Window awnings are ideal for blocking harsh sunlight without obstructing the view. In the Perspective New England beach house interior designer Kate Jackson had retractable window awnings installed over the dining room windows, giving the family an easy way to block sun and glare from the water in the morning, while also preserving the ocean view. And the window awnings roll tightly out of the way when they are no longer needed for shading.

Choosing a window awning is as easy as contacting an awning fabricator in your area, who can provide advice on fabric, style and valance design.

Selecting fabric
Whether it’s a bold accent or a neutral color that blends, the fabric used on window awnings should complement the home’s interior and exterior décor. In the beach house, the dining room window awnings feature Sunbrella Silica Stone, a grey-brown textured fabric that complements the mostly white monotone design that Kate created in the dining room with white sheer curtains and upholstered chairs. On the outside Silica Stone blends well with the beach house’s weathered cedar shake shingles.

If you love bold colors, choose a window awning fabric that pulls an accent color from the interior design outside or consider matching the fabric to your home’s trim color. Another option is to use a lighter or darker version of your home’s paint color or a striped fabric that features the home’s trim color on a neutral background.

Awning style
Retractable window awnings give homeowners the maximum versatility in shading because they can open to practically any angle – even past 90-degrees, if desired – to block the sun as it traverses the sky. They even neatly retract out of sight when they aren’t needed.

Retractable window awnings have a clean, simple appearance because they don’t have fabric on the sides of the awning. This was an especially important feature for the beach house where Kate sought an uncomplicated design.

In the beach house the retractable window awnings are remote controlled, so it’s easy to make quick adjustments throughout the day.

Valance style
The valance on a window awning is the piece of fabric that hangs off the front bar. It provides additional shade protection, as well as an element of design, and valance shapes vary greatly from scallops and waves, to slits and arches. They can also have contrasting trim or no trim at all.

Kate selected straight valances without trim on the beach house window awnings for a tailored look that works well with the clean lines of the house and furniture in the backyard and dining room.

Want more tips? Watch other Kate’s Corner videos in which she offers advice about using area rugs as a design element and tips for hanging window treatments that filter sunlight, but preserve the view.

Also check out the retractable RV awning on The Rhode Yacht, a video showcasing the redesign of a 1977 Airstream Argosy.

The Beach House video series is part of Perspective New England, a design journey exploring the versatility of Sunbrella fabrics for every aspect of your life—at home, on the water or on an adventure. Also check out The Rhode Yacht, a 1977 Airstream Argosy transformed by Sunbrella, and The Real Yacht, a Morris Yachts M36 sailing yacht brought to life with Sunbrella. Follow the entire project on Twitter and Instagram @Sunbrella and #PerspectiveNE.w