A porch awning is a structure that covers all or most of a porch in the absence of a porch roof, offering shade and protection from the elements. In most cases, a porch awning is made with a metal frame. The material that is hung between the sections of the frame might be made of metal or fabric. These are the two most commonly used materials, although there are exceptions such as awnings made out of a kind of durable plastic. The awning is generally connected on one side to a house or other structure, and may or may not be retractable.
Sometimes an awning is quite small and is only used to offer temporary shelter as people enter and exit the home. A small porch awning also offers shade and, during wet weather, protection from the rain for guests who are waiting at the door. An awning can also be quite large, creating a spacious leisure area. People who have these larger kinds of awnings often have outdoor furniture on their porches where they may dine or spend time relaxing.
It is most common for a porch awning to be either solid in color or striped. The striped models are usually uniform in width and incorporate only two colors. Within these two categories there is quite a range in terms of the colors that are available, but the most commonly used colors are muted and natural shades. Most people try to choose a porch awning that fits in well with the colors used to decorate the exteriors of their homes.
Sometimes people have awnings installed over their decks or over balconies on upper levels of their homes. These are effectively the same as porch awnings. People who have multiple awnings on their homes usually try to have all of the awnings match for aesthetic consistency. Awnings that cover decks and porches are sometimes retractable. This means that, with the use or a crank or pulley system, the awning can be drawn back toward the house or extended out to offer a shady area.
Porch awnings may be used in public spaces as well as in residential spaces. Restaurants and cafes sometimes have their outdoor areas covered with a porch awning to offer a cool dining space for their guests. Museums, libraries, and other cultural centers might also hang porch awnings over their outdoor spaces.