How to Decorate Pergola With Fabric

Written by renee miller
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Pergolas are the newest addition to upscale outdoor space. They can be incorporated into almost any outdoor setting and add the perfect touch of flair without standing out like a sore thumb. Many are creating sanctuaries within the pergolas by adding decorative fabric in a variety of creative ways that suit personalities and surroundings. Fabric and colour choices vary, but the beauty the covering can add will remain steadfast.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • PVC pipe
  • Gas pipe
  • Wood end caps

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  1. 1

    Choose your fabric. If you live in a dry, windy area consider lightweight, billowy sheer fabrics. Linen is a strong fabric spun from flax that holds up well. Acetate has the appearance of silk, but won't rot or fade. Cheesecloth is the most lightweight material and adds a romantic touch when it moves with the wind. Cotton prints bring a classic touch of country living outdoors.

  2. 2

    Use a no-sew solution. If you don't know how to plug in a sewing machine, much less use it, decorate with lightweight fabrics. Tulle or cheesecloth can be draped over the pergola without needing any hemming or fuss. Start at the bottom of the front post and wrap the material loosely around the post about three times on your way up. Weave it around the outer roof beam (over and under as you go along) and down the back post using the same method. Repeat this on the other side. Secure with twine at the bottom, since tacking the tulle or cheesecloth may result in tears.

  3. 3

    Create a "roof" with fabric panels. Slide a gas pipe into a two feet long PVC pipe to weight it. Cap the ends with a fitted piece of wood. Use a piece of fabric long enough to lay over your entire pergola roof and drape so that it hangs to an inch or so above ground in the back and about a foot in the front. Sew each end around your PVC pipe and hang.

  4. 4

    Make a valance (instructions can be found in resources). If you have a lot of trees or rain you may not feel like taking on the arduous task of removing entire panels to wash twice a month. Hang valances with heavy cottons or polyesters along the outer walls of your pergola for a very uptown, low maintenance solution.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are one to buck against tradition, always trendy and cutting edge, play with colours and patterns that shock and awe. No one will expect polka dot or Mardi Gras colours for a pergola, but they can be used to showcase your personality. If you are low key and modern, try contrasting colours like black and white. For a more subdued look beiges, tans and soft whites work well.
  • You will have to be prepared to clean your fabric regularly. Most that are used for decorating pergolas are not weather resistant.

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