5 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Best Shade Option for your Home

While it's relaxing and restorative to spend time outdoors, the dog days of summer are a persuasive reminder that being out in the heat of the day is not always pleasant. Having ample shade will help you stay cooler and away from the glare of the sun, extending the usable area of your outdoor space and making your time outside that much more functional and enjoyable. 


Outdoor living area shaded by an awning with a couch, ottoman, and chair surrounded by lush greeneryOutdoor living area shaded by an awning with a couch, ottoman, and chair surrounded by lush greenery
Retractable awnings provide shade when desired while giving you the option to enjoy the open air on cooler days or in the evenings.


If you’re considering a shade option for your home, you might not know where to start! There are so many options and questions to consider when choosing the right shade solution for your space. The Shade experts at Sunbrella have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself to help you identify your goals and find the right solution for your home.


A patio seating area shaded by an awningA patio seating area shaded by an awning
An outdoor patio with a built-in pergolaAn outdoor patio with a built-in pergola
A white umbrella shading a poolside chaise loungeA white umbrella shading a poolside chaise lounge
Cantilever umbrella shading a outdoor dining tableCantilever umbrella shading a outdoor dining table


Important Questions to Ask

When considering what type of shade you need, here are a few things to think about:

1. How do you plan to use the space (i.e., an outdoor family room or a dining area for entertaining)?

Awnings are a great option for full space shading, extending your living area from indoors to outdoors. Retractable options offer the most flexibility in look and use, not to mention the ability to be smart-home-integrated.

Pergolas are especially great for outdoor dining spaces and have a distinct, elegant look. One way to add an extra touch to your pergola is draping lights around the posts or through the cross beams for ambient lighting in the evenings. You can also add privacy with outdoor curtains to enclose your space.


2. Are you interested in shade that is more permanent/fixed or something more flexible?

Awnings and pergolas are more permanent solutions for shading an area long term. These options will provide consistent shade and a fixed space for you to host family and friends. One option for more flexibility is a retractable awning; extend it when you want more shade or retract it if you don’t.

For flexible options, you can consider an outdoor umbrella or a cantilevered option. Cantilevered shade structures can be an umbrella or a canopy. These adaptable options allow you to adjust the placement of your shade with more frequency. 


Outdoor patio covered by a pergola with black and white striped fabricOutdoor patio covered by a pergola with black and white striped fabric
A pergola with Sunbrella shade fabric can provide expansive shade that covers your entire patio.


3. Do you want whole space or more targeted shading?

Umbrellas and cantilevered options give more targeted shading to an area, while a pergola or awning could encompass your entire patio.


4. What are your landscaping plans?

Trees, bushes, ivy; all these greenery options for your backyard can impact your shade plans. Be sure to take your landscaping plans into account when choosing a shade structure, especially nursery plants that will grow in years to come!


5. What design aesthetic are you aiming for?

Sunbrella offers a wide variety of shade fabrics. Available in solids or stripes, and an array of colors and neutrals, you’ll easily find an option that brings your design vision to life. You can view our full shade collection or get inspired with our design guide for all things shade.


When you set out to create your perfect patio, remember: It’s fun to mix it up, and by choosing Sunbrella fabrics, you can ensure your shading and furniture fabrics complement each other beautifully. 


A white cantilevered umbrella shading an outdoor dining tableA white cantilevered umbrella shading an outdoor dining table
A cantilevered umbrella option provides targeted shading that invites gathering and intimate conversations.


High-Performance Shade Fabric

While there are many solutions for shade, using a high-performance fabric like Sunbrella shade fabric is a key element to elevating the design of a space and to make an outdoor space more enjoyable. There are many reasons to choose a high-quality Sunbrella fabric: it blocks the sun with UV protective and fade resistant color, resists the elements, provides breathability for better cooling, achieves a desired look that complements your style, and provides long-lasting performance for years of use with minimal maintenance.


Get Started

Want to see how an awning would look on your home? Check out the Sunbrella Shade Studio. Upload an image of your space, then follow the easy steps to visualize different awning styles on your home.


Learn more about shade solutions made with Sunbrella fabrics so you can stay cool and comfortable while enjoying your outdoor space.