Creating the perfect terrace

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
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Maybe you live in a top floor apartment and have a roof terrace, or maybe you're lucky enough to live in an apartment block with bigger-than-usual balconies – big enough that they call themselves terraces. Your interior looks smashing, but you haven't got around to turning your attention to the terrace yet. Or you've let the terrace go to seed a bit, and it's time to remodel. We're here to help! If your space is big enough to be called a terrace, then it's a place for dining, or for reading, or for lying back in the sun – or for all three! So you'll need to furnish it, and you'll also need to think about some plants and other greenery – it is an outdoor space, after all. Let's take some inspiration from our designers here on homify! 

 Garden  by Sun Moon
Sun Moon

Divano Modulabile

Sun Moon

You've probably seen outdoor furniture like this around. Modular sofas are an extremely practical and flexible solution for any terrace of any size. In this example, a corner sofa, creates a space to lie back and relax, but it could also be used as a breakfast area, a place for afternoon drinks, or a gathering spot for an evening party. Because it's modular, each element can be moved around, so you can go from having one seating area on your terrace to having two (or more!). 

If we want to eat outside, we need to consider what kind of outdoor table we need. Is it a table for informal breakfasting, or a table to spread a feast for guests out on? If the latter, the table needs to be big, solid, and of decent quality. Teak is a classic choice, and is water resistant and very solid. If your budget is smaller, a hard plastic or plastic-coated wood top with metal legs can look great when paired with contemporary dining chairs, as here. And of course you'll need to think of some sun protection – and nothing beats an elegant sun parasol.  Surrounding the dining space with planters full of herbs and flowers will create a lovely soft space, though beware of planting too many brightly coloured flowers around a dining area, unless you want to be beset by buzzing insects while you eat!

A sad looking terrace that's badly in need of a makeover – let's take a look at what designer Lorenzo de Grada has wrought with it!

Straight away, we see the huge change that replacing the worn and scuffed tiles has wrought on this terrace. The wooden slats are warm and contemporary, and soften the hard lines of this terrace beautifully. The terrace has been divided into two functional areas – a dining space with a table that seats 8, and a lounging space with a modular corner sofa and chairs. Large candle holders mark the dividing line between the two spaces. Planters full of trailing plants add a nice touch of green that softens the metal and glass railing. 

A terrace can also become our own little garden in the sky: a place of tranquility where you can relax surrounded by greenery. This project, from jnumeroverde, is called 'Zen Garden', and is a picture of peace and calm. Aloe, agave, and papyrus in sunken pots are carefully arranged around stepping stones and white gravel to create the perfect place to meditate and get away from the urban hustle and bustle. 

RIBA Roof Terrace, Portland Place:  Balconies, verandas & terraces  by Biotecture
Biotecture

RIBA Roof Terrace, Portland Place

Biotecture

The latest fad? The vertical garden. If you don't have much space on your terrace for planters, this is a funky, practical and very contemporary option. A mix of plant types creates texture and a play of colours, and the sense of being surrounded by greenery is very relaxing. Squashy cushions on a large sofa frame make this the perfect relaxation spot. 

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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