Escape the Heat With These Cheap Porch Shades!

I love sitting on my front porch in the summer, bu the roof isn’t enough to keep the sun at bay all day. The afternoon and summer sun is usually bright and hot enough to chase me back into the house after just a little while.

A retractable awning would be a great solution, but they’re super expensive! Since money doesn’t grow on trees around here (drat!), I’m currently exploring a few different ideas for cheap porch shades to help make our front porch bearable in the summer. Whatever I use as porch shade must be affordable as well as attractive.

Here are a few ideas I’m considering right now…

Rolling Bamboo Blinds

Fruitwood Brown Outdoor Roll Up Patio Shade from

Fruitwood Outdoor Roll Up Shade from

The first idea I came up with for cheap porch shades were simply inexpensive bamboo shades that I saw down at my local Big Lots. I could install one or two long ones or several shorter ones to shade the porch.

The rolling shades could be easily installed just inside the porch. They can then be rolled up or let down, depending on the intensity of the sun.

If I got some cheap porch shade like this, I may need to replace the blinds every few years, but they’re so inexpensive that it really wouldn’t set me back much.

Hanging Plants

I love this idea from Martha Stewart!

It’s a gorgeous wall of hanging baskets filled with lush greenery. This idea can easily be replicated by installing a few simple shelves at different heights between two porch pillars. Two by fours or one by fours would be sufficient for the shelves. Plants could be planted in pots and placed along the length of the shelves.

I suspect ivy or some other viney fast growing plant would be perfect for this. Even peas could be planted on this natural porch screen. That way you’d have both shade in the summer as well as a great wall of delicious crisp peas that you can pick whenever they’re needed.


Trellises can make great cheap porch shades!

I’ve seen affordable trellises and cheap lattice work at my local home improvement stores and garden centers. Some are quite ornate and decorative, while others are pretty simple. Being the cheapskate frugal-minded individual that I am, I’d also consider making my own trellis. A simple trellis can be easily constructed from inexpensive lumber, but I also love the look of bentwood trellises!

Depending on how much you want to shade your porch, you can also plant vines to climb the trellis. I’m quite fond of wisteria and ivy, which would both cover a porch trellis quite nicely and provide lots of shade in the summer.

Porch Curtains

When I first saw them, I thought porch curtains looked a bit chintzy. However, they’re really starting to grow on me, and I think they make awesome cheap porch shades!

Cheap porch curtains can be made from all sorts of different materials, including sheets, shower curtains, and drop cloths. (I love these simple drop cloth porch curtains on Between Naps on the Porch!) You can also use long pieces of electrical conduit, which can be found for just a few bucks at hardware stores, for some cheap curtain rods for your porch curtains. If you aren’t handy with the sewing machine – I’m not! – use metal shower curtain rings or curtain clips to hang your porch curtains.

My favorite thing about porch curtains – besides being super cheap – is that they can be taken down and washed whenever needed. If you use light colored fabric, you can also use bleach to get rid of stains and brighten them.


What are your favorite ideas for cheap porch shades?