3 Expert Tips To Choose Outdoor Shade Accessories

When you love enjoying your outdoor space but are concerned about the sun's harmful UV rays, you'll need to find the perfect shade accessories to fit your outdoor environment.

There are several materials and styles to choose from and you'll need to know which ones are most compatible with your outdoor structures. Check out the five expert tips below for choosing the best shade accessories that keep you protected while sprucing your outdoor space.

How to choose the best shade accessories for my needs?

  • Trying to keep mosquitos out? => Mosquito netting.

Enjoy the great outdoors without the lingering buzz of mosquitos ready to litter your legs with red, itchy bumps. Mosquito netting offers protection from direct sunlight while also keeping you safe from lingering bugs while you lounge outside.

  • Need to replace a worn cover? => Replacement cover.

If you have an old structure that could use a makeover, choose a replacement cover. You can find replacement canopy covers that offer protection from damaging UV rays while giving your outdoor space a design boost. Leave the hanging curtains open or create a cozier environment by letting them down.

  • Only require protection on one side? => Side wall. 

If the sun shines directly on only one side of your outdoor space, you may just need a side wall shade accessory. These can be erected against open fencing or can be fabric with ties, designed to be used with outdoor structures, like gazebos and pergolas.

White Pop Up Mesh Mosquito Net Sidewalls
Black Fabric Mosquito Netting Screen
Brown Pet Gazebo Replacement Canopy
White Polyester Canopy Wall Panel
Khaki Fabric Polyester Side Wall
Fabric Replacement Canopy For Bay Window Gazebo
  • Need a mobile, free standing option? => Patio umbrella.

An umbrella is a budget-friendly option that brings shade to your outdoor space - set it next to your dining table or other seating area. Move it around freely when you rearrange your yard or patio or simply close it and tuck it into storage when not in use.

Red LED Light Patio Umbrella
Canvas Blue Rectangular Patio Umbrella
Orange Square Cantilever Patio Umbrella
Red Polyester Rectangular Patio Umbrella
Olefin White Octagonal Patio Umbrella
Sand Gray Polyester Patio Umbrella
  • Going for a more permanent solution? => Pergola.

Create a sturdy shade accessory with a pergola -- you can attach these designs directly to your home or choose a free-standing option. You can add-on fabric canopies for extra protection or leave it uncovered for the breeze and sun to peak through freely. Pergolas require assembly so have some friends available when it's time to transform your outdoor space.

Black Metal Pergola With Canopy
Cedar Solid Wood Square Pergola
White Vinyl Square Anchored Pergola
Cedar Vinyl Square Anchored Pergola
Vinyl Square Wall Mounted Pergola
White Aluminum Rectangular Wall Mounted Pergola
  • Want a full enclosure? => Gazebo.

You can make a gazebo a permanent addition to your home or leave it as a movable option. These types of structures range in prices and in assembly complexity. Often included are netting or curtains to create a private outdoor oasis for your lounging pleasure.

Pine Solid Wood Patio Gazebo
Brown Steel Anchored Grill Gazebo
Grey Aluminum Plastic Patio Gazebo
Brown Steel Polyester Patio Gazebo
Black Steel Patio Gazebo With Mosquito Netting
Crystal Clear Acrylic Aluminum Patio Gazebo
Brown Cedar Solid Wood Patio Gazebo
Dark Brown Aluminum Iron Pop Up Gazebo
  • Prefer an easy pop-up and easy to store option? => Canopy.

Canopies are a great shade accessory for when you need to quickly erect outdoor support for entertaining. You spike these into the ground for safety and pack them neatly away once you're done using them. They can also be used to provide coverage when tailgating and camping - this is an ultra-versatile, portable, and easy to use option.

Polyester Metal Steel Pop Up Canopy
Black Polyester Metal Pop Up Canopy
Beige Fabric Metal Pop Up Canopy
Canvas Metal Steel Pop Up Canopy
Blue Polyester Steel Pop Up Canopy
Blue Fabric Metal Pop Up Canopy
  • Looking for shade tucked against your home? => Awning.

Awnings are great when you need some shade right up against your home. This style requires attachment to your house. Leave awnings permanently extended for year-round protection or install a special feature that allows for either manual or motorized retraction.

Tan Metal Retractable Standard Window Awning
Wine Red Fabric Retractable Standard Patio Awning
Polycarbonate Plastic Standard Patio Awning
Clear Plastic Standard Door Awning
White Metal Standard Patio Awning
Clear Plastic Standard Window Awning
  • Like the idea of portable, temporary shade? => Shade sail.

Shade sails easily anchor to posts or trees, helping you create a covered area wherever you are. Best part is they're easy to use and don't require a lot of hardware, making them great for outdoor activities - whether you're playing with the kids or enjoying the hot tub with your loved one. Prevent excessive flapping in the wind by following installation directions carefully.

Light Brown Rectangle Shade Sail
White Polyethylene Triangle Shade Sail
Mocha Fabric Triangle Shade Sail
Beige Polyethylene Square Shade Sail
Heritage Green Triangle Shade Sail
Sand Rectangle UV Block Shade Sail
  • Feel like getting creative? => Curtains.

If you're working with a deck or covered patio, outdoor curtains provide that extra coverage you need while also sprucing up your outdoor environment with a touch of refinement. Have some fun with curtains and color coordinate them with your outdoor furniture to create a look unique to your tastes.

Indigo Floral Polyester Curtain Panel
Grass Geometric Polyester Curtain Panel
Leaf Flower Polyester Curtain Panel
Admiral Blue Polyester Curtain Panel
White Polyester Grommet Curtain Panels
Gray Polyester Grommet Curtain Panels
  • Going for a discreet solution? => Roll up exterior shades.

Roll up exterior shades are similar to indoor blinds and attach to the exterior of your house. You can roll them up or down, depending on your day-to-day needs, which makes them super discreet. You still get the air flow you enjoy and keep your porch or patio cooler by blocking direct sunlight.

Palm Synthetic Fabrics Outdoor Roller Shade
Heritage Green Outdoor Solar Shade
Kona Synthetic Fabrics Outdoor Roller Shade
Woodgrain PVC Outdoor Roll Up Shade
Walnut Synthetic Fabrics Outdoor Roller Shade
Maui Semi Sheer Outdoor Roller Shade

What materials should I choose for my shade accessories?

  • Fabric

Fabric shades, like umbrellas and curtains, are designed to withstand the elements, providing you with durable sunlight protection that won't fade with continuous sun exposure. Use sheer fabrics to create a flowy, feminine environment or make a bolder statement with solid curtains that provide extra privacy.

Blue Polythylene Fabric Canopy Screen
Polyester Fabric Side Wall Gazebo Curtain
Beige Fabric Hexagon Gazebo Replacement Canopy
White Polyester Single Curtain Panel
Red Polyester Hexagonal Patio Umbrella
Turquoise Polyester Hexagonal Patio Umbrella
  • Metal

Metal is a durable material used to uphold outdoor structures. Aluminum is ultra-lightweight, making installation easier and is ideal when using portable shade accessories. Although metal is a long-lasting material, it is prone to rust, and won't hold up as well in high-humidity environments.

Silver Aluminum Iron Pop up Canopy
Brown Steel Square Freestanding Pergola
Dark Gray Aluminum Patio Gazebo
Black Metal Steel Patio Gazebo
Metal Steel Elegant Patio Gazebo
Polyethylene Metal Canopy Party Tent
  • Plastic

Plastic is an affordable, versatile material that holds up well against the elements and easily matches any decor. It doesn't heat up underneath the sun, making it a safe option for environments with children.

Ultrawood Plastic Composite PVC Patio Gazebo
Plastic Fiberglass Pop Up Patio Gazebo
Green Plastic Metal Patio Gazebo Canopy
White Plastic Canopy Side Wall
Gray Plastic Standard Trailer Awning
Matte Black Plastic Pole Patio Umbrella
  • Wood

Wood offers a natural feel to your space. It is sturdy and durable, though the type of wood used makes a difference. Western Red Cedar and Redwood are popular for shade structures, like pergolas, offering beautiful, long-lasting protection that is easily adorned with additional accessories and design elements, like sheer curtains and hanging plants.

Cedar Solid Wood Patio Gazebo
Brown Solid Wood Patio Gazebo
Natural Western Red Cedar Solid Wood Pergola
Western Red Cedar Wood Pergola
Octagonal Wood Pole Patio Umbrella
Natural Cedar Solid Wood Pergola

How to choose shade accessory color?

You'll find shade accessories are primarily found in neutral colors, including variations of grey, beige, and white. This makes them easy to match with your existing outdoor décor; however, there are shade accessory options, like curtains, that give you a little more artistic freedom. So, if you love a bold color like purple or red, you can continue to accentuate your color scheme with a beautiful set of outdoor curtains.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.