3 ways to design a beautiful terrace on a budget

Mumbai design firm unTAG share tips on transforming your terrace into an eco-friendly escape on a dime
3 ways to design a beautiful terrace on a budget
Yash Prabhu, Srivibhu Viraj

"A well-planned and designed terrace is like an open oasis for socializing and relaxation amid the bustle of a busy city. Most people pay a lot of attention to making the interiors more comfortable and congenial, the outdoors deserve the same. The design intent should be to create a biophilic transient space, which connects the home with these nature-inspired elements,” says Gauri Satam, co-founder of architecture and interior design firm unTag.

Even on a shoe-string budget, it is possible to transform a lacklustre terrace into a luxurious lounge. Perched on the 15th floor of a Mumbai highrise, the White Blue Nest is proof. Designed for a city dweller constantly on the go, this 400-square-foot terrace was envisioned as a space where the homeowner could return to to disconnect from the urban cacophony. The end result was an invigorating blue-and-white oasis built using a sustainable approach. Here are a few tips on how you can integrate this approach when designing your own terrace:

Layers of blue bring in colours of the ocean while the flooring is reminiscent of Santorini's paved stone walkways.

Yash Prabhu, Srivibhu Viraj

1. Design around a theme

A winning theme lays the groundwork for your terrace makeover. It can be bold, bright, cheerful and or soothing with a garden-like vibe. When designing this terrace, Gauri and studio co-founder Tejesh Patil wanted to represent the feel of sandy beaches and the deep blue hues of the Arabian Sea along Mumbai's coast. "This quaint terrace, is perennially blooming with various seasonal flowers, alongside a tropical green palette, while creating a microclimate of its own," says Tejesh. 

The terrace is interspersed with bright, seasonal flowers such as bougainvillea, champa (plumeria), heliconias, and butterfly pea flowers. The Moroccan patterned backsplash and refurbished swing add character to the space.

Yash Prabhu, Srivibhu Viraj

Also read: 5 balcony design ideas to recreate in your home

2. Choose sustainable, local materials

When planning your design, select low-maintenance flooring, which is sustainable and weather-proof. Opt for cane, wicker and similar materials that don’t have a high carbon footprint.

“We have used Indian Shahabad stone, an extremely cost-effective hardy stone, as one of the main elements of design. It also adds a layer of robustness and longevity. For making the built-in seat we used white terrazzo with chips of Indian white marble. An ornately crafted washbasin niche and an upcycled jhoola add subtle glamour,” says Tejesh.

Vibrant cushions complement the bold, patterned tiles, plant holders, and table.

Yash Prabhu, Srivibhu Viraj

Also read: 3 Low-Maintenance Houseplants That Are Perfect For Newbie Plant Parents

3. Connect with nature

Give your terrace the feel of a green sanctuary and embrace nature's beauty and intricacies. A bird-house, waterbody, or planters where dramatic foliage takes over manicured hedges will do the trick. The miniature urban oasis displayed here hosts the neighbouring avifauna, who fly in for water and shade. One can sight kingfishers, kites, sunbirds, bulbuls and more in this bio-diverse urban nest. The terrace also offers the best views of the migratory wetland birds like black cormorants flying in flocks every evening.

A colourful rug and antique lantern add visual interest and coziness to the terrace.

Yash Prabhu, Srivibhu Viraj

According to Gauri, the terrace is a landscape of transformations, constantly adapting, and pleasantly surprising visitors every day, every week, and every season. It's been a collaborative journey towards weaving this urban nest with their client, where they've created an exemplar of how humans and nature can co-exist amiably, even in an urban setting.

Overall the mood of this Mumbai terrace has been set to a very bohemian space which could transform from a contemplative individualistic space to an outdoorsy party pad. An impressive project executed on a tight budget, with no high-end materials or finishes.

Also read: Kunal Maniar designs a sustainable terrace garden in a Mumbai high rise