family pergola decorated with neutral colour and plants

How to decorate a pergola? Tips from designer

A pergola in your own backyard is the perfect place to enjoy the long summer days. A few tips and tricks will make your pergola even more comfortable and effortless.

When designing a pergola, a statement piece for your backyard, you need to start with a question: what do I wish to do here?

“The starting point is to think who is spending time at the pergola. That is the basis for everything”, says designer and interior stylist Anna Pirkola from Studio Plenty.

People have different interests: a couple might hope for a big table for dinner parties and a family with kids might need space for playing. If you are a person who likes gardening, you might enjoy a lot of planting boxes or flower pots and maybe an edible garden where you can pick herbs and vegetables to the dinner table.

family pergola decorated with neutral colour and plants
garden pergola with neutral wooden colour

Match the pergola the house 

Pirkola also points out another design guideline: quite often the colour of the pergola is chosen to match the house. Some wish the same atmosphere will continue from inside the house all the way to the pergola.

Even though it’s good to give this some thought, Pirkola doesn’t believe in strict rules.“It’s a shame that sometimes people fear to make bold choices in decorating, just because they’re worried if it will go together with the house or match their style. If something gratifies you, I think you should do it”, Pirkola says.

garden pergola with wooden furniture

Make things look and feel comfy

If the space in pergola is limited, it’s worthwhile to utilize the vertical space as well. Hang shelves, lanterns and flower pots from the roof or wall – it also makes the space look a lot comfier. Besides, lanterns and light strings make the dark end-of-summer evenings even more magical.

The most important part of pergola is probably a comfortable place for drowsing and enjoying the summer days: a sofa, day bed or an arm chair. Lightweight furniture is convenient in the pergola, since they’re easy to move from sunlight to shadow according to your mood.

When it comes to garden furniture, Pirkola’s tip is to think about what you already have. If there is a good table but it needs a little twist, maybe you could paint it or maintain it with a tinted wood oil. An old bench might work as a place for flowers and herb pots.

cosy garden pergola with wooden furniture

Weather-proof materials save you the trouble

Some practical matters are good to take into consideration. For example, choose weather-proof materials so you don’t need to worry about rain. Wooden elements always need a little maintenance, and Tikkurila Valtti terrace oil is a smart choice for that. Weather-proof pillows or for example bean bags are handy and they make the overall look a little softer, but you don’t have to cover them during rain.

If you’re hoping that pergola will be your place of relaxing, don’t make things too troublesome. If there’s too much gardening, maintaining and cleaning up to do, pergola might turn into a matter of stress.

“Enjoyment should come first”, Pirkola says.


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