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How to make the most of a tiny terrace

Summer’s finally here! Are you heading somewhere? We’re sure you’ll experience super exciting tropical adventures during your leave, but it might be safe to anticipate those post-holidays-blues. To avoid that bummed-out ‘summer’s over’ feeling, treat your outdoor area like a little escape from reality. Believe us: you don’t need a garden of 6 acres to enjoy some vacation vibes at home. A few spare square metres and the tips below will help you to make the most of that tiny urban terrace of yours! (We bet you won’t even feel the need to go abroad next year.) 

Treat it like an outdoor room

While some people might consider a roofed terrace a waste of sunlight, why not turn it into an advantage? As you don’t need to worry about wind or rain, you can treat it as an extension of your interior. And that’s exactly what Kim did, at her apartment in the centre of Antwerp. “We have a tiny little terrace, but we love it so much and use it very often”, she says. “The carpet gives it an inside feeling, while covering up the ugly tiles. When we invite friends over for dinner, we open the floor-to-ceiling windows and incorporate the terrace into our dining space, putting chairs inside and outside for balmy weather apéros. We always end up spending the entire night there.”  

That’s exactly how Stéphanie approaches her small terrace in Geneva, too: “Our terrace is partly walled off, as if it were more an outdoor room than a terrace. I really liked the idea of decorating the place like it was an actual extension of our open plan living room, so I spruced up the lounge corner with some greens and an outdoor carpet, put up string lights and added some throws and cushions. It’s such a cozy and warm space to spend quality time with friends and family.”

 

#plantsplantsplants 

Plants have become a staple in almost every room, but they’re truly indispensable on your terrace! To create a feeling of a garden retreat, consider the available space and placement of the plants. Bigger terraces with lots of sunlight can handle grape vines or wisteria plants (urban jungle alert), while a smaller terrace benefits from strategic plant positioning. How to do this? Use planting of different sizes, heights and kinds, and place them on all sides of your terrace. Another tip is to hang a few plants or flowers on the outside of the railing to gain space.  

With a bench, some cushions and a railing-mounted table (which doesn’t clutter up the balcony with table legs) you’re in for a little one-on-one time with nature. We take Peggy’s words for it: “A terrace is the place to be if you want to feel connected to nature, especially in the city. The falling leaves, the blossoming flowers, the bees, birds, butterflies… they all ensure you stay in contact with time and the seasons. It sometimes really feels as though time ticks away twice as fast in the city.”

Do sweat the small stuff 

Details matter, especially on a tiny terrace. Put your plants and flowers in a beautiful flower pot. Invest in a multipurpose stool or side table, which can be used as seating area or as perch for your morning coffee or cold glass of rosé at sunset. Illuminate your conversations and create an ambient atmosphere with a string of fairy lights or a full-moon replica light. Stay hydrated during a heat wave and use throws when the nights are getting colder. Dim the lights and light up the candles for a romantic evening with your loved one. When you’re having friends over, a tray helps with serving those mean margaritas straight from the bar. 

Sweating the small stuff is mostly a waste of time, but on your tiny terrace they’re the reason why you won’t suffer from those post-holidays-blues. Instead, they offer you a way to a way to reminisce about your adventures and make new ones at the same time. 

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Photography by Stephanie Duval and Liesbet Goetschalckx.