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Published: Wednesday, 6/20/2007

This Year's Home Improvement: Embrace Outdoor Space With Awnings

(ARA) - With spring just around the corner, it's time to start planning this year's home improvement projects.

Your deck or patio offers valuable square footage that can be converted to functional living space. New trends this season have interior designers thinking beyond the walls and into the yard. Adding an awning to a deck or patio can add style, value and extra space to enjoy with family and friends without the time and cost of a home addition.

"The outdoors are taking direction from the indoors," says home improvement expert Lou Manfredini. "Homeowners are looking at their yards as prime landscape to create usable living space."

An awning can complete your investment in a deck or patio by shielding you from the rain or hot sun while you enjoy your outdoor family room. Outdoor kitchens and bars, alfresco cinema rooms and living rooms, and cozy sitting rooms complete with outdoor fireplaces are moving onto patios and decks to create fresh, new home extensions.

And the new space can increase the overall home value with a low initial cost.

"Awnings create a whole other room without the high costs and confusing permits that come with permanent home additions," says Manfredini. "Not to be overlooked, these outdoor retreats have the potential to give homeowners increased selling power."

The variety of awning styles, fabrics and structures has grown exponentially in past years. Today, the possible combinations of colors, fabrics and shapes are unlimited, accommodating a wide variety of budgets and styles. Awnings can be customized to fit functional needs as well as style choices.

In addition to providing increased square footage to a home's livable space while adding style and value, awnings can help homeowners save money on electric bills. Studies have found that fabric awnings can significantly reduce heat in homes and businesses by blocking heavy sun exposure. And awning fabric can also be treated to block damaging UV rays that lead to skin cancer, protecting you and your family.

The Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), is committed to educating homeowners on the many benefits of awnings and providing a resource for homeowners to locate awning manufacturers and installers. For more information about awnings or to find an awning professional in your area, visit www.awningstoday.com. Courtesy of ARA Content

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