Creative Sun Shade Ideas For Balconies And Patios

Creative Sun Shade Ideas For Balconies And Patios

This blog post has 14 ideas to help you find the perfect sun shade for your outdoor area.

Are you yearning to create a perfect outdoor sanctuary where you can unwind and enjoy your time without being scorched by the sun? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll delve into a wide range of creative sun shade ideas that will not only enhance the aesthetics of your balcony or patio but also provide you with much-needed relief from the sweltering heat.

We’ll explore various types of sunshades, such as retractable awnings, patio umbrellas, pergolas, and shade sails.

Additionally, we’ll give you tips on how to choose the right sun shade for your outdoor space based on factors such as size, shape, location, and budget. So, whether you’re looking for a simple DIY solution or a more elaborate shade structure, this blog post has got you covered!

Creative Sun Shade Ideas:

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Custom Patio Sun Shade Solutions

If you don’t have the time or skill to create your perfect patio sunshade then a custom patio sunshade might be your best bet. 

The best thing about a custom sun shade for a patio or balcony is that the shade will perfectly fit your space and style.

Custom patio sun shades can be as simple as having a carpenter build a pergola from a hardware store and modifying it to fit your space, to a custom-designed idea designed specifically for your outdoor area.

Slated Roof

custom sun shade
Photo Credit: MAITE GRANDA

For a space that doesn’t need to be completely shaded a slated roof extension is a beautiful idea. These can be custom-made to fit your space with as little or as much sun coming through as you wish. 


sun shade  pergola
Source:  @kirsten.diane / Instagram

Building a pergola is a great way to give a small garden a shaded hanging-out spot. Add a barbeque and an outdoor lounge set and enjoy the summer in the shade. Bring in a firepit to continue enjoying the space in the winter. Pergolas as a sun shade solution gives you endless ways to style from covered in vines to a simple bamboo or fabric roof.


sun shade  awning
Photo Credit:  Calimia Home

Installing a large awning can be done your self however, a custom style means that you get the perfect size and aesthetic for your patio or balcony.

Patio Sun Shade Ideas: Stylish and Functional

Sun shades on a patio or balcony not only help elevate your outdoor space but also provide excellent sun protection. Giving you more time to use your outdoor space without baking in the sun.

There are many styles and options available for sun shades from a simple sun sail to pergolas or awnings giving you an outdoor living space by expanding your living space.

Shade Sails

Shade cloths or shade sails are a versatile and useful option. Easy to install using a pole, wall, or tree they can be easily removed when not needed for bad weather.

They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes giving you a custom patio sun shade feel less. 

Although terrific for blocking the sun and creating a respite from the heat in summer they don’t do as well with blocking rain. 

sun shade
Sun Shade Sail is Available on Amazon

Shade Sails such as this one can be found on Amazon for a great price.

A rectangle shade is perfect for creating a covered eating area on a patio or balcony.

sun shade  sail
Photo Credit: shengzhoudeli

Layering shade sails gives a custom patio sun shade look. The layering of the shade clothes adds softness and dimension to a shaded area instead of one large piece. 

sun shade sail patio
Photo Source: Maanta

By combining a shade sail with solar lights you can create a cool or relaxing space on a rooftop patio. 

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are a simple way to add shade to a patio or balcony. They come in multiple styles from round to rectangle and manual opening to smart opening. Adding an awning gives you the option of creating shade in hotter times while also allowing full sun in the cooler months. 

With an awning that stretches along the width of this balcony the options for shade or basking in the sun. The fabric matches perfectly with the furniture giving the space a relaxing bistro vibe.

sun shade  retractable awning
Photo Source: Calimia Home

This custom sun shade works great for the space by following the shape of the patio. To achieve a similar style look for a round or semi-circle retractable awning.

sun shade  awning
Photo Source: A Beautiful Mess

A simple awning can be beautifully ungraded with lights and comfortable cozy outdoor furniture. 

Oversized umbrellas

Make a statement and relax in the shade this summer with an oversized umbrella as a patio sun shade option. Within the world of patio sun shades oversized umbrellas are one of the most versatile. They can be moved to the best position that suits both your space and the direction of the sun. They can elevate the look of your patio as they come in many styles, colors, and fabrics. 

sun shade  boho patio balcony
Photo Source: @jcdesign1.1 / Instagram

If your patio or balcony area is a boho haven with natural materials and comfortable throws and pillows follow that aesthetics with an oversized patio umbrella as a sun shade. 

sun shade table and umbrella
Photo Source: A Beautiful Mess

For a space that needs sun shade but only where you eat a table umbrella would be perfect. Matching the umbrella with your patio gives your space not only sun shade but also flair. 

sun shade umbrella deck patio
Source: Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

If you’re looking for a way to provide shade to your outdoor space, without it being front and center. Opt for an umbrella that matches so well it fades into the background. This idea is great for decks, patios, or balconies with dappled shade but with an area that’s a little too sunny. 

Pergolas As Sun Shade

Pergolas come in many shapes and sizes they are a very versatile piece for any garden or patio. From temporary gazebo-style pergolas to permanent pergolas dripping with plants and greenery. 

pergola sun shade
Photo Source: @afrobohemianliving / Instagram

Add reed matt to a simple pergola structure for an earthy and simple style. The reed mats provide shade while still allowing hot air to circulate out of the structure. 

pergola retractable sun shade
Photo Source: MARK LOHMAN

Make your shade flexible with a pergola that has retractable shade integrated.  This idea allows you the flexibility of a pergola with the ability to have as much shade or sun as you wish.

sun shade  pergola

For smaller spaces, a half pergola gives you the eye-catching beauty of a pergola without taking up a lot of space. Image this pergola covers in plants such as jasmine or wisteria. For a seasonal shade option find a vining plant that dies back in the winter and is full and bushy in the simmer such as passion fruit or kiwi. 

sun shade  pergola
Photo Source: DAVID TSAY

For a permanent structure use a metal roof for constant shade as well as rain protection.  Think of sitting under this pergola in the summer during a rain storm or enjoying the winter months with a smokeless fire pit and a book. 

While full-size pergolas may be too large for a small patio, a petite pergola or trellis structure can still provide partial shade and a decorative element.

Potted Shade Trees

Strategically placing a small, potted shade tree like a fig, citrus, or crape myrtle can bring natural, cooling shade to a compact patio or balcony.

sun shade balcony trees
Photo Source: CBC News Canada

Place a miniature tree on your balcony or patio to create not only privacy but a shaded area. Remember to place your tree in the direction of the sun to give you the most shade.

sun shade balcony
Photo Credit:

Here’s another way to give shade by incorporating a trellis into the space.  Double up on functionality and style by creating a garden on your balcony.

DIY Sun Shade Ideas

A Budget-Friendly Option: DIY Outdoor Roll-Up Sun Shade

diy roll up sun shade
Photo Source: Dashboard Drifters

Using a sun shade sail and rope you can DIY an outdoor roll-up sun shade. Dashboard Drifters have an excellent simple-to-follow tutorial on how to create your own. 

Alternatively, try a Roman blind set or outdoor blinds to give you a roll-up sunshade. There are bamboo and thatched style blinds available on Amazon and your local outdoor or plant shop. 

Protect Your Space with Style: DIY Patio Sun Screen

diy patio sun shade
Photo Source: Diy Network

Placing curtains around your patio or balcony provides excellent sun protection as well as privacy.  For a renter-friendly version use tension rods.

DIY Sun Shade for Balcony: Maximizing Small Spaces

sun shade diy sun shade for balcony
image credit: schoene_kleine_welt / photo provided is for project inspiration only

Sunshade your your balcony using wooden dowl and fabric.  A simple idea that is great for rentals as the installation is minimally invasive. 

DIY Sun Shades for Patios: Enhance Your Outdoor Living

Photo Source: Maker Pipe
sun shade  diy sun shade for patios

This great DIY sun shade was made using pipes, T connectors, and a canopy cover from Ikea. This structure is easy to take down for winter or when leaving the apartment. 

Homemade Outdoor Shade Ideas: Unleash Your Creativity

sun shade - homemade outdoor shade ideas
Photo Source: Part Of Me Blog

Using an oversized plant pot, cement and wood beam a shade sail is stretched from the roof to the beams to create a great cost-effective outdoor shade idea. Plus it looks amazing.

Outdoor Shade Canopy DIY: Transforming Your Outdoor Oasis

sun shade - Outdoor Shade Canopy DIY
Photo Source:

Use a pergola or for a smaller space an archway to train roses or grape vines depending on the climate to create a beautiful shady area on your patio or balcony. Scale the size of the trellis or pergola to your outdoor area and have an outdoor oasis perfect for your space. 

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