Umbrellas can add a lot to your outside décor as well as provide shade for those hot summer days. When shopping an umbrella, you'll find that they come in many sizes, shapes, fabrics, constructions, and colors. If you want to completely block out the sun, you can purchase one made of opaque fabric that provides protection from harmful rays. Other styles are made of open-weave mesh that filters the sun and still allows free air flow. Since umbrellas are manufactured in a wide array of patterns and color schemes, you can match your umbrella to your outdoor furniture or cushions. Some can even be custom-made from the design of your choice. Most outdoor umbrellas are seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half feet in diameter when stretched out flat, though other sizes are available. Umbrellas come in many shapes as well, the most popular being round with a top that's slightly curved. Garden umbrellas are the most popular and are the ones you usually see being used. Typically larger than the garden version are market umbrellas, which are becoming increasingly popular. Market umbrellas get their name from the umbrellas that were once used to cover produce in an open market. They usually don't have the crank option that most garden umbrellas have and are usually made of wood and brass. Regardless of which type of umbrella you select, make sure that it's easy to operate and that it has a sturdy base. Vents at the top allow air to pass through and reduce the chances of your umbrella taking flight like Mary Poppins'. If you'd like more information on which type of umbrella best suits your needs, contact a furniture dealer in your area.