Decorate a Canopy for an Outdoor Event

Many canopies for indoor use are elegant by design. Those meant for the great outdoors are bound to be more utilitarian and therefore, depending upon the event, in need of some combination of camouflage and softening as well as festive decoration.

There is also real potential for safety issues when it comes to wind, and trip hazards posed by lines and cords.

Nothing beats the sight of a crisp white or green tent canopy set against a blue or twilit sky, but Rule Number One is that the pretty tent will fly if given half a chance — even more so if you have one or more sidewalls attached! If tent instructions say guy lines and/or staking are necessary, believe them! Try also to select a site that is sheltered from the prevailing wind by, say, a copse of trees or a building. If for some reason you can’t stake, keep in mind that the average 10X10 canopy is going to require up to a couple hundred pounds of weight to keep it from drifting away in any significant wind. You can buy or make weights, and you can use bungee cords to tie legs to heavy tables, coolers and the like. (As you can imagine, this is where the need for camouflage begins to come in!)

When you have the wind-proofing figured out, the next thing to look at is electricity. Run extension cords from the power supply along routes where you’re sure folks won’t be walking, or cover them with planking or mats. Snake the cord(s) up a tent leg and attach with twist ties.

From here, it’s all about the decorating!

  • For lighting, string twinkle lights like scattered stars across the tent ceiling, or use them around the inside edge and hang a lantern from the middle.
  • Soften the look of metal poles by wrapping them in fabric such as tulle, chiffon, or gossamer streamers. For garden themes, wind floral or ivy garland over the fabric. You might also add twinkle lights here, too.
  • Use tree decorations or scene setter pieces to help hide canopy weights, keep guests away from guy lines and stakes, and guide the flow of traffic.
  • Hang party curtains in place of tent sidewalls.
  • Browse ShindigZ Decorations pages for more ideas on turning your utilitarian canopy into an attractive space for your outdoor events.

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