Build a frame to fit the dimensions of the window, door or patio for the awning. Cover it with an outdoor shade cloth in your choice of color or pattern. Neutral shades look best against a busy backdrop while stripes and other patterns work best against a neutral backdrop. Choose a palette, and delegate colors to each area you require fabric (patio tablecloth, chair covers and cushions). Whether you choose to create a fixed or retractable awning depends on functionality and the intensity of the weather you need to deflect.
Sheets of plastic or acrylic can be paired with your choice of frame -- wood or metal designs -- for a modern take on an awning. Move beyond the tinted corrugated plastic commonly used for sleeker designs using plastic panels. Whether you are creating a modern or traditional-looking awning, plastic is a viable option. Not only does it look sleek, bit it also deflects inclement weather above doors and windows. Choose from patterns including pebbled plastic, reeded plastic and plain clear plastic.
Wooden awnings can be matched to existing structures on your property such as decks, patios, gazebos and pergolas. One idea is to build a wooden awning above a window with a planter box made from the same materials. Grow vines like clematis or morning glory, and weave the vines among the slats of the awning. Or build a louvered wooden awning to allow yourself control over which way the slats are facing. Louvered awnings will help you deflect harsh sunlight away from your home.
Options for metal awnings include fixed or retractable models with aluminum slats. Choose from a variety of shades and patterns. Other ideas include having a metal awning welded and covered with your choice of material. Combinations include metal and plastic, metal and wood or metal and cloth. Pair the design of the metal frame with a corresponding material to ensure a cohesive end product. One idea is to create a metal frame reminiscent of a gazebo frame, which netting can be fastened to, creating an enclosed area for hot days or to ward off insects.