Awnings and Canopies: Which one to Choose for Your Home


If you have been researching home renovation options, chances are you have encountered awnings or canopies as among the great choices. At one glance, you might think they are the same. The truth is, despite their seeming similarity, they are completely different.

In this article, we are going to break down the differences (as well as similarities) of awnings or canopies. It is our hope that this article will help you in deciding which one to choose for your home.

Regardless of their differences, it is undisputed that either awnings or canopies make a good choice for a window treatment. You just need to assess the different requirements of your own window, as no window is created alike.


It is a good choice for a window treatment. An awning is a supplemental roof or cover which offers shade on a sunny day. It also provides the same protection from rain during a storm.

The good thing about awnings is that you are not confined to boring options. While most awnings are made of waterproof fabric, they differ in design to suit your taste. It can be simple or decorative, so as long as you want it to be.

With the shade they give, awnings effectively transform any patio or yard. Your family as well as your furniture will be protected from weather elements while improving the aesthetics of your space.

Make sure to read our comprehensive guide on awnings to extend your understanding of this useful window treatment.

What is A Canopy?

Like awnings, canopies are also a great choice for the provision of shade in your backyard. Canopies are large and free-standing coverings designed to protect you from weather elements. These elements include harsh sunlight and rainwater.

A durable fabric styled into a large canvas generally makes up the anatomy of a canopy. This large fabric is attached over a metal frame and between supporting posts.

Canopies cover a considerable space due to their sheer size. Hence, it is an ideal option if you are keen on hosting parties and gatherings in your yard.

What is The Difference Between an Awning And a Canopy?

With the foregoing discussion on the definition of awnings and canopies, it is obvious that both are entirely different. In deciding which one will be fit for your home, it is necessary to highlight their differences. Knowing this is extremely important since you will have a different purpose in having that needed shade in your backyard or lawn.

Awnings and Canopies: Their Difference According to Function

Function-wise, awnings, and canopies have distinct differences. These differences will be useful depending on your objective in transforming any space.

While both are excellent in providing shade as their main function, they differ in slight ways, to wit:

  • Awnings tend to provide shade in a small area. As such, their functionality is only limited. Not that this is bad, but if you only intend to have shade in your patio to accommodate an outdoor set of outdoor tables and chairs, this will do.
  • Canopies are the perfect option to suit your preference to cover a large area. Since it covers a considerable amount of space, you will need to spend more since it requires intricate setup materials.

Awnings vs Canopy: Their Difference According To Design

The stark difference between awnings and canopies in terms of design is visible in their construction and architecture.

Awnings are made of fabric that is directly attached to a building. It is usually positioned over a glass window or door. Canopies, on the other hand, rely on posts to support their fabric roof. This makes canopies a freestanding structure.

Aside from its construction and architecture, there are plenty of options available that will suit your taste. From minimalist colors to intricate designs, you will definitely have a long list of options.

Awning vs Canopy: Which is Perfect For Your Home?

The answer largely depends on your preference and purpose. Regardless of your preference, both awnings and canopies provide an effective solution for your shading needs.

To help you make a better decision about what to choose between the two, here’s what you need to keep in mind:


You need to assess your space and the extent of shade you wish to have. In your process of assessment, consider these important factors:

  • How big is my space?
  • Does this space receive a considerable amount of light during the daytime?
  • Does this space support any additional installment of materials needed to install either an awning or a canopy?


As has been explained above, choosing between awnings and canopies depends on which functionality you wish to have in your space. Having answers to these questions can help:

  • Do I want to effectively block light in all the corners of the space I intend to install with either awning or canopy?
  • Do I intend to just cover a window or door so that light can still penetrate through?

Types of Awnings And Canopies

To help you more on choosing which of the two will work great for you, we will now give you the different types of awnings and canopies. This will give you an idea of what’s the perfect option for your needs.

Awning Types

  • Retractable Awnings. This type of awning can extend to provide shelter and can be retracted whenever you want. Read our guide on retractable awning to know more.
  • Fixed Awnings. This awning type is wall-mounted, thus making it fixed. If you want to save yourself from the hassle of constantly mounting your awning, this is a great option for you.
  • Freestanding Awnings. If you want a portability option for your awning, this type of awning is highly recommended. This will enable you to move your awning to different areas of your patio or deck. The downside is that it doesn’t typically provide as much shade as compared to a fixed awning.

Canopy Types

  • Shade Canopies. This is the ultimate type of canopy that will protect you from harmful ultraviolet rays. Aside from this protection, it will transform your space into a peaceful and tranquil environment which is definitely ideal for an outdoor setup. Its extensive coverage will cover most parts of your outdoor area.
  • Canopy Tent. If you like hosting big parties like birthdays and during the 4th of July celebration, this type of canopy will be a conversation starter. It comes in different sizes and designs. These will add flavor and appeal to your garden setup or any outdoor area for that matter.
  • Cross-Cable Canopies. Cross-cable canopies are ideal if you have a concrete lawn or backyard as they are specially designed for such environments. As such, these canopies do not need staking, and no pole is needed in the middle to keep them standing. Instead, it utilized aluminum framing designed to withstand harsh weather, especially the wind.

Tips for Choosing Awnings And Canopies For Your Homes

You are now armed with the necessary information regarding the differences between awnings and canopies. By this time you have reached this article, you may now have the preference on what to choose between the two.

Before making that big decision, read the following tips in order for you to have a great decision. These tips might help you in maximizing your financial investment in whichever type you will choose.

1. Scout for local suppliers

Investing in either awnings or canopies will require a hefty amount of investment. Hence, you might want to consult with your local suppliers whom you can trust in providing either of the two. Doing so will also enable you to discuss customization options.

2. Measure with Precision

If you intend to build it yourself, nothing beats the power of precise measurement. This is crucial since both, whatever you will choose, will be permanent in nature. There should be no room for error as this gives a fatal mistake to your desired output.

3. Opt for an Excellent Fabric or Material

Most of the time, the choice of fabric will make or break your awnings or canopies. When deciding to build one, careful scrutiny should be equally given to the fabric. The fabric choice can be detrimental to the heat build-up if not chosen carefully.

Final Thoughts

We all want that shade in our lawns and yards. That is why the extra effort in researching which will maximize that shade should be properly made. Wide-ranging options on awnings and canopies will provide you with an extensive selection.

As has already been discussed, choosing between the two — and investing in the long run — will not be an easy decision. We hope that this article has helped you in making that decision and getting the shade you truly deserve!

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