Ask an Expert: What Is The Best Color for a Patio Umbrella?

A backyard with a pool, umbrellas, and some chaise loungers.

When it comes to choosing a patio umbrella, size and shape are top considerations. But what about color? Believe it or not, patio umbrella color is more than a matter of aesthetics. From providing better shade to preventing stains, color can play a surprisingly important role in the overall functionality of your umbrella. So what’s the best color for a patio umbrella? We asked the experts! Keep reading to find out their advice when it comes to determining what is the best color for a patio umbrella.

A large gray umbrella.

Patio Umbrella Colors 101: It’s More than Just Style

It’s understandable to think that a patio umbrella’s color has little to do with its actual performance. But that’s off the mark! Much like the clothing we wear, lighter and darker patio umbrella colors draw and repel heat differently. That can have a big impact on how cooling your patio umbrella turns out to be, says Joe Crandall, a representative for Florida-based luxury umbrella manufacturer Tuuci.

Crandall says dark colors aren’t a no-no: Darker fabric is great at masking stains, and can complement just about any shade of patio furniture. However, those rich browns, burgundies and blacks may be a better fit for environments that are sunny but cool.

A woman sitting on a chair under a large white umbrella.

“Darker canopies tend to be hotter. When you’re closer to them you will feel warmer — kind of like asphalt, you can feel the heat radiating off.”

On the other hand, a lighter pastel or even classic white patio umbrella can help keep sunny outdoor spaces from becoming scorching hot spots. Overall, considering your typical weather and heat tolerance is key when weighing what is the best color for your patio umbrella.

A large blue umbrella by a pool.

What’s Your Taste?

We’ve covered the practical aspects of choosing the best color for a patio umbrella – now for the fun part! Umbrella fabrics are available in a variety of shades ranging from earthy naturals to vibrant primary colors. With so many options, choosing the best color for patio umbrellas can quickly become overwhelming. To keep things simple, Crandall suggests considering natural tones. Terra cotta, stone and beige tend to be the go-to choices for most people’s preferences, and for good reason.

“These colors give of cleanness, crispness and a fresh outdoor look,” he says, adding that you should consider going just a shade just off natural to hide the dirt that tends to show on lighter colors. For a more stately, traditional look, consider patio umbrellas in jewel tones like rich reds or blues. Consider pastels for a beachy vibe or, if bold statement style is your forte, a brilliant orange, green or yellow hue may be the best color for your patio umbrella.

An umbrella with a black and white pattern over two chaise loungers in front of a pool.

Think Long Term

A high-quality umbrella is a long-term investment for your patio, and the color should reflect that. When deciding what is the best color for a patio umbrella, our experts say you should consider how well each color is likely to hold up in your particular environment.

Darker colors tend to show more fading over time. That means while a beautiful burgundy might look great on your patio this season, you could need a replacement canopy a lot sooner than you’d prefer. On the other hand, lighter fabrics are more prone to soiling – making that canary yellow patio umbrella harder to keep attractive in dust-prone areas.

Whatever your color preference, the experts recommend choosing a patio umbrella crafted from high-quality, solution-dyed material. That, Crandall says, will play a significant role in how any patio umbrella color holds over time.

Ultimately, picking the best color for patio umbrellas comes down to personal preference. Use these tips to help you make the best decision and whatever color you choose, remember to grab a patio umbrella cover to keep that vibrant color looking its best! For more tips on picking the best pieces for your patio, subscribe to our email list or follow us on Instagram.