Balcony shade ideas – 15 ways to shelter your space from the sun

1. Install Exterior Solar Shades On Your Balcony

If your balcony has a ceiling and sun is an issue from the front or side, then solar shades could be the solution. ‘The patio is an extension of the home and should embrace the same design principles as the indoors. For more structured spaces, consider solar shades, which are rated for exterior installation,’ says John Weinstock, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Graber Blinds.

2. Keep It Simple With A Balcony Sail Shade

Graceful and elegant, sail shades epitomize the chic style of coastal life and work just as well on balconies as they do when used as a more general backyard shade idea. Installed and tensioned correctly these shapely panels of canvas are hugely effective at keeping sun and showers at bay.

RectangleSun Shade Sail

Made from PU coated polyester fabric, this simple shade sail is fully waterproof and can also be machine washed if necessary. It comes in a choice of five different sizes and four different colors (blue, orange, white and the gray pictured). It is supplied with the fixing rope you'll need to attach it to your balcony.

Shade&Beyond Shade Sail

This large triangular design is a practical choice for a covering a spacious balcony. Offering excellent UV protection, it comes with a five-year warranty. Rain can pass through the fabric to prevent it pooling on top, so do bear in mind it's not waterproof. Comes in a wide range of alternative sizes and a choice of 13 colors.

Workpoint Rectangle Sail Shade

Measuring 26x20ft, this rectangle sail shade is big enough to cover a sizeable dining area on your balcony. It's made from a breathable fabric to ensure the space stays well ventilated on hot days. Water can also run through it to prevent it gathering on top. It doesn't come with any hardware or ropes, so you will need to purchase these separately.

6. Try Some Balcony Curtains

Fancy a shade solution that you can alter in an instant? Then outdoor curtains are well worth a try. ‘Outdoor curtains can be hung on a balcony to provide shade and privacy,’ explains Robert Silver, Editor in Chief of Progardeningblog.

7. Use Plants To Provide Shade

‘Hanging balcony plants or potted plants can provide natural shade on a balcony. Vines, for example, can be trained to grow up a trellis or along a railing, providing shade and adding greenery to the space,’ says Robert Silver.

8. Install A Balcony Awning

‘An awning opens up your lifestyle possibilities and is so beneficial it’s like having an extra room in your home, extending your living space into the outdoors,’ says Lisa Cooper, Head of Product at Thomas Sanderson. ‘They can be used all year round, providing shade from the sun's rays in warmer months but also in the winter to shelter from wind and rain, not only for you but for your furniture and soft furnishings. And it’s not just you that an awning protects – the shade of your awning will also keep the adjoining interior room cool, help reduce glare inside and help prevent sun damage to your furnishings.’

9. Upgrade To A Smart Awning

Looking go up a level with your balcony awning? Thanks to advancing technology these sun shades can offer plenty more than protection from sun and showers. The latest life enhancing options include:

Sun sensors Intelligent sun sensors automatically open up the awning when the sun appears. – Wind sensors Wired or wireless, these clever pieces of kit detect vibration as a sign of changing weather conditions and automatically close up the shade to protect it from possible damage. – Integrated lighting Ranging from LED strips, spotlights and colored lighting, these outdoor lighting options can be programmed to dim, fade and cycle through ambient color. – Heating Compact and discreet heating elements can be fitted into the mounting bar. Using infrared shortwave technology they heat efficiently and economically. – Sound With Bluetooth tech and built-in speakers you can stream and enjoy favorite tracks while relaxing and entertaining. – Programmable timer Set the awning to open and close at key times of the day and night. – Voice-activated controls Some products can be linked to a smart hub and operated by voice command.

10. Find The Perfect Balcony Umbrella

While there are many patio umbrella options available for a backyard, some are more suited to compact balcony spaces than others. 'A parasol is a great option for smaller balconies,' says Aaron Green. 'These can be wall mounted or attached to a heavy base on your balcony. You can put a small outdoor table under a patio umbrella to have a small, cozy space on your balcony to read or have coffee.’

Castlecreek Half Round Patio Umbrella

This space-saving half patio umbrella design is designed to fit flush to a wall, making it suitable for use on a small balcony. Choose from three colors (red, green or the khaki pictured). It has a lightweight yet durable aluminum pole, and the base is sold separately.

Shade Round Outdoor Umbrella with Base

Where space isn't too much of an issue, you can opt for a standard patio umbrella. Tilting designs are always a smarter option as you can easily alter the height and direction the umbrella is facing throughout the day to offer maximum sun protection. If offers UPF 50+ protection.

Business & Pleasure Soleil Beach Umbrella

If you're looking for something that will earn you some serious style points, this pretty design is worth a look. More suitable as a temporary solution for hot, sunny days, it's made from water-resistant canvas and nylon canopy with cotton fringing and a reclaimed timber pole. Comes with a matching carry bag for easy storage, or so you can take it to the beach too.

14. Pot Up Leafy Trees And Shrubs For Natural Shade

No matter how big or small your balcony, a few leafy shrubs or trees in pots can reap huge benefits. Creating visual interest, they can also help to soften ambient noise, attract birds and pollinators and create valuable shade.

15. Add A Structure Overhead

If you have a large balcony, it could be worth investing in a permanent structure, similar to a patio cover. A pergola-style design with a slatted roof can be both traditional or contemporary in design, depending on the materials you opt for.

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