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How to Choose Colour

Market Umbrellas; Which Colour is the Right one for You?

By 06/02/2009May 16th, 202126 Comments

When we were renting a house in Vancouver (before we bought our house in the country) I decided I needed a new umbrella for my garden.

The first one I bought was bright orange (it was on sale). “I like orange” I thought, “I’m sure it will be great in my garden patio”. The next morning before I even looked outside, I noticed an orange glow coming from my windows and the first thing my eye was drawn to was the orange umbrella, it had become the focal point of my garden! Back it went and I came home with a white one (which is what I originally thought it should be anyway).


I love my white umbrella, it goes with all the white flowers in my garden (below) – although I do have colour there as well! And it coordinates with my black and white outdoor 50’s dining chairs. I can dress the table any colour I want and I don’t have to worry about coordinating the decor to the umbrella.

Photo by Maria Killam
Another white umbrella that matches the flowers and the trim of this particular house, which is also another way to choose the colour. It also looks like the garden is the focal point here which is why a white umbrella makes sense.

And of course here in this outdoor market in New Mexico (I fell in love with this image from flickr so I had to include it) the blankets remain the most important element with the white umbrellas in the background.

And these turquoise umbrellas are so beautiful with the fresh yellow (we will ignore the muddy pink colour on the right) and the turquoise buildings as the backdrop!

Here these periwinkle blue umbrellas look so stunning as they work so well with the blue pool and windows!

Here, there is nothing to see except grass beyond the patio, so the graphic patterned yellow on this umbrella with the matching cushions are fabulous!

You know when a great colour as the best idea? If you are looking at mostly concrete. Find an umbrella and some patio cushions in your favourite colour, and it will instantly bring your patio to life!

This navy umbrella from House Beautiful is perfect on the dock to go with the lake!

This black umbrella is great in this poolside patio from David Jimenez where the focal point is definitely the umbrella with the coordinating cushions as the only thing behind the view is a simple tall hedge which provides a lovely backdrop for this outdoor vignette! No flowers or a busy garden here to create confusion with the umbrella colour.

This 1/2 umbrella for balconies is such a great idea! I like the way they picked black to go with the railing! Also black looks so great with orange bricks! If you are buying an umbrella for your balcony, matching the trim in the building or the railing as shown here is a good place to look for the colour!

Notice that I’m only showing market umbrellas for your balcony or patio? That’s because these cheap ones (shown below) belong ONLY in the sand at the beach! Never in your patio.

This is where I’d love to be right now!
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  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    I am personally not fond of coloured umbrellas but I love the black ones (the only problem will be that black attracts the sun and it may become too hot underneath… well not in Vancouver anyway). White or off white (natural canvas colour) was always my choice and it also creates a cooler space underneath. I need to say that I have never seen a 1/2 umbrella…how convenient for a small balcony or patio (learning new things from you blog every time)

  • VictoriaArt says:

    I love umbrellas, they convey sun, summer, leisure time and limonade…summer parties and fire flies!
    I love your picks, great photos.
    And what a beautiful seating area you’ve got. So classic in black and white. I could see there as well a magenta colored umbrella, like your azaleas or rhododendron in the background. But I am a wild
    😉 Victoria

  • Michelle says:

    How cool is that 1/2 umbrella! Can’t wait to have dinner in your very inviting backyard.


  • Things That Inspire says:

    I have always wanted a nice umbrella for my deck, but I also want a nice set of deck furniture to go with it so I have not done anything at all! Great inspirational photos.

    Your garden is my favorite of all. What a gorgeous space! Do you eat outside very often in the summer?

  • ticklishfromadistance says:

    Such a great post. Gorgeous images, and I had no clue there was such a thing as a half umbrella. Great to know!

  • Christine says:

    Your garden is beautiful! What a lovely spot for the summer.

  • DesignTies says:

    Fun post, and love your patio set with the the black & white fabric on the chairs 🙂 And the greenery is beautiful.

    Our patio umbrella is a similar green to the umbrella in your second-to-last picture. Not quite as bright, though. That was the jumping off point for the orange, dark brown, and bright green colour scheme in our backyard 🙂

    Our house is pretty much all white, so no colour to coordinate with there. And we don't have any flowers in the backyard because of the dogs. So the bright green and orange are the primary hits of colour in the yard. I like the look, and now I know why it works — because of the plain backdrops 🙂


  • Joy says:

    Well this is prefect timing, I am looking for new umbrellas Now…
    I always have black and I mean total black even to the pole, which is impossible to find. So I will buy a new black umbrella and take it apart, and spray paint it black. But after looking at all these umbrella's I might re-think all my black on black with black in the garden. I am really loving the periwinkle blue.

  • Lauren says:

    loving the white umbrellas!!! my old market umbrella blew out of our patio at the old house and it happened to be on trash day & they took it away!!! 🙁 hahaha

  • Struggler says:

    I love the look of the turquoise umbrellas at the street cafe, but overall the blue ones with the swimming pool are my favorite.
    May I offer a word of caution to others: make sure the umbrella stand you buy will fit under your patio table. I bought a nice sturdy stand with quite a long 'neck' and unfortunately our table has a cross-beam which gets in the way. The devil's in the details!

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    I'm a white umbrella kind of gal (I'm sure you could have guessed that). Love the fabric on your chairs!
    Your garden is gorgeous, Maria.


  • Haven and Home says:

    Great pictures, I need a new umbrella after reading this. I can't believe how beautiful your garden is! It is dreamy.

  • Danika Herrick says:

    Oooohhh! Turquoise and yellow, my fave. I'm loving your blog! I've nominated you for a Splash Award.

  • Under a Green Roof says:

    the yellow chevron umbrella for me! without a doubt!!!

  • Clayton Gray Home says:

    What a wonderful selection of colors to really get you thinking about all of the possibilities. Great post!

  • Unique Unique Design says:

    I would chose the white or black, but just did a post on green and that one is pretty appealing. Love your garden, too!


    I wish I could keep the umbrella over my table on the patio up all year long. It adds such a welcoming touch to the patio! We love eating out there until the heat and mosquitoes chase us inside. The umbrella is in large neutral stripes because we love setting the table with many different colored linens.

  • mrsben says:

    First of all Maria, your Garden space is beautiful! Love the look of an umbrella and all the pretties you've featured here as they can add a touch of elegance and/or whimsy.

  • Ideezine says:

    I would select either white or off white for my needs. But I love colors especially periwinkle. I think umbrellas make you smile and think "how fun".

    Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude did location installations called
    The Umbrellas, Japan – USA, 1984-91
    Blue umbrellas in Japan and Yellow umbrellas in California. My husband and I took a road trip and saw the installation here in California it was such a treat. Here's a link to see the effect. Enjoy!

  • Hill Country House Girl says:

    Maria – I love this post. It is hard to choose a favorite, but right now, I am so with you – under that blue and yellow umbrella right on the edge of the water. If we can't go to the ocean, then the dock on the lake will do just fine!!

  • Home For A Change says:

    Loved the cafe scene, would make a great painting. I've had many umbrellas over the years but the wind on the prairies has made me give up on them. Enjoy your pictures and commentary.

  • DesignTies says:

    Lovely back garden, Maria! And the fabric on your chairs is also great!!

    When we build our back deck I think I'll opt for a black umbrella – it'll look best with my planned house paint colours (thanks for the suggestion, by the way!) 🙂 BUT… it'll be a while before that deck is built so, for now, no umbrella for me!

    Victoria @ DesignTies

  • Anna Lindsey Sailer O'Reilly says:

    All of these spaces are gorgeous, thanks for sharing.

    at All Things Creative

  • Heidi says:

    Love all the photos and umbrellas – HOWEVER, I don’t think most of us live in such beautiful stellar locations. How about some examples of basic plain backyards or small 50 sq. feet atriums all without views. Thanks!

    • Maria Killam says:

      You know why basic doesn’t make it on most blogs? Because no one would want to read them. Everyone wants ‘pretty’. And my advice about the colour would stay the same anyway! Thanks for your comment. Maria

  • Sharon says:

    Where does one look for a half umbrella for their smaller size, but very sunny balcony?

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