How to cool down a room: 15 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 – and suggest a few longer term solutions you might like to introduce to a home renovation project. 

Find more house renovation tips on our advice page.

1. How to cool down body temperature on hot nights

(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.

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.

It's also important to remember that water is our best friend during the heat. Drinking lots of fluids can lower your internal temperature. 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.

2. Choose bedding 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. Or just 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. 

4. How to keep rooms cool naturally

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. 

5. 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. 

6. How to cool a room without AC

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. 

7. 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 favourite 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...

8. How to cool a room down fast

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.

9. 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. 

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Turn off the lights 

Light bulbs, even if they are environmentally friendly,  give off heat, so switch them off whenever you aren't using them. 

13. Use day 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/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.

14. 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. 

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!

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