Turn your pergola into an extended living room with these accessories, design and decor ideas.
Since our pergola DIY project last year, we’ve slowly added to the space making it a complete outdoor retreat!
One our family is using and enjoying MORE than our living room.
BBQ’s and family dinners are the obvious thing to do in your outdoor space but what else do you use a pergola for? Doesn’t the sun still shine though the top?
Well I’m here to answer those questions and tell you exactly why a pergola is perfect! With our favorite accessories along the way.
Canopies covers and Shade sails
Some pergolas you’ve seen may have a completely open top, but I knew that wasn’t for us. I wanted the open feel of a pergola with protection from the sun and heat!
We bought a shade sail to go over the top of our pergola. Not only does it protect us from the sun, it also keeps us dry during light sprinkles.
Now I say light sprinkles because this shade sail is not waterproof. Nor do you want it to be. Its tightly woven but allows water to penetrate though so that rain does not pool on the fabric.
Our shade sail came with grommets along the edges for us to secure to the top of the pergola. Making the fabric stay in place even on windy days. We have taken it off for a few storms and tornado warnings but this is our second year using this same cover and we couldn’t be happier.
Movie Projector and Screen
While stationed in Hawaii we used our Lanai as a second living room. When the kids went to bed it was parents date night with a movie outside.
Turn your backyard into a movie theater with a movie projector and retractable screen. Both are lightweight and easy to set up and take down.
Have family movie night with all the movie snacks and accessories. Pillows, blankets, and of course popcorn from a vintage popcorn maker. It’s a great way to enjoy the weekend at home AND get outside.
Hammocks are pretty amazing for enjoying the backyard but if your yard doesn’t have trees to hang it from, you might need to get creative.
Building this pergola ourselves we knew it was strong enough to hold a hammock between the posts. You can always buy a stand to go with it if between posts is not an option.
When looking for a hammock we wanted one that was a mesh material for rain to go though and for easy drying with no mildew.
Outdoor rugs are a great way to bring spaces together and make it feel more welcoming.
When looking for outdoor rugs, look for ones that are water, mildew and mold resistant. It should be able to be hosed off and handle high traffic areas well.
Curtains are a nice touch to any outdoor area, but what if they did more than just give you privacy and look great?
We have a darker color (olive green) and these are the best light blocking curtains we have ever had. That’s coming from a family who’s boughten many light blocking curtains for night shift. When the sun dips to the curtain you can feel the temperature get cooler.
The sun is brutal here and even though they have faded slightly, I’m still really impressed with the quality even a year later.
The grommets on the bottom are perfect for putting a rope or rod though, keeping them steady even on windy days.
Updated Cushions and Pillows
You may be tempted to buy a completely new outdoor dinning set, but before doing that try updating your tired cushions and outdoor pillows.
Before I found these cushions we had red cushions that came with the dinning set. They were tired and worn.
Part of me wanted an entire new dinning set! But after finding some new cushions and pillows that were more suited for the elements, I began to love out outdoor set again.
Solar Lights for your steps
If you want to give your outdoor area an extra wow factor try adding solar lights for your steps.
They are great for those summer nights that the kid are running around the backyard searching frantically for that one firefly.
They keep everyone extra safe and gives your deck and pergola a little extra style.
Plants, greenery and a humming bird feeder
Every outdoor living space needs plants and greenery. It brings the outdoors right up onto your deck. We planted our wisteria vine the spring of 2019 and one year later it is up towards our pergola roof top.
Of course being a wisteria it needs to be trained and trimmed back. Otherwise it will completely take over. I’m hoping we can get him to weave along the rafters and become some sort of canopy.
Another beautiful plant we have is our Hibiscus tree. Summer 2019 we had two of them. Since it does get cold enough here in the winter, we brought these guys indoors.
Sadly only one survived its time indoors but he’s back outside now and doing well.
The girls and I love birdwatching from our deck. Our youngest even has a cute pair of binoculars that she takes everywhere! We tried a bird feeder attached to the pergola but quickly took it down.
The bird seed was making a huge mess and inviting ants. We attached the feeder to the small tree we planted in the yard and will be using a hummingbird feeder next.
Pergola lights and wind chimes
String lights are gorgeous under pergolas. They give you enough light to play cards or enjoy adult conversation while the kids play. They are a little bright for keeping on during a movie, but what we do is keep one string on and unplug the rest.
And the last accessory for your pergola is my favorite thing to ask for on Mothers day, wind chimes! It just makes laying out of the hammock with a good book that much more enjoyable.
Turning our Pergola into an extended living room
We love our pergola DIY project. We spend family dinners, game and movie nights out there as much as we can. These pergola accessories help us enjoy it just that much more.
These weren’t things that we bought all at once, but more over time. I hope it gives you some ideas and inspiration for your own outdoor paradise.
and as always