What separates a front door from the door that could have connected your youngest brother’s dorm room to the common corridor? We may not think of it often, but awnings play a distinct function in demarcating a proper entryway to the house. Far from the scalloped, striped or rounded awnings we see over old-fashioned shopfronts or your grandma’s cottage, awnings can be quite stylish and modern these days, and may actually become a feature of the house you couldn’t imagine you would do without.

A modern awning complements a modern house design with a clean, contemporary look, minimal and not too in-your-face. Depending on your needs, awnings could be small and simple to provide a little sun protection over your patio door, or much larger to cover your back porch without building a whole screen over it. They can even be a simple solution to cover your windows which may be looking a little too bare. Let’s take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to residential door awnings, to help you along in making the right decisions so your friends don’t give you That Look when they come to visit.

Do: Minimal Awnings

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Small, unobtrusive, you wouldn’t even notice it if you weren’t looking, but you would feel the shelter they give and appreciate how well put together the décor is. This awning fits right in with the architecture of the house, looking simple yet elegant in its simplicity. With clean lines and no loud colors or brash prints, it gives off a very contemporary vibe – you might not even have noticed it, but it is certainly there.

Don’t: Awnings That Are Actually Part Of The Roof

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This awning puts the “aw” in “awful”. An extra little piece of roof jutting out to create a tiny awning? No, thank you!

Do: Thin Awnings

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A thin awning made in whichever material best suits your house is always a good idea. It looks simple, it’s minimal, it fits in with the architecture, and it serves its purpose without shouting too loudly.

Don’t: Cottage-Style Awnings

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Even cottage houses think twice about making awnings like these anymore. If you want a contemporary cottage house design, work with a designer to find out what people are doing with designs this century.

Do: Plain Fabric Awnings

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Plain fabric awnings can look very nice if done in a contemporary way, choosing plain colors and sleek lines. Usually dark colors would look more modern, but pastel colors could work well too depending on the feel you are going for with your home décor. In this instance, even a throwback to scalloped edges doesn’t take away from the modern look of this awning – it looks classy, instead of looking like it just stepped out from a time machine.

Don’t: Anxiety-Inducing Awnings

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Unless you want to cause anxiety for everyone who comes to your door, steer clear of thick, industrial-looking awnings that are held up by fragile-looking thin wires that look like they may snap at any moment, sending ten tons of steel crashing down upon people’s heads.

Bonus: Pergola Awnings

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A pergola is not an awning per se, but it sure is creative to put the two ideas together. Here we see an example of creativity at work with a slanted pergola serving the purpose of creating a sheltered awning for the front door. That’s a definite yes in our books!