Ideas for Porch Shades


Porch shades not only add aesthetic appeal to an outdoor living area, they also protect furnishings and occupants from exposure to damaging sun rays. Using a little ingenuity and basic tools, a homeowner can construct a decorative and durable porch shade to add functionality and style to a porch or covered patio.

Straw Mats

  • Purchase inexpensive straw mats to turn into porch shades. Leave the mats plain or paint and decorate them to match the decor of the porch. Spray the mats with a water sealer to deter moisture and add life to the straw mats. Use a staple gun to fasten the mats to the interior porch ceiling. Use colorful ribbons, lace or shoestrings to roll the mats up to the desired height, and tie them in place.

Fabric Curtains

  • Purchase heavy fabric curtains at a retail outlet or secondhand store. Choose curtains thick enough to prevent the sun from shining through and long enough to provide plenty of shade. Hang a curtain rod on the inside of the porch cap rail. Use conventional curtain rope ties to pull the curtains back when necessary, or construct ties from ribbon or rope. As an alternative, choose plastic shower curtains instead of fabric curtains to add protection from rain. Plastic shower curtains deteriorate rather quickly when exposed to sunlight, so choose cheaper versions and plan to replace them frequently.

Living Screen

  • Fasten rows of plant trellis or lattice along the edge of the porch. In the early spring, plant several heavy foliage vines, such as clematis, coral vine and trumpet vine, about six inches in front of the trellis. Choose vines with high sun tolerance. Water and fertilize the plants as needed, and train the plants to climb and cover the trellis. By early summer, the vines should cover the trellis enough to provide shade and beauty to the outdoor living area.


  • Paint or stain a section of wood lattice to match the exterior of the residence, and spray the finished product with a wood sealer to protect against moisture damage. Put up the lattice section along the interior eaves of the porch. Use wood screws to attach the lattice, which allows for easy removal during the winter. As an alternative, use plastic lattice instead of wood because plastic lattice requires less maintenance and lasts longer when exposed to weather.

Fabric Shade Screen

  • Construct a rectangular frame from two 6-foot pieces of 1-by-1-inch wood and two 2-foot pieces of 1-by-1-inch wood. Using a staple gun, cover this frame with thick upholstery material, drawing the fabric tight and stapling it into place. Construct as many frames as necessary and attach them to the porch with small brass hinges, placing the hinges so the frames fold in for storage.

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  • Photo Credit ampelopsis vine image by mefanti from
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