I want to use our terrace for parties. However, I am tired of the wicker look that seems to be the only option for the outdoors. What can I do in a hurry, before the outdoor season ends?
We usually tend to start with the bigger items in budget and time, overwhelming ourselves with the magnitude of the job — and very often give up before we get anywhere. So, the first step is to start with the things that will really make a difference and aren’t too difficult to put together. Therefore, leave the floor and roof alone.
Saigon hanging lantern: A Paradox One, Qutab Crescent Mall, New Delhi, Rs3,295
Flooring or covering an outdoor space is generally expensive and a major task. Instead, mask the defects with visual distractions. If patches on the floor are really a mess, opt for inexpensive, colourful rugs available off the street that can be used for just one season. Or drape a colourful tapestry across the ceiling to cover a rough awning.
Once the outter shell is in place, build a screen around the deck for privacy from neighbours. Tall plants work wonders. If you need a more dense screen, build a bamboo grid and dress it up with a creeper. If you don’t have a green thumb, hang a pole and drape colourful, sheer curtains as a screen. If it is breezy where you are, add a mechanism on the floor to hold the curtain down.
Lights have the most impact in any outdoor space. Use lights that aren’t too bright—just make sure to use a lot of them. The trick is to hide the light fixtures behind plants and curtains or under tables.
Be selective with your accessories. Plants should be the starring element, and all the other accessories should be the supporting cast. Statues work well, especially those made of stone, because they can withstand the weather. Don’t forget to light them up. Or opt for antiques, such as a wheel from an old cart, oil lanterns, pillars, or doors/windows.
Walls can be rustic and textured. Metallic finishes give a beautiful sparkle at night. Hang a mural of old tiles in one corner. Put up old mirrors. Just remember to keep it simple, so the accessories and lighting create their own ambience.
Use old furniture, even if outdated, and cover entirely with loose covers that can be removed and washed. Use basic neutral tones and throw in colourful cushions. Floor cushions and bean bags scattered in corners are always useful. Blocks of stone or old furniture pieces with a glass or stone slab can make very attractive tables. The market has a lot of options for easy maintenance materials in cane or wrought iron.
If you have a little extra money to spare, a wooden deck or a built-in fireplace is the perfect way to indulge your outdoor self.
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