It’s that time of year again, when we’re all desperately wishing we could crank down the AC.

But while your mind may jump to the air conditioner, there are plenty of ways to get a cool home without ramping up your electricity usage—and they start outside the walls of your home.

Here are five ideas to not only improve your home’s curb appeal, but also help you escape the intense summer heat.

Install Fixed or Motorized Awnings

While we may remember to add interior window treatments, awnings are a great exterior renovation to add a little curb appeal to the outside of a home.

In addition to their charm, these roof-like shelters are a practical way to shield your home and windows from the sun’s glare. The Department of Energy estimates that awnings can help reduce solar heat gain by 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows.

One added benefit? Their relatively quick installation can make them easy home upgrades for a quick cooling win.

Add a Vine-Covered Pergola

These stylish structures can be placed in the walkway in front of a home as a natural extension of a small porch. You can also install one over a side patio for a little extra shade and privacy. And just as shade from trees has a cooling effect on your home, pergolas can throw a little shade onto your walls to keep your home cool as well.

Though it may take time, threading climbing plants like ivy or morning glory through the spaces of the pergola can add a burst of color to your home.

Paint the Walls or Roof of Your Home

We all know it’s smart to wear lighter clothing when we’re out in the sun since darker colors absorb the sun’s radiant energy and keep us warmer.

There’s evidence to show that this is true for homes as well.

According to research by the Department of Energy on cooling your home naturally, darker paint colors can absorb anywhere from 70-90% of the sun’s radiant energy. That energy in turn can make your home feel perceptibly warmer. In other words, repainting your home in a lighter color can help reflect heat for more efficient cooling.

Install Solar Shades or Shutters

If you’re trying to keep your home cooler, the best way is to keep the sunlight out of it in the first place.

There’s a huge spectrum of cool home screens on the market, from the textured appearance of plantation shutters to the classic look of exterior solar shades. No matter what you decide, these installations are typically made of durable, long-lasting materials that make them great exterior home improvements to beat the heat.

As a bonus, these outdoor treatments are not only appealing to the eye, but they can also make your porch or side patio feel like an extra room—which certainly doesn’t hurt your resale curb appeal.

Add Solar Panels

Many homeowners admit they don’t love the look of traditional solar panels. Some may even worry that they diminish the curb appeal of a home.

However, as photovoltaic technology develops, we’ve started to see more aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Sleek options like photovoltaic slates and shingles can add a little shimmer to your rooftop without appearing bulky or overwhelming the look of your home. And with one of the most energy-efficient home improvements on the market, what better way to literally keep your home cool than some extra energy for your AC?

Renovations for a Cool Home

Beating the summer heat with a nice, cool home doesn’t have to be a challenge with these ideas—and you may find yourself adding some appeal to your home’s exterior along the way.

If you’re looking for extra ways to improve the value of your home, check out the tips on our blog!

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