As the summer temperature rises, balconies might not always provide the relief you need. After all, if they’re in a sunny spot, they’re bound to be almost as warm as indoors.
So, to help you out, here are 14 ways to keep your balcony or outdoor space cool this summer. None of these are particularly invasive, so they should be perfect for both renters and homeowners.
We’ve included a good mix of easy ideas and DIY options so, one way or another, you should get some relief from the scorching summer sun.
Curtains are perfect for creating a bit of shade on a balcony. Sheer curtains are a pleasant summer option because they’re not too heavy and will still let a bit of breeze in. Of course, if you want to go full blackout, choose lined curtains instead.
We’ve got a full guide on outdoor curtains, so check that out for tips, including how to hang curtains on an uncovered balcony. If you don’t want to buy anything, a simple DIY option is to just hang a bedsheet instead.
Sure, most cool mats are designed for pets, but what’s to stop you from using them instead? There are plenty of options that are pressure sensitive, meaning they don’t even need refrigerating.
Simply pop one inside your cushions or on a chair and you’ll feel much cooler in no time.
If you don’t have one already, laying a rug on your balcony floor is great for keeping the temperature down. Floor surfaces are either reflective or absorptive, neither of which are great for hot weather.
Check out our guide on selecting balcony rugs for more information.
A patio mister, unsurprisingly, produces a thin layer of mist to help keep you cool. The benefit of using a mister like the one linked is that you can install it around the top of your balcony for ultimate coverage.
You’ll need an outdoor faucet for this, but, with a bit of adapting, you could probably connect it to an indoor faucet instead.
You can also make your own if you’ve got the time. Check out this video for a guide.
If you’ve got tall plants on your balcony, use them as a sun shade. Simply position them between the sun and your seating area for a bit of welcome relief.
But if you’re looking for plants that provide shade, anything tall and bushy will work. Some options include:
- Box hedges
This might be an obvious tip, but it’s invaluable if you’ve got an uncovered balcony. There are plenty of options for shade depending on your balcony size and shape.
An umbrella does a good job, and they have the benefit of not being fixed to anything. However, most of them are pretty big, so might not be suitable for balconies.
Alternatively, you could use a shade sail or canopy. These need several points of contact, so you might have to set up some posts.
We’ve got instructions on how to make a DIY balcony canopy. You can use any type of fabric, but thicker options will provide more shade.
Privacy screens are designed to block the view into your space but most of them also block sunlight. They can be anything from fabric or plants to bamboo or metal screens. Check out our guide on privacy screen ideas to find one suitable for your space.
Of course, the major downside is that they’ll block a lot of light. If that’s a concern, consider going with sheer curtains instead.
Again, this is an obvious suggestion. A fan helps circulate air and provides a welcome breeze if it’s too hot outside.
If you’re not after much, a small desk fan will work wonders. But if you want something that’ll really get the air moving, a standing industrial fan is the way forward. These have some major air circulation, so be careful with any hanging decorations!
This tip should be combined with the addition of a fan. You can make it blow cold air by putting a bowl of crushed ice in front of it. The bowl should be just level with the bottom of the fan if you want the best results.
Another option is to hang a wet cloth in front of the fan. However, this does mean you lose a bit of airflow and that you might have a damp cloth slapping you in the face!
While this won’t help keep your whole balcony cool, a kiddie pool is a nice way of keeping yourself cool.
If you haven’t got space for a large one, just dip your feet into it. But if you can fit a larger pool on your balcony, get your whole body in there.
Before you reach for the cold water and ice cubes, though, lukewarm water can help cool you down more efficiently.
Again, an outdoor faucet would be helpful but not necessary. A jug and a kitchen tap will get the job done.
We’ve already touched on the addition of humidity above, but there are other ways to create it. Humidity helps via something called evaporative cooling, which essentially sucks heat out through the process of water evaporation.
Your options include a humidifier, providing it has a cool setting, or simply a spray bottle if you want a DIY option. Spray yourself with water to help keep cool.
You can also buy evaporative air coolers to use outdoors, but they’re on the expensive side.
A water feature works on the same principle as evaporative cooling but cools the air instead of your skin.
Ideally, look for a water feature that’ll create a lot of mist. One with either different streams or shallow pools will work best. Failing that, install several smaller options, such as wall-mounted fountains.
If you’re feeling really DIY, consider repainting your balcony walls to make the sun work for you. White is the most obvious color to use because it reflects the sun, but any pastel or light-toned shade will work fine.
This is a helpful tip for floors, too, and could save you from putting down a rug if you don’t want to. Of course, just make sure you buy outdoor paint so it’ll last longer than a season.
How can you stay cool without chilled drinks? While this won’t help your balcony, it’ll certainly make your time outdoors in the sun more enjoyable.
An outdoor bar doesn’t need to be anything expensive or fancy. In our article about DIY balcony furniture, we list a couple of options. Check them out for some inspiration.
You should now be armed with plenty of options to stay cool on your balcony this summer. No matter how much shade and humidity you create, though, don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunblock. In the wise words of the Australians, slip slop slap!