Sally Cullen sat on a chair in her garden under an awning

Ways to style your outdoor living space

by Rachel Binks

Style Specialist

Published: 29/03/2022

Updated: 17/05/2023

Interior stylist Sally Cullen shares her top tips for styling your small garden or larger outdoor spaces with an awning or pergola awning and garden furniture

We were delighted to discover that  Sally Cullen, award-winning interiors stylist and creative director, had recently had one of our awnings installed in her garden.

So we asked her to share some of her top tips for bringing style and function to your outdoor area.


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Sally Cullen standing on the patio in her garden with an awning covering the patio

Make your garden a destination space

There's plenty of ways you can make the most of your outdoor space or decking area, whether its with plants and flowers, a comfy garden set, water features or stylish garden storage. Watch the video for Sally's top design tips on how to get the perfect finishing touch and transform your outdoor space with a stylish awning.

Hillarys awning, opened over a garden furniture

Relax in style

Sally’s first tip for outdoor styling is to think about how you want to use the space. Perhaps you want to entertain, enjoy al fresco dining or create a relaxing outdoor retreat. This will give you a focus for the furniture and accessories you will need.

An awing or pergola awning will create a lovely shaded area throughout the day. Keep things cosy with soft and textured with furnishings and garden-friendly cushions, rugs and throws. Layer them up for comfort and a pop of colour.


Some furnishings can be quite hard-edged but you can easily soften them with linens and napkins on the table top
Sally Cullen, interior stylist

Sundowner cocktails

An awning or pergola awing can create a welcoming environment and are great for continuing your outdoor entertaining later into the evening and for Sally and her husband it’s provided the perfect adult space for socialising with friends.

To create a space like this, Sally says it’s all about cosy layers and textures. Start with outdoor rugs for the floor, and make sure there's plenty of seating and a few tables so guests can put their drinks down. A cocktail cart saves nipping in the house for more drinks, and adds a sophisticated, adult feel to the space.

Lighting is often overlooked in a garden, but you can easily achieve a soft glow with lanterns or festoon lighting strung about the place. It will make everything feel nice and cosy
Sally Cullen, interior stylist

Bring the indoors out

The design of your awning or pergola awning is just as important as the décor inside of your home.

Sally suggests choosing a fabric that complements the textures and colours of your interior décor to create symmetry between the two spaces.

Your expert Hillarys advisor can help you choose a fabric that suits your style during your in-home appointment. We also offer custom colour options for cassettes, so you can match your awning to your windows and doors.

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