How to set up a small terrace.

29 April 2020

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From a large balcony to a small city terrace, these smaller-sized outdoor spaces can present real challenges when setting-up. To make this outdoor living room into a relaxing corner that is as cosy as it is chic, here are a few tips.

Create a well-defined space when designing a small patio

Before starting a remodelling project, it is essential to check dimensions carefully to be aware of sizes. Next, you should plan for the main elements of the design which could eat into the space. For example, installing a plant wall to avoid being overlooked should be taken into account in the measurements.

Next, it will be essential to optimise the space. Each square metre should be used intelligently, and at the same time, without overcrowding the terrace. As it is impossible to move the walls out, it is best to keep a limit on one’s ideas. Small patios can also be used as much as an outdoor eating area in good weather as a relaxing space to make the most of the sunshine.

 

Furniture to fit a small terrace

To set up a terrace or balcony without wasting space, the choice of furniture is essential. While two-in-one items such as a chest serving as both storage and a bench are handy, they do not always offer optimal comfort. It is better to give up on outdoor storage and give priority to quality seating to take full advantage of this relaxing corner. The ideal would be to focus on folding chairs and tables which can be brought outside for the summer and then stored when autumn arrives.

Relaxation corner on a small terrace with Anytime chairs and table

The perfect ally of a small patio, this light, portable furniture is easy to move and does not take up too much space. In addition, the folding chairs are strong and very resistant to bad weather. Designed with a frame made of steel or aluminium, they resist humidity perfectly as well as prolonged exposure to UV light. Choose armchairs with fabric seats as these will be more comfortable than « all metal ». Available in a wide range of colours to decorate your patio to your taste or to match current trends, just add a folding coffee table, or even a dining table for two which can be brought out for mealtimes and then put away again after use.

Finally, for people living in a small space such as a small apartment or studio, it is strongly recommended to choose furniture designed for indoor/outdoor use. Therefore, a living room table and chairs will feel right at home on the patio when summer arrives.

 

Setting up your small outdoor space with plants

Flowers and greenery create a warm atmosphere without taking up too much space. It just requires clever use of space and being in tune with current trends. In recent years, the garden trend has been for verticality. City dwellers wanting to get closer to nature dream of bringing plants into their living space. To adapt to the challenges of narrow spaces, adding greenery can therefore use height. To set up a small balcony or terrace, it is easy to let climbing plants grow along a screen such as honeysuckle or clematis.

It is also possible to hang little terracotta pots on a trellis fixed to the wall or on a wooden ladder simply leaning on the wall. Finally, if you dream of having a vegetable plot, it is possible to design a space for aromatic plants such as thyme or basil. Just choose a window box or container that is tall but narrow so as not to clutter the terrace.

 

Our decor ideas for setting up a small outdoor terrace

Just as for a large terrace, it is important to maintain a visual identity. It is this balance which will bring a feeling of harmony and show a cosy ambiance. It will be more pleasant to be on a terrace which shows an original, assumed style, such as a luxurious urban garden, a bohemian balcony or a zen style terrace. A mixture of jumbled styles can feel quite stifling.

Small shaded, nicely arranged terrace with maxi transat plus duo in ecume colour

From a practical point of view, to set up a terrace, just as when setting up a patio, it is vital to think about protecting oneself from not only other people’s gaze but also from the wind and sun with a shade sail, which lets in light but maintains privacy. On the ground, it is possible to liven up dull ground with duck board or simply an outdoor rug. Geometric patterns let you play with perspectives to give an impression of a larger size. Equally, mirrors hung on the wall can create a feeling of depth.

The trend is for upcycling. Some old broken shutters, once repainted, will make a beautiful decoration on a wall. Embellishing old junk items is all the rage. A hanging birdcage can hold candles. Outdoor lighting adds a lot to the ambiance of summer evenings. Hang up a few wicker lanterns or a garland of string lights. Finally, for real comfort on sunny days as well as for cool evenings, spread some cushions and blankets around.