Just as recent as 10 years ago, balconies and roof terraces in Singapore used to be neglected and relegated to the last space to be considered when it comes to renovating the house. However, as people become more house-proud and conscious about maximising their living space, these previously neglected areas are now stepping into the limelight.
Here, we share some tips on how you can design your balcony or roof terrace to best enjoy them.
One the most important considerations of all: What do you intend to use your balcony or roof terrace for? Is it a chill corner for after-work drinks, a quiet reading corner in the home out of bounds to the kids, or a children activity corner where they can play with their sand box, play dough and not dirty the rest of the house? Is it where you hang your laundry out to dry? (we hope not…) Or perhaps it’s an entertaining corner if space allows. It’s also important to plan for storage at your balcony or roof terrace. Think long and hard about the uses of the balcony or roof terrace, but don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust as you go along.
When it comes to your balcony or roof terrace, go ahead and try different themes from the rest of the house. Because these are outdoor areas, you can create a Japanese Zen Garden look or even a tropical Amazon Rainforest look. There are many resources available for inspiration. Take a walk through the Botanic Gardens or visit the Gardens By The Bay for ideas galore. Consider every surface such as the floor, walls and ceiling when planning your balcony and roof terrace. Think of it as stepping into another zone when you step out into your balcony or roof terrace.
3. Outdoor Furniture
There are numerous outdoors furniture retailers that sell good quality products to help achieve the look and functions you require. For small balconies, try to opt for more compact and dual purpose furniture sets that can be stacked up if necessary. For larger balconies and roof terraces, you can even opt for a dining set or swing where both the young and young-at-heart can enjoy themselves. Most outdoor furniture sets are made of PE (a type of hardy plastic) these days. Whether you choose outdoor furniture made of plastic, wicker or wood, just ensure that they are durable, and easy to care for.
4. Soft Furnishing
Do not underestimate the power of soft furnishings to transform a space. Throw cushions, plush sofa and even a soft outdoor rug can make all the difference in making your balcony or roof terrace feel cozy and homely rather than hard and cold. Again, it is important that the materials you choose are able to withstand the outdoors. You don’t want to be rushing to keep your throw cushions or rugs every time it starts to rain. Get cushion covers made with outdoor fabric, these are water-proof and their colours stay vibrant even after some time in the sun. As for floor coverings, consider laying over the balcony or roof terrace with artificial turf for that soft touch and natural look that requires no maintenance. If you have wooden decking, you can highlight certain areas with colourful outdoor rugs that feel soft and can last in the sun and rain.
There’s no denying the joy and peace that greenery brings to our lives. Your balcony and roof terraces are the perfect areas to plant your favourite flowers and herbs. Instead of using your balcony planters for those plants, we suggest that you keep the plants in pots for easy maintenance. As for the balcony planters, we’ve got more suggestions on what you can do with them. Think green for the walls and ceilings too. Use one of the walls to plant your favourite herbs like pandan leaves, chili padi, basil and citronella. Otherwise, install an artificial vertical green wall that does not require maintenance yet provides you and your family with gorgeous greenery all year long.
The lighting sets the mood for the space at night and can really make your balcony or roof terrace more welcoming. If you are in the midst of renovating your house, you can get your electrician to install outdoor weather-proof switches. Otherwise, you can consider using the many solar LED light options available. These are safe (no electrical short circuits to worry about), environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run.
It only takes a little thoughtful planning to convert your balcony or roof terrace in Singapore to your private alfresco sanctuary. Enjoy!