'll get even more benefit.

3. Turn your hot water bottle into an ice pack

Alternatively, experts at Boxt suggest turning your hot water bottle into an ice pack.

Simply fill it with cool water, pop it in the freezer and you're away. Just remember that ice expands, so only half fill it as a precaution.

4. Hydrate before you caffeinate

best water bottle for indoor and outdoor use

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's also important to remember that water is our best friend during the heat. 

Drinking lots of fluids can lower your internal temperature, but try and avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee which can act as a diuretic and draw water out of the body.

If you struggle to get through H2O, think about getting a handy water bottle with time markings on it, which can help motivate you to drink water more uniformly throughout the day.

5. Freeze your sheets

Yes, really. Pop your sheets in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for a few minutes before bed for icy cool bedding. If your freezer isn’t big enough to store your sheets then try it with your pillowcases instead. 

6. Open all the windows before you go to bed

Loft bedroom with eaves shelving

(Image credit: Valspar)

Warm air rises, so it’s important to ensure that the windows at the top of the house remain open where possible.

This is a very simple way of explaining ventilation theory – in particular, passive stack ventilation. Essentially, you should use a combination of cross ventilation, the rising of warm air and the venturi effect (suction created by air passing over flues) to feed warm air up and out of the house. 

In other words, make the most of all that cooler night air by cracking all the windows before you go to bed, letting the overall temperature of your house drop. 

7. Hang up damp sheets to cool down a room fast

Another weird hack for keeping your house cooler is to hang up a damp or even wet sheet near an open window.

This will help cool down the temperature of the breeze as to flows into your room. 

8. Make your fan work harder for (almost) free

The White Company bedding

(Image credit: The White Company)

As we all know, fans (see our best buys) don’t cool air down, but they do move air around – which can help with comfort on hot nights.

You can boost the fan's action by filling a mixing bowl with some icy water or an ice pack and placing it in front of the fan so it pushes the cooler air around the room instead.

Oscillating fans work best. The ProBreeze oscillating 40 inch tower fan is a good place to start, offering remote control, a seven-hour timer (perfect for getting children to sleep) and three speed settings.

They provide a significant improvement in comfort on relatively modest noise outputs. 

9. Invest in the best fan money can buy

(Image credit: Dyson)

Or, if money's no object, Dyson's Pure Hot + Cold Link is useful in winter and summer. We've tried and tested it and loved it, and it's a favorite of the Queen of Clean, Mrs Hinch, too. 

For looks, though, we love the Stadler Form Q fan (above, shown in black but the brushed steel is better...). Does the job of keeping you cool and looking cool...

But if you're looking for an answer that's backed by science, we've done some research. Or rather, gone to the right person.

'When you're choosing between a fan and an air conditioner, it's usually down to personal preference.', says Phil Steele, future technologies evangelist at Octopus Energy.

'Fans are cheaper to buy and almost ten times cheaper to run than a portable air conditioning unit, but they only effectively push air around a room and can only really cool down one person sitting near them.'

'Air conditioners cool the whole room but cost more money to buy and run, so you need to consider your own situation before making a decision.'

10. Install a domestic air conditioning unit

Want the baby's room to stay at a comfortable 21ºC? Up to now it’s been pretty tricky (very, in fact) to buy a residential air con unit. But,  BOXT has introduced the UK’s first next-day domestic air conditioning installation service.

The smart home systems installer can deliver and fit internal units that will cool and purify the hot air, catching airborne dust particles and neutralising bacteria, fungi and microbes. The Bosch units include 5 modes: Auto, cool, heat, purify and dehumidify for a healthier, more comfortable home and sleeping environment.

11. Try sleeping downstairs

If you are struggling to sleep in the heat, consider sleeping downstairs where it's going to be naturally cooler.

Hot air rises so if your bedroom is on the second floor or in the loft it might be worth trying to kip on the sofa. 

12. How to keep a room cool that faces the sun

keep your home cool with living room thermal blinds from Duette

The unique cordless literise system from Duette combines privacy and light control by allowing the blind to be raised or lowered from the top and bottom at the same time. Duette's blinds have a honeycomb design that prevents heat loss in winter and reduces solar gain in summer

(Image credit: Duette)

The sun provides valuable extra warmth for most of the year, but in a heatwave it can serve to provide extra heat to rooms particularly on the southern elevations of homes. 

The simplest solution on bedrooms and loft conversions is to look at so-called thermal blinds (like the ones below from Duette), which tend to have an aluminium-lined honeycomb construction designed to reflect up to 85 per cent of the sun’s heat. Try the DuoShade from Blinds2Go – they have the added benefit of keeping the light out on those early summer sunrises. 

These will be even more effective if you have blackout curtains or blinds; they aren't expensive (you can get them from Dunelm for as little as £8). Invest now so you are sorted for the rest of the summer. 

Another option is solar control film (shown in the picture, top). Try Purlfrost's range.

13. Use your oven sparingly  

Sure, it's obvious, but we are going to say it anyway, using your oven is going to raise the temperature of your home so avoid it when you can in hot weather.

Really, if it already feels like a million degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 200ºC oven, so make the most of the good weather and get cooking outside!

Our pick of the best BBQs can help with that... or see below for today's best deals.

14. Turn off the lights and use candles instead

best candles for your home

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Light bulbs give off heat, so switch them off whenever you aren't using them. In balmier climates, soy candles can offer gentle and romantic lighting, and can feel like you're relaxing in a tropical retreat. 

Yes - they still give off a little heat, but in comparison, it's negligible.

15. If you need to use bulbs, go for eco-friendly options

Incandescent lightbulbs are incredibly inefficient when it comes to energy efficiency. So if you have an electric light with a wire filament that heats until it glows, it's time for a switch-out.

By choosing an LED or curly CFL (compact florescent lamp) light, you can reduce wasted heat and cool the room down. You might also see a small saving in your utility bills too.

16. Use day and night blinds

Origin day night blinds in Pewter from 247 Blinds

(Image credit: 247 Blinds)

If you have a room that gets constant sunlight, or hot summer sun when you don't want it, you'll know how annoying it can be to regulate the amount of light that comes into the room. 

If you get blackout curtains, it becomes too dark, while ordinary blinds might not give you enough protection from the heat.

The day and night blind is an innovative solution to this problem – a highly adjustable type of blind that has panels of transparent and opaque material that can be angled in exactly the way you want it, or made completely transparent, or block out the light completely (useful at night). 

We especially like the Origin day night blinds from 247 Blinds, below. Read our buyer's guide to window blinds for more blind-buying info.

17. Or draw your curtains during the day

Sure, it seems such a shame to block out the sun's beautiful rays on a glorious day, but by doing so it's an easy way to make a difference to your interior temperatures.

This is especially important if you have leather upholstered sofas or seats in your living room as no one likes the sticky and sweaty feeling of peeling yourself off the settee. 

Come night time, it's a much more strategic affair. 

Adam Pawson, Head of Digital at Safestyle tells us: 'Choosing whether to open your windows or keep them closed depends on their positioning

'If your windows are south-facing, it is best to close your curtains or blinds, or put the window in the night vent position to allow some air in.

'Whereas, if your windows are north-facing, it’s advised to keep them shut to avoid any hot air coming in.'

18. Have a ceiling fan? Set it to anti-clockwise

If you have a ceiling fan, try this hack for keeping your bedroom cooler: change the fan direction to anti-clockwise.

This allows more air to come into the room: more air circulating around = cooler room. When the weather cools down, just change it back again. 

19. Populate your home with houseplants

living room with overwhelming collection of houseplants

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

House plants not only look fantastic but they actually consume hot air from the room for their natural processes.

Plants release moisture into the air through the process of transpiration, which is when moisture evaporates from the leaves. 

Indoor plants can also improve air quality too. Options like the Boston Fern, Spider Plant, Money Tree and Areca Palm are a great way to freshen up your home - as well as being safe for cats and dogs too!

20. Place bowls of water around the house

Gathered it isn't the trendiest idea we've had at Real Homes, vessels of water dispersed around the home can help to cool down a room.

It also acts as an impromptu water bowl to keep pets hydrated throughout the day. Just be sure not to dish out nanna's finest crockery in case of any accidents or spills. And remember to keep them away from electrical devices and plug sockets too.

21. Switch off your heating

Smart heating lifestyle

(Image credit: tado°)

'OK, who invited Captain Obvious to the party?' you might say. But you'll be surprised just how many of us have our heating on without noticing. Whether you had it set to a timer in the colder months, or have it on a constant setting - this can be one of the most efficient ways to cool down a room - and save money too.

You have to laugh, otherwise you may cry.

22. Instead of using a tumble dryer, dry clothes outside

how to get a stain out of a white shirt - white laundry hanging up on the line - GettyImages-1211874076

(Image credit: Getty)

When your indoor spaces feel like a furnace, the last thing you should do is create more heat in the house. So give your electrical appliances a day off, while exercising safe tanning.

One way to do this is to hang clothing out on a washing line in the back yard or on a balcony. Get the kids involved too, by creating a fun relay race to see who can put clothing out on the line quickly and tidily.

23. Hand wash dishes instead of using the dishwasher

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average cost of running a dishwasher is between $50-$65 (or £37-£48) a year. So if you're looking at how to cool down a room, while saving money and water - it's time to use some elbow grease.

It's worth noting that dishwashers can be the more energy-efficient choice, but if you've only got a small load that doesn't fill up the dishwasher to capacity - get to manual labor...or get the kids to do it.

If you do need to use the dishwasher, run it on an eco-friendly setting and don't use any heat-raising drying settings at the end!

24. Staying indoors? Let your hair dry naturally

We all know that a cool shower can help to lower your body temperature if you're too hot to sleep. But what about during the day?

If you need to wash your hair but don't have any plans for the rest of the day - ditch the hairdryer.

By letting your strands dry naturally, you won't have to face blowing hot air onto your head. Alternatively, use a diffuser attachment on the cool setting to speed up the process of drying wet hair.

What's more, reducing the amount of heat on your hair over time may improve its condition too. Rinsing with cool water can also help to close the hair cuticle, and give the appearance of shinier hair without going to the salon.

25. No luck with cooling down? Camp outside!

Tent in boho style garden

(Image credit: Boutique Camping)

A nostalgic pastime for many, camping outside in the garden has its benefits. So if you're finding it too hot to sleep downstairs or in your bedroom - it's time to take things outside.

By popping up a tent and setting up camp (or glamp) outside, you can create a fun and novel night time routine that the kids will love.

From eating Al fresco to setting up a small fire when the temperature drops and having S'mores for dessert - you can create cheap source of entertainment for the children.

Sure, it isn't quite Coachella, but you can still make magical memories while the children haven't fled the nest just yet.

26. Paint your roof and exterior surfaces

Pictured on dreamy postcard landscapes and in holiday brochures, the idyllic islands of Greece are often chock-full of blue and white painted buildings. And there's a good reason for it.

Other than looking aesthetically appealing, painting rooftops, external cladding and bricks this color can help to bring the temperature in your home down a

According to former UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, white paint 'can reduce the temperature of the roof by 30 degrees [Celsius]...this can have a tremendous, significant impact.'

'Depending on the setting, cool roofs can help keep indoor temperatures lower by 2C to 5C as compared to traditional roofs.' says Anjali Jaiswal, of the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council in the same BBC World news report.

 

27. Install door holders to encourage fresh air

Want to keep your doors open to encourage air flow, without damaging them? A door holder might be the answer.

Using strategically placed magnets, they are a safe and easy way to keep your doors open.

Simple and easy to install, they’re often a better choice than door stoppers which can often cause damage to doors over time and are a lot more convenient to use.

But their biggest asset is that they help ventilate the room, which can help offset trapped heat and increase airflow, which comes in handy if you're in need a bit of a breeze.

28. Apply heat reducing film to your windows and glass doors 

With a third of ambient heat coming into your home via the windows, one way to cool down a room fast is to apply a reflective, heat-reducing window film to help regulate the temperature. 

It's especially effective when placed on any east and west facing sides of your home to offset the sun as it passes through the sky, and it doesn’t affect beautiful views of your front or back yard. 

And as an extra bonus, during the colder months reflective film is great at keeping warm air inside so it’s a great investment all year round.

29. 

'Windows can play an important role in helping to regulate temperatures in our home.' says John-Paul Manning, MD at Insulation4Less.

'But it's not just how often we keep them open and closed, but also in terms of how energy efficient they are.

'They  absorb a significant amount of ambient heat from the sun, especially if it shines directly on the glass, which can make your interiors extremely hot. 

'As a result, a good tactic is to replace old windows with more energy efficient options.

'Dual-pane glass insulates almost twice as well as single-pane, while triple-pane glass maximizes your energy efficiency by reducing thermal transfer.

'Like most temperature control renovations, this can also help in the winter months, so it’s definitely a worthy investment.'

How can I cool my room down without AC?

'Keeping your room cool during heat waves relies a lot on keeping your room from heating up too much and using less energy.' says Phil Steele, future technologies evangelist at Octopus Energy.

'While the air is warm outside, try not to let it into your house. Ventilating your house by opening windows and throwing open curtains while it's warmer outside will just make your room the same temperature.

'Keeping windows closed, blinds down and curtains drawn from morning to night will help keep your room cool. If it feels stuffy, then keeping a fan on to circulate the air will stop it from being uncomfortable, while still being quite cheap to run.

'I myself have been doing something similar in our house but moving it with the placement of the sun.

'In the morning, we close all our windows and blinds on the sunny side of the house, and ventilate the other sides with open windows and doors, then when the sun passes overhead onto the other side of the house we switch it over. It seems to have made a difference for us.'

And John-Paul Manning, MD at Insulation4Less adds:

'The temperature of our homes can have a significant impact, not only on the quality of our property, but on our quality of life as well.'

 'As global warming continues to impact the weather, homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to take taking  proactive steps towards controlling and managing temperature in their homes.'

'Small changes such as painting our interiors or swapping out traditional bulbs for more eco-friendly are becoming increasingly more popular, but we are definitely seeing an increase in more permanent home renovations such as adding solar reflective paint to exterior walls and installing energy efficient windows.'

SPONSORS