When the summer months come around, homeowners love to spend time in their gardens, soaking in the sun. But for those living in apartments, our balconies are the only part of our homes suitable for outdoor living. But, how do you shade your balcony in your apartment? We have some interesting ideas to help escape the intense summer sun.
You can shade your apartment balcony with design features such as awnings, pergolas, outdoor blinds, outdoor umbrellas, shade sails, and outdoor plants. These features will protect you from the hot summer sun and are decorative, which means they will improve the aesthetic of your outdoor living spaces.
So, if you’re struggling to develop ideas for adding shade to your balcony in your apartment and getting the most out of your summers, let’s take a look at a few design ideas that will inspire you to put together an outdoor living area that you’ll love.
8 Design Ideas For Shading Apartment Balconies
Home decorators often see apartment balconies as an afterthought, and they don’t get the attention they deserve. Moreover, they tend to be awkward places to add design features due to limited space and exposure to the elements.
But, when it comes to shading the balcony in your apartment, there are a few options available to you that can turn it into a bona fide living space that you can use all summer long. Make sure the color matches the color of your walls if our first tip and you can read more about balcony colors here.
Here are a few ideas that you can use for inspiration:
1. Outdoor Blinds
Perhaps the most popular and simple solution to blocking out some of that hot summer sun is to install outdoor blinds, like roller shades or PVC blinds. It would require an appropriate spot to mount the blinds (such as the balcony floor in the apartment above, but a set of blinds can go a long way towards shading your balcony and keeping the sun out from all angles.
However, if you live in a windy area, you may want to consider something else because you’ll constantly be fretting over the blinds being picked up by the wind and making noise or knocking things over. Furthermore, you need to install blinds made from materials that will not be ruined by rain in the winter or become discolored after prolonged UV exposure.
Sometimes blinds are only useful for balconies with outdoor windows that can protect them from the elements. Nonetheless, blinds are a fairly affordable option and will provide you with all the shade you need.
Another popular option, but a bit more expensive and durable, is to build a pergola over your balcony.
Pergolas are open roof systems made from slats of wood spaced evenly apart in a lattice. They provide shade without blocking the sun and offer a new design feature that looks good on decks and balconies.
So, if you want an effective way to shade your balcony without completely blocking out the light, a pergola will do the job while remaining durable and adding a design feature that will add a lot of value to your home.
And in addition to this, many people like to grow outdoor plants, such as vines entwined into their pergola, to provide additional shade and another great design element. You might want to consider if you live in a windy area however. We have advice on this here.
Pergolas also look great, so If you’re looking for a stylish way to create shade on your balcony, a pergola might be the solution you’re looking for. These structures are often made of wood and come with an optional retractable canopy that can slide into place.
They offer shade but also allow light to filter through. You can also attach curtains to the pergola’s roof to provide shade. There are a variety of styles and materials available to cover your pergola so you can adapt the design and color to your own preference and taste.
A pergola with a canopy is a unique and functional design. Its retractable canopy extends past the pergola’s legs, providing both shade and sunlight. These pergolas are a great choice if you want to enjoy the outdoors year-round.
In addition to extending the canopy’s usable area, they can add a modern aesthetic. When the canopy is fully open, it creates an open air alfresco feel. When closed, it provides a waterproof roof.
Another option for shading a balcony is to install a tension canopy. These canopies provide shade while also allowing the balcony to breathe. You can use fabric that is manually adjustable to suit your preferences.
Note: If you live in an area where wind is an issue, you might want to avoid a stationary or permanent pergola altogether.
Over all though these structures are a great way to enjoy shade while outside your balcony.
Awnings are another great way to protect your apartment’s balcony from the summer sun. And, even better, they can’t protect it from rainfall during the winter! But what’s really great about awnings is that they’re often retractable, whether with a manual mechanism or an automated feature with a motor.
They are both effective for protection from the elements, and they’re durable. Furthermore, they look great! An awning can give your balcony a café/bistro look that spruces up your outdoor living space and makes you feel right at home.
4. Outdoor Umbrellas
The most affordable option, by far, is to simply buy yourself a large outdoor umbrella to shade the balcony in your apartment. They won’t offer full cover, but they can certainly provide more than enough shade for a few people to sit underneath. And, in addition to this, you can take it down when you don’t need it in the winter months.
And, even though umbrellas are free-standing, they still add to the overall aesthetic of your outdoor living space without costing an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, they don’t fare too well when it’s windy, so you may have to take it down when there’s a storm approaching.
If you’re looking to add a splash of color to your balcony, patio umbrellas are the perfect solution. Aside from providing shade, these patio accessories can be a decorative accent as well as a practical choice.
There are two main types of patio umbrellas: fixed and movable. Fixed umbrella bases are the most common and come in many colors. They work well with both umbrella tables and cantilevers.
- Center pole patio umbrellas have a single center pole that extends from the top of the canopy to its securing base. They may be a single solid piece or comprise two separate pieces that join to form the base.
- Offset umbrellas may be attached to a stationary base or movable. While they offer the most shelter against direct sunlight, they have the disadvantage of letting ultraviolet rays reflect off the sides.
Portable patio umbrellas vary in weight and portability. Market umbrellas can be easily moved by uninstalling the pole and placing it in a new location. Market umbrellas are generally more portable as they can be tipped by turning a crank on the side.
Most side post umbrellas, however, require two hands to move piece by piece. Some have wheels, but these are difficult to maneuver. You can choose a model that uses a manual crank to raise and lower its canopy.
Nonetheless, they can provide plenty of shade without installing a permanent structure and can be a cost-effective solution.
5. Outdoor Plants
One of the main things you may miss about living in a garden is being surrounded by plants. So, a great way to reconnect with nature while living in a concrete jungle, and add some shade to your apartment’s balcony, is to grow hanging plants and foliage along with your balcony.
It is inexpensive and beautiful and allows you to add something green to your outdoor living space, bringing it to life.
You can also add tall plants, but be wary that creating an outdoor garden to provide shade requires a lot of manual labor and attention to the plants’ health throughout the year. You can also add plants like vines and other creepers to any of the aforementioned design ideas to add shade to your apartment’s balcony.
You can even plant seasonal herbs for a new look each season. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay attention to their light requirements. Here are some tips on how to choose plants for your balcony in this article. Low Maintenance Plants for Balconies. A few plants will make all the difference.
Before choosing plants for your shady balcony, make sure you understand the conditions on your balcony. Decide how much light your balcony gets during the day. Some plants can survive in lower light levels, while others can tolerate the occasional bright sunlight.
6. Shade Sails
If you live in an apartment building with a balcony, you can use shade sails to create additional shade on your balcony. However, before you can install a shade sail on your balcony, you should know what you should avoid.
It’s possible to sag or droop, or flap around creating unwanted noise if the material is too thin or too heavy. In order to avoid this problem, you should take expert advice on installation and ensure that the shade sail is installed correctly. if you are looking to put up a shade sail on the ground you can check out this article on erecting a shade sail.
The right shade sail can keep you and your guests comfortable and provide shade. A durable shade sail will keep you and your guests protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. You can also use one to shade a poolside area, a patio or a pergola. They can come as stand alone or be fixed to walls with anchor points.
In fact, some users even prefer the shade over their driveway while working on the car or doing chalk art and if you install the anchor points in other location they are not to difficult to move around your outside spaces, if you are lucky enough to have more than one!
7. Natural Solutions: Vertical Greenery Walls
While we mentioned plants above, this is a slightly different take on it.
If you are looking for a cheap way to create shade on a balcony, try using netting. A netting is a thin material that can be tied or twisted to wrap around the balcony. It will provide some shade, but will also create visual interest.
But the best way to use it, and to make sure its doesn’t look like an army base, is to to install wiry plants. But make sure that they are lightweight enough to not weigh down the netting too much.
The most effective way to decorate a balcony is to use plants that require very little maintenance. Choose plants that can grow in pots and will climb, kebia or “chocolate vine”, star jasmine, wisteria, clematis, and morning glory all grow reasonably quickly. Just be aware to not let them climb on to others outdoor spaces!
Also, consider a vertical wall of greenery. A balcony will provide shade and coolness if you place plants vertically. And don’t forget to take care of your plants regularly. If you have an icy winter, you should plant a plant that will thrive in cold temperatures.
Balconies facing the south require some shade to be created. Climbers are great for creating a little shade and climbing plants over wires is another great option.
Deciduous plants do not block out the sun during the winter, so you don’t have to worry about losing the light and if you need wind shelter.. The only downside to a clinging vine is that it will die back in the winter and not provide shade, though if its cooler then that may not be a worry.
8. Decorative metal grilles
Decorative metal grilles create shade on balconies and are a great way to add pizzazz to a space. They can be mounted on the ceiling, or suspended halfway from the flooring.
These grills are great for keeping the heat out while allowing a little light to pass through. Alternatively, you can combine them with planters for an even more decorative touch. The choice is entirely up to you!
They can be a little more pricey, and a little more permanent so be sure before you spend those hard-earned dollars.
So, while those are our favorite ways to shade a balcony, there are still many other options for you to choose from, including but not limited to, acrylic sheets, faux ivy screens, trellises, and bamboo screens.
We have loads of information and articles on shading your outdoor space, while a search will help checking out the articles linked below is also a good way to start.
- Best potted plants for a shaded porch
- Deck shade ideas for windy areas
- What size posts for shade sails
- How high to mount a shade sail
- What knots for shade sails
- What pipes for shade sails
- Will shade sails kill grass
- How to shade balconies
- Best balcony privacy screens
Adding shade to your apartment’s balcony can transform your outdoor living space and allow you to get the most out of the beautiful summer months. There are plenty of options in a wide range of prices, such as awnings, pergolas, blinds, umbrellas, and plants, to add shade to your apartment’s balcony.
However, you should always consider what will become of your new design features when winter comes around and consider maintenance costs.
The best time to complete this home improvement project is now. Hopefully, our ideas will inspire you to create something exceptional for your apartment and enjoy your summers just like anyone with a garden, just that yours is a little higher!