best way to test a WP theme on live server while still having old html site live?

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hi – what’s your favorite way to test-drive a site on a live server, before making it the main production site?

searching the internet I’ve found a few solutions; they’re all a bit of a hassle:

a) install into temporarily, then move it to root or redirect once done

b) test on wampp or instantwp on localserver

c) use wp 3.4 test theme/live preview option

Main thing is, I’m converting my html sites to wp sites, so I want to be able to still show viewers the by default, but also be able to look at the WP site as I work on it, though I can’t just use . And addon domains/installing into nonroot subdirectory, then having to copy all files to root w/ftp, or phpmyadmin/plugin search and rename sql fields is a big hassle.

so what would you do, if you need to have a index.html site show, while working on live server with wp theme being created, test site, while working on it?