Cheap Way To Block Sun in Rental?

Good Questions

Q: Hi Apartment Therapy! Thanks for all the help as I move into my first apartment here in hot, sunny LA. My living room and bedroom both have sliding glass doors/windows that are three panels wide. This makes most of my apartment a baking sun room for most of the day. (That's especially tough in these first summer months.)

I've learned (and am a firm believer in the theory) that blocking and shading from outside the window keeps the sun from the glass and reduces the heat in the room. For now I've been using a hung up sheet and an unattached woven curtain leaning on the building from outside, and it's proven more effective at heat-protection than shading from within.

I've looked at options like trellises, umbrellas, exterior roman shades, even the expensive option of potted trees. I've adorned my new balcony with plants and decor (not yet tall enough!), and it would be an added bonus if the patio itself could also benefit from the shading option I find. The fact that it's a rental means adding a larger awning to the building is not an option, but I need some way to protect the glass windows as well as make the patio a bit more liveable.

I already plan on making a burlap patio-rug, but for sun? Can I find a free-standing trellis or sun-screen that won't blow down? (Maybe tie it to the railing?) Is there a cheap option for Roman shades that can go in front of a sliding glass door? Is there a large breeze-safe cheap umbrella out there? I'm on a budget but would do almost anything to keep my home cool. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction for this issue!

Sent by Gwenna M

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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