Sun shades are an easy, cheap and effective way to shield your home from the direct rays of the sun. We want solar energy coming through the windows in the winter time, not during the dog days of summer.
Window shades can found at almost any department store and home supply store. Shades can be translucent to opaque depending on how dark you want to keep your room.
Shading can also be accomplished using curtains in conjunction with shades. The curtains or drapes can cover up the shades and keep the room looking good! So you could use cheaper shades and save even more money.
When I moved into my new house in Arizona, one of the first things I did was install the mirror style window film on all the west windows. It makes an incredible difference and still lets in the light in.
Outside shading can be done by awnings, exterior shades, and even trees. Trees can be great for shading if they are deciduous, meaning the leaves fall off during the fall and grow back during the spring. This allows for shading in the summer and lets the sunshine in during the cold winter.