Keep your utility bills DOWN and yo' street cred UP!
Awnings can provide you with a certain gorgeousity regardless of the style of your home! Create another 'layer' with awnings implying relaxation and softness - which paint or architecture can't do.
When I was a kid we had canvas ones which were put up each May and taken down each September, they were maroon with a white 2" cotton fringe along the bottom; inside they were white printed vinyl with a multicolored rose-chintz pattern. We had Air-conditioning, but because of them we'd turn the AC off as much as possible as we liked hearing the birds sing and the rain on the canvas, or their scalloped edges flapping in the breezes.

They can be contemporary as well as traditional!

The best ones are complementary to the house, not some "attention-grabbing" fabric extravaganzas...


The quintessential American porch! The blue, white and gray stripe is good with the house; they include the permanent color scheme and brighten it up for summer.
This Italian Revival house got the shapes and styles right for their specific windows; pity about the boring color they chose... If the awnings were sand color to match the limestone or camel to match the brick with a terracotta trim to bring in the roof color - they'd be freekin' insane!
da crazy-cat-lady porch.
Summer at its best: Colorful and shady surrounded by roses!
She gets a pass for knowing when to stop!
(e.g.: no flamingo's, no virgin Mary's and no dream catchers, etc.)

This bungalow has kept it on the low-key side, and it works!

Ya just can't beat a striped awning!
This not only adds shade to the second floor rooms it adds style and light to brighten up the exteriors dark facade.

An Italianate home is brightened up with cranberry awnings. Look how shady and welcoming that porch looks! A two-inch camel band along the bottom would be perfect, jus sayin'.
This 19th century home made the perfect choice of mossy-green to blend with the stone and shutters. Stone is busy enough, another color would be distracting.


This is the home of designer Miles Redd. His simple awnings are essentially European as they don't have side panels on them. This allows more light into the interior.
The stripes combining the gray/blue of the house with the crispness of white is truly as chic as it gets.

These awnings keep the sun out and also make the interior less visible from the street. The house has a very flat, dull facade, so the gray and white striped awnings offer relief and interest. Colored awnings would be heinous on this house...

Simple 'fixed' awnings always offer a more clean-lined, architectural feeling.

These awnings in Greenwich have a little extra zhuzh with the brass 'knuckles' on the arms.

I love the slight swail of these fixed awnings on this Mediterranean style home. The colors are also perfect as they combine the other elements and tile roof.

This Mediterranean home uses the awnings only to soften the facade of their home, not for shade. The brown matches the trim and shutters to keep it 'elegantly simple.' They are also mounted higher-than-usual above the window so the windows look longer and more elegant.

These awnings are electrified and are retracted by a switch inside the home.

Round or bay-windows can also have the sun deflected by these custom style awnings.


Depending on the style of your home, there's an appropriate type of structural awning that can be permanently affixed to your home. The French-Country-style home above has terracotta tiles laminated onto a substrate and affixed the the house using simple iron brackets.

These swailed copper awnings are the height of English charm - they keep rain off the windows which can cause them to rot.
(They'll be much smarter looking when the copper ages to browny-green)

Have an Adobe style home?

This garden building just got real!
Arts & Crafts style brackets holding tin-laminated wood awnings.

OK, so, you have a contemporary home and you hate traditional shit, but meanwhile the sun is nuking your DWR furniture....
Get creative, keep the concept, but use materials that compliment your house.

These glass and metal awnings over the French doors is just pure awesomeness...

Need some interest and color on your otherwise blah house? Use Bermuda Shutters which are essentially awnings. However, they have several great attributes:

From inside you can see out through them; from outside you can't see inside, and the hot sun is kept off the windows.

If you prefer, a trellis of metal or wood can be affixed over the window or door. Train a deciduous vine over it so in the winter when the leaves are off the house will be bright - and in the summer the plant is leafy and you'll benefit from the shade.
(This can work for traditional or contemporary styles)


This London townhouse has a painted metal awning above the door to keep the water off the door and protect the pesky missionaries always ringing the bell.

Zhuhz-dat-shit-up with Hollywood Regency, it's always a winner!
This beautifully detailed awning is as perfect for a home as it is this storefront.

This typical American pre-war townhouse most likely had a wooden front porch which was removed. Now, a simple canvas 'dome' awning above the door keeps the doorway dry. The dome shape can bear a 'snow-load' in northern climes too.

Glass can keep the rain off and let the light in....
(Who installs an awesome glass canopy and then uses a butt-ugly door like that? No, really, who does that?)

Simple is always best!
A 'period' colonial home would look weird with a canvas awning over the door, so this perfect 'shed-roof' does the trick.

This Mediterranean style home used a swailed awning over the window and a domed awning over the door so the door can swing out and not puncture the canvas.

As I entertain a lot at my own home, there's often several people arriving or departing at the same time, occasionally in the rain. The broad, deep awning over the upper steps has several benefits; it's good for adding depth, softness and texture to the house, AND it's great for keeping FedEx deliveries dry if it happens to rain.
Some deed-restricted communities don't allow the use of canvas, therefore a swailed copper awning in the shape of a canvas one offers a casual feeling, yet it's permanent.

Sears and several other online retailers sell awnings like this. They're inexpensive and do the trick quite well.

This European style awning compliments the shutters and vegetation while adding some snap.

These striped awnings break the flatness of the back of the house by causing your eye to focus more on the decorative awnings than the bad architecture.

Even this shitty little gardeners shack takes on a cozy attitude with the 'off-the-rack' awnings from Sears.


Most people prefer a bright interior and still want some occasional shelter from the sun outside. These awnings are retractable and can roll up manually or electrically into a simple housing mounted on the house.

This is a fixed awning on a roof-top terrace. If you live in a climate where there's no snow or crazy wind-storms this is suitable; if you live in a snow/windy area the canvas can be removed each fall and re-installed each spring.

New York style rooftop terraces can be like solar reactors in the summer. To keep the sun off the tiles, plants and windows add a retractable awning - no poles, no columns, just a cantilevered sun shade!

Debating building a porch?
I'm thinkin' this'll fit your pocketbook a lil better...

Create a porch out of a sun deck!


Neither of these are the appropriate application for a 'dome' awning. They're BOTH too small for their applications too!

The stripe is the right fabric... But, they are poorly proportioned; the ones on the first floor look ridiculously small...
Sure, if you want your home to look like an Olive Garden Restaurant...
This Mediterranean home should have the open sided type, not this American traditional style.

1964 on line two, they want their aluminum awnings back....

Don't get overzealous with color and make your interior look like a fiery-orange-hell all summer from the reflections.

No, you don't want to trap the heat inside the porch. You want the awnings extended so the sun is kept off the structure and the air is allowed to move through... duh...


  • Awnings should always be a few inches wider than the window, but not overlapping or including the shutters (if they exist).
  • Best looking awnings have a longer drop than projection.
  • Traditional American awnings are to be installed inside or onto the "brick mold" of the window or the fascia.
  • European style are to be mounted outside the window.
  • Door awnings can be as wide as needed, even to cover the entire stoop, if necessary.
  • To make short/stubby windows look longer and more elegant, the awning can be installed above the window as much as 12".
  • To retain the view awnings don't have to have such a long drop.
  • Valances should always be a minimum of 8" or none at all.
  • Don't add too much detail to the awning; a banding or decorative finial or fringe is fine, but no more than ONE detail.
  • Awnings that project too far out look commercial.
  • Awnings are architectural enhancements, don't use non-geometric textiles, otherwise they'll look busy and confusing.
  • Stripes and solids are the best.

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!