Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Outdoor Decor: Shade Sails Save Energy and Look Great

Do you need some SPF for your home? Cutting down on sun exposure in your home will save you air cooling costs and UV damage to your decor and furnishings. Not only can you create some SPF, you can add an outdoor living space at the same time (or make a hot, sun-soaked deck liveable). Though there are many ways to add shade and outdoor living space, most solutions require a contractor or a very energetic Do-it-Yourselfer. My husband, Randall Barna and I discovered Shade Sails (originally an Aussie import) and use them with great results. (We're building a cool looking garden structure -- when we're done I'll post photos).

Available in a variety of colors and simple rectilinear shapes, Shade Sails can create an instant outdoor living area. Shade Sails are an inexpensive and stylish (I love it when those two concepts go together) addition to your home. Set up some furniture and a few potted plants under your Shade Sails and you'll be spending more time outdoors.

I write a column in Latina Style Magazine titled Su Casa (Your Home). My most recent piece on outdoor living featured outdoor furniture and ideas for easy-to-create outdoor living spaces. Here's an excerpt from that article:

Su Casa : Ask Cristina (Read the current issue of Latina Style Magazine for the full article.) By Cristina Acosta

Dear Cristina, The days are getting warmer. I have a nice backyard, but with just a concrete paver patio and grass, it isn’t very cozy. I’m ready to create an outdoor living space in my backyard that invites my friends and family to sit and relax. I also want something I can put together quickly. Any ideas? Rosita R.

It is easier than you think to make a great outdoor space. Outdoor living is the big trend in home décor and the new crop of products are stylish and durable. Because you already have a deck or patio and landscaping, you have a good foundation for your outdoor living area. Shelter from the sun and stylish comfortable furnishings will give you the sense of gaining more square footage without a home remodel. If you’re renting or on the move, the ideas I’m giving you will fit into either a temporary location or your permanent home.

Think of these ideas as layers. The first layer is your existing patio, the second layer is seating and the third layer is shade.
Lets start with a layer of SPF for you and your furnishings. A little shade goes a long way to keeping both looking younger, longer! Pavilions and shade sails will shelter you from the sun with style.

Shade sails from are a stylish and simple idea that the sun-drenched Australians have perfected. Simple geometric shapes of rectangles and squares with gently curved edges in a selection of colored polyethylene knit are striking modern accents to most any architecture. Pulled tight and attached to the home’s structure, or sturdy posts, they withstand most weather (except snow loads) for years. You’ll love the colors and the prices. Most ready-made designs are only about $100 dollars. At that price you can afford to layer a few in the same or different colors.

Pavilions (or cabanas) like this example from Tropitone are lush Sunbrella™ fabric rooms suspended from a wood or aluminum frame. Curtains complete the look and give you some flexibility for privacy or sun shading. You can take them anywhere! Set up a table and chairs or comfy seating that encourages a chat and you are ready to settle into the perfect setup for seasonal living. . . . .
Contact Latina Style Magazine for more.

Read more of my Articles on my website
Thanks to for the photos.
Note: Sun Square System sells a high-end retractable sail the can be set to retract in high winds. Visit


  1. Cristina:

    I loved your article, expanding your backyard to outdoor living is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have more room at home. We are Sun Square System US Partners, we sell a high end retractable sail that is gorgeous for high end applications including residences, hotels, restaurants and public places. Please visit our website and click on Retractable Sails

    Margueritte W. Ramos, President

  2. Wow... I'm impressed with your style for home decoration.

  3. I have to agree with you.. These shade sails do really look perfect!