The challenge of the season: to recreate a living room on the balcony and terrace, making the most of every centimeter and balancing creativity, Mediterranean inspirations and the unfailing practical spirit

In summer, domestic life moves to the open air and understanding how to furnish the terrace or balcony to transform it into an outdoor living room becomes a fundamental theme for enjoying your free time to the fullest.

What matters is being able to enjoy the pleasure of a delightful private outdoor area, which - especially for those who live in a big city - represents an escape from chaos, stress and traffic.

The ideal would be to be able to count on a green protective curtain: plants are unbeatable in filtering noise, as well as guaranteeing privacy and coolness, neutralizing polluting particles with their superpowers. Now, however, it's time to focus on the how to, understanding in practice how to furnish the terrace or balcony to make them neither more nor less than very pleasant open-air living rooms.

Mini size balcony: bistro table and profusion of plants

As interior architect Alice Truant points out, "whatever space is available – from the small balcony to the large veranda - the key to every outdoor area is the natural setting, to be created with care, selecting species suitable for the climatic-environmental situation and perhaps getting help in the first phase from an expert (it's worth it).

On a balcony in the city, I recommend recreating the luxuriant jungle urban effect, ideal for placing a beneficial distance from the noise and frenzy of the street.

All you need to do is equip the area with a colored bistro table (preferably foldable) surrounded by mini size stools and numerous pollution-resistant plants and at high summer temperatures.

Vases in light corten or plastic, tall and narrow in shape, are ideal, because they will allow the plants to grow upwards, without taking up too much surface area.

Consider equipping the balcony wall by creating shelves or hooks in anti-rust materials, fixing colored lanterns and climbing plants».

How to furnish the terrace in summer: separate functions and take care of privacy

"Those who are lucky enough to own a terrace will be able to expand the concept of livable space en plein air", comments Truant. «If, in fact, the secret on the balcony is surrounding a side table with a profusion of green and flowering plants, on the terrace it is good to outline functional areas.

The dining area can be shaded by a pergola or a wind-resistant umbrella, while a couple of lounge chairs can be placed on the sides of the terrace, creating a solarium complete with a shower corner and, if possible, a mini pool, with a choice of whirlpool or cold reaction tub.

The creation of green walls combined with lighting and irrigation systems is essential for a good performance of the terrace, especially for enjoying the outdoor space in urban contexts.

If the surface is large, leave room for linear vases and large elements such as handcrafted enamelled cachepots or the iconic ceramics of Caltagirone».

An extra idea? «Create a small aromatic garden with a Mediterranean flavour, planting fragrant herbs in large terracotta pots for use in the kitchen, from mint to rosemary.

Read also: Eating well and with style in Bolzano: the restaurant with a vertical garden by Chef Filippo Sinisgalli

Or if space permits, introduce a vintage ping-pong table or the classic table football onto the terrace, to enjoy tournaments and competitions between friends and family».

Design inspirations and recommended materials

The expert continues: «remember that atmospheric agents – the sun in primis – are unforgiving. It is forbidden to use interior furnishings on the balcony and terrace: they would end up ruined in a flash.

The nautical materials are good, for example the lightened corten steel, perfect for pots that do not make loads excessively heavy, as well as teak wood, resistant and very elegant.

Tables and seats in treated painted metals can be indicated for outdoor situations by the sea, as they are resistant to saltiness.

In the name of practicality, green light also for space-saving chairs and tables in the folding version or on wheels.

There are countless styles to inspire you to furnish balconies and terraces and they all speak of the Mediterranean. Inspiration terrace in Ibiza with hippie chic natural materials and neutral tones such as beige and rope; Greece inspiration with its iconic white and blue contrasts; Morocco inspiration with skilful plays of light and bright colors with warm and spicy tones.

And for those looking for a more Provençal and classic style, furnishing elements in wrought iron and wicker, with a vintage flavor, are sufficient. And as plants: roses, lavender and rosemary».