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August 20, 2022  |  Home

How do you keep your home cool this summer? Our DIY expert recommends window treatments and other seasonal upgrades

Now with summer in full swing, temperatures are rising — and many people are searching for efficient ways to cool their homes. It’s not their only goal of the warmer season, though. With rising energy costs, people are looking to stay cool on a budget and optimize their energy savings.

Instead of blasting the air conditioning, which increases energy costs, try making a few seasonal upgrades. These can be more cost- and energy-efficient. Window treatments, such as blackout curtains and blinds, can minimize the greenhouse effect, while ceiling fans circulate cool air around rooms. 

Looking for easy ways to cool your home this summer? Our resident DIY expert, Beth Allen, says window treatments — and a few more affordable upgrades — are your best options to beat the heat on a budget.

In this video

BestReviews’ DIY expert, Beth Allen, joins Scott Moak to share tips on how to keep your home cool this summer with window treatments and other seasonal upgrades.


Before your turn on the air conditioning, Allen says it’s important to close and lock windows around your home. Although it’s a small task, it can result in big energy savings. It prevents cool air from escaping and prevents warm air from entering the home. This means air conditioning systems and units can optimize their performance because they’re cooling limited, sealed spaces.


Many people weatherize windows by investing in shades that keep rooms cooler. Blackout shades are the most effective because they’re lined with light-filtering materials that block the maximum amount of sunlight. As far as finding the right shade for your window size, several home centers cut shades on site. Sometimes, Allen says, you can walk out with custom-fitted window treatments the same day.

Paper shades

For people who aren’t ready to invest in custom-fitted blinds, paper shades are affordable alternatives. They’re available in a range of widths and can be cut to size with regular scissors. They’re also removable. Compared to regular shades, which typically require hardware and drilling, Allen says that paper shades are easy to install. All you need is self-stick adhesive or Velcro strips. 

Blackout curtains

Blackout curtains, says Allen, are ideal for people who want “more texture, color, and style” from summertime window treatments. Like blackout shades, the curtains are lined with light-filtering materials that block out the sun’s rays. They’re suitable for all rooms; however, they’re most often used in bedrooms, nurseries, and dorms. Blackout curtains are available at a range of price points, starting at $5 per panel. This makes them one of the most affordable window treatment options. 

Ceiling fans

According to Allen, you can get more out of your ceiling fan in the summertime if you change the direction it rotates. When you switch it counterclockwise, which is done via the toggle switch on the motor, the fan pulls warm air up and away from your living space. Conversely, when winter arrives, you should make the blades turn clockwise to pull warm air downward into rooms. 

Shop this segment

Eclipse Fresno Modern Blackout Thermal Window Curtain

These blackout curtains block up to 99.9% of sunlight, offering maximum protection and privacy. They’re lined with patented Thermaback material that also reduces noise, making them a popular choice for bedrooms and home offices.  

Sold by Amazon

Madison Park Galen Cordless Roman Shades

These simple, elegant Roman shades have a basket weave texture that coordinates well with most room decor. Each one has a thermal foam backing to maximize energy efficiency and a detachable fabric face for easy cleaning.

Sold by Amazon

Redi Shade Original Light-Filtering Pleated Fabric Shade

A budget-friendly option, this popular Redi Shade can be cut to size and installed within a minute. Instead of cords, the shades come with low-profile clips. These allow you to adjust the length easily. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

3M Command Damage-Free Hanging Strips

This Command Strips multipack has everything you need to hang several paper blinds around the home. When it’s time to remove the blinds, the strips peel off without leaving damage or residue on window casings. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Honeywell Carnegie LED Ceiling Fan

Honeywell’s Carnegie ceiling fan has a quiet, three-speed reversible motor. It offers three mounting options and comes in a few rustic-inspired designs that are versatile enough to complement most rooms. 

Sold by Amazon

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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