Like baseball caps for houses, window awnings block the sun's harsh rays for infinitely more pleasant summer days. They're generally made of fabric stretched on a frame, and come in a vast range of styles: stationary or retractable, dome-shaped or rectangular, open or enclosed with sides, off-the-shelf or custom-made. And then there are the valence styles: wavy, arched, serpentine, Greek key, and straight edge are a few choices.
So how do you choose? The awnings we like best are jaunty and hopeful—they speak to us of cool breezes and lazy seaside afternoons. We've rounded up 10 of our favorite styles, in both striped and solid fabrics:
Above: Cedar Baldridge, owner and principal at Baldridge Landscape, chose Spear Awnings (named for their spear-like supports) with classic peaked valences in Dickson Gray fabric for a Houston-area house. About $1,200 to $1,600 each, from Baldridge Landscape.
Above: For a more tailored look, choose a solid fabric with a straight valence. Shown here, David John and Krista Schrock of DISC Interiors designed a custom purple spear awning made of Sunbrella fabric to shade a garage-turned-garden-room in West Los Angeles. For information and prices, see Van Nuys Awning.
Above: A 25-inch-deep Coolaroo Designer Awning has powder-coated aluminum side bars and comes in three widths. From Wayfair, starting at $148. Photograph by Eric Roth.
Above: A black Spear Awning with an exaggerated Greek key valence was installed above the doors of Houston designer Mary Jane Gallagher’s guest house, at a cost of about $2,200. For more information, see W.K. Hill Awnings. Photograph by Kim Etheridge.
Above: Open-End Awnings give a facade a breezy, modern look. For this house in Bel Air, CA, A. Hoegee & Sons fabricated custom awnings at a cost of about $600 per window. For more information, see A. Hoegee & Sons.
Above: The Awntech Dallas Retro Window/Entry Awning has a classic valence and can be ordered in more than two dozen striped and solid fabrics, in widths from 3 feet to 50 feet. Shown in gray fabric on an aluminum frame; from $170 to $3,360 from Home Depot.
Above: At the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas, an open-end striped awning with a shallow wave valence shades a courtyard. For more information, see Landscape Architect Visit: The Hotel Saint Cecilia.
Above: A retractable open-end slant awning can be mounted inside or outside a window frame. These SunGuard Topaz Awnings from KE Durasol Awnings Inc. are available for windows up to 16 feet wide. For more information and prices, see Durasol.
Above: Enclosed awnings block more sun and glare than open-end awnings. Hustead’s Canvas Creations used natural-colored Sunbrella fabric on Pull-Down Frame Awnings for this beach house in Norfolk, Virginia.
Above: A scalloped wave valence with white piping detail edges the enclosed Coolaroo Traditional Awning, available in four colors, including ebony. They're available from Wayfair for $165 to $238, depending on width.
Above: If you prefer a rounded silhouette to a straight slant awning, a Dutch Canopy has a segmented frame that folds up when it's not needed. This one was installed on a house in Bosham, West Sussex, UK. For more information, see Richards Blinds.
Above: Convex in shape, Awntech's Savannah Window/Entry Awning quarter-barrel awning is stretched across an aluminum frame. An 8-foot-wide version is $633 from Home Depot.
Looking to provide shade (or privacy) from the inside? Read Michelle's groundbreaking Domestic Dispatches: 5 Ways to Cover 50 Windows on a Budget. Find more exterior shade solutions over on Remodelista, with Julie's Design Sleuth: Shade Sails.