Home interior decor tips: Here’s how to design a rooftop terrace

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We all love our terrace house in the summer, monsoon and even winters since terraces serve as a great space to unwind, relax or rejoice and nothing better than the view of plants cascading, waking to the sound of chirping of birds, sipping hot cup of tea while watching sunset or sunrise from a rooftop. Rooftop terrace can be one of the most exciting spaces of any habitable space – be it residence, offices or cafe – as it can enable interaction with the world out there, enable the user to step out of artificial and controlled ambience and experience the unrestrained unlike internal spaces that are inward looking.

Designing a rooftop terrace requires careful drafting and planning as it is a place that is exposed to sunlight the year round. Since having a rooftop deck also gives you a better view of the city or your surroundings, adding some patio furniture makes the space more comfortable to easily host some great parties or meetings on your rooftop and interior decor experts insist that making one such rooftop on each building adds up to amenities that add more value to both project developers and homeowners.

Factors to consider while designing a rooftop terrace

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Hetal Jujare, Interior Designer and Founder of Aarcs – Interior Design Studio, listed 3 important factors which are considered while designing a rooftop terrace:

1. Wind – This needs to be filtered by using trellis of some description to protect the plants from wind scorch and from being blown away. Planters should be secured.

2. Weight – A structural survey should be carried out to see if the roof terrace is strong enough to support the weight of plants, soil etc.

3. Water – An irrigation system is essential. Forged furniture would look amazing in combination with gardens and plants in pots. 

Types of rooftop terrace

With seasons changing a year long, one must select the purpose of the rooftop terrace which would help one decide from 9 various types of rooftop terrace:

1. Tempered glass rooftop terrace (commercial spaces/restaurants) – A panel of tinted or frosted tempered glass is the right choice for those who want a bit of shade while warding off the rain.

2. Reed rooftop terrace (for restaurant/banquets/resorts/villas rooftop) – A solution that simply filters the light and at the same time, utilizing a sustainable natural material for the terracing roofing, then the choice is a reed -roofed variant.

3. Stretch fabric ceiling (commercial spaces/restaurants) – Stretch fabric is a light and summery roofing variant, which in comparison to the sunshade is also safe in some windier areas. An additional advantage of a sail as a terrace roof is its flexible suspension and its standalone concept.

4. Suspended steel structure (residential/commercial spaces) – Fixed framed steel with trellis like structure covers the terrace, adding a sleek, modern touch to the façade design. The combination of semi-open and fully covered sections on the roof ensures that the terrace has the ideal mix of light and shade.

5. Trellis rooftop (for restaurant/banquets/resorts/hospitably industry) – Poolside terrace has a timber trellis that provides shade from the afternoon sun, besides a glass canopy that protects the area from rain showers. Sighing the view of the pool with lush garden, it is the perfect design for a tropical house, poolside restaurants, beaches.

6. Awful awnings for rooftop (for restaurant/banquets) – With choice and as per requirement the covered awning on the rooftop terrace as a roofing solution is the right choice for all those who want everything. An awning can be extended if you need protection from the sun or rain and in perfect weather, you can simply let it retract and make yourself comfortable without a roof on the terrace.

7. Textile rooftop (residential/commercial spaces) – This is called as one of the extremely flexible variations of rooftop options certainly it can be defined as DIY solution to rooftop terrace ceiling. Why DIY? If you want to enjoy a bright sunny day with full portion of the sun, you simply remove the textile. On the other hand, if rain is to be expected, the textile can be stretched to cover the entire frame of the roof ceiling, and after the season, you can simply take off the fabric and wash them out which is re-usable hence making it a cheaper budgeted option for your pockets too.

8.Romantic rooftop (for restaurant/banquets) – It is a tested version called as a pergola-type covered with traditional roof shingles.

9. Multipurpose rooftop (residential/commercial spaces) – The rooftop terrace design with its multi-functional use for the owners of the building is considered as multi-purpose rooftop. This may have a seating zone, leisure zone, planting, playful games on terrace, open parties, events, get together, socialise, yoga zone, laughter zone, open gyms, etc. These are the above few activities which add up to the amenities to the owners of the building either residential or commercial for luxurious living within the surrounding. It is one of the most trending type of rooftop terrace.

Tips to design a rooftop terrace

Charu Gupta, Director of L’ Institute De Dessins (LIDD), advised, “To start with, write down all your requirements and make a rough sketch of your terrace. This helps visualising the space better. You have to consider a host of challenging issues such as load bearing, water system, sunshine, city conditions, plants, neighbours and more. Plants according to their moisture necessities, soil type, lighting necessities, and vital temperature range.”

She pointed out that the flooring should be attractive and skid free and keep in mind that the floor should not have water clogging while drainage should be proper along with water proofing. For lighting, she said that it should give a sense of security and avoid accidents such as steps. She said, “Lights can create silhouettes, shadows, surfaces or depth. Indirect lighting is usually the most comfortable, as it avoids hard shadows. Lights nestled among the green plants look magical at night. The bulbs should not touch the plant as they hurt plants. Gazebos are the best accessory, one can set up a barbeque section or a bar section in it. If you are short of space convert the same with four pillars.”

Peaceful sounds of running water can be a big help in times of stress hence, she suggested fountains as they bring so much joy, enjoyment, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. “A fire pit provides warmth, light, a cooking source, and ambiance. People are drawn to the campfire-like atmosphere and before you know it, there will be story-telling and laughter. Furniture should stand weather conditions and changes. Bamboo, cane, wrought iron and wicker are good options. Swings, hammocks, futons, bar, bar be que stands, sofas dinning, day beds etc. depending on the space you have, are all suggested. Multipurpose storage cum seating for garden tools are also good choices,” Charu Gupta recommended.

Since layered pots save space and add charm, she highlighted, “Good quality terra cotta pots have better drainage than plastic ones. They give a rustic feel to the space. Multi-coloured flowers in these pots change the look. One can grow various vegetables ,fruits and herbs on the terrace in pots. If space is constraint opt for vertical plantation. Accentuate your terrace with lighting fixtures, mirrors, coloured lanterns, wall art, tree trunks, old canoes, glass bottles lights, wind chimes, bamboo sticks and screens for privacy. Colourful cushions, candles, bird baths and feeders, and hand painted pots add some colour. If you have a great view, do not obstruct it. Instead make it an essential element of the décor.”

According to Ria Singh, Lead Designer at Studio M, “The easiest process to revamping your terrace, without consulting an interior designing, is by first understanding the purpose of the space, whether you are going to be hosting your gang for beer pong, occasional reading club paired with tea brewing or even for your evening cardio. Once you know “why” you are doing, it sets the course for the rest of the designing. The next step would be to understand your style and curate a theme, if you’re slightly confused about your possible “interior style and taste”. Open your wardrobe and pick 5 pieces of clothing that screams your name. You already knew “Why” are you doing, now you know “What” are you doing so we can immediately dive into “How to”. Even the rooftop terrace needs a bit of sheltering for you to nestle in, irrespective your purpose and theme intended.”

She added, “Bamboo stack will serve the same purpose as a MS frame with creepers wrapped all over, a permeable fabric stretched over a frame or a retractable roof system. Setting a budget aside will help decide faster and clearly. Once you’re settled on the kind of the shelter system you want to go ahead with, consider the kind of outdoor seating you’d require. If it’s an arrangement of a coffee table and chairs, a deck seating or wicker sofa set. It would be recommended to avoid bulky outdoor furniture. The idea is to keep things light and breezy. The next step would be to crowd the terrace with as little or as many planters you like. It’s the easiest way of bringing the outside in. You can choose from arrangement of tall and medium sized plants, fibreglass container to grow consumable veggies, a neat stack of succulent plants, or all of the above.”

Ria Singh cautioned that one important thing to remember before going all out with plants is to acknowledge the structure load bearing capacity and avoid overloading. She said, “It’s always recommended to go for plants with pointy leaves or cactus that have minimize water loss. What can make or break the space is the use of ambience lighting, hang a light from a rattan, densely hung fairy lights, or some bamboo or power coated MS light fixture. You can always add wall sconce/wall lights on the running balcony or earth light close the planters that cast a mellow sheen on the typography of the plant. You’re almost done with revamping your terrace and all that is left is styling the space. You can throw paints here and there on a giant canvas and stack it against the wall, get a hold of a lot of frames and arrange them as you like. Get a couple or hoard a candle stands for a candle lit dinner evening with your friends or a bar console in case you’re a drink aficionado. Whatever you do, treat it an extended part of your personality, dress and accessorise it how you’d dress yourself and you can barely ever go wrong.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Hetal Jujare listed some tips on how do you design a rooftop terrace. These include:

Step-1- First and foremost go to the terrace and analyse the conditions and characteristics which you can find more relevant. Now let your imaginations be free, and you would now have an ample scope of design as per the requirements.

Step-2- Analyse what parts of your roof will be protected from the sun, and which is clearly located outdoors. If you are free to live in open, select from the above 9 various types of rooftop terrace. The tip in this step is that at the beginning of the arrangement of each element of your stay at outdoor is not violating sight; no obstacles which is of utmost necessity.

Step-3- Protection and security with fences on the parapet wall of rooftop terrace is one of the most important factors. It is an essential measure to be considered. You have several alternatives like completely cover with a dome or make a fence with a minimum height of one meter, because if it is smaller, it is not efficient enough to serve as a barrier.

Step-4- Install a shade if you want enclosure/partly shade/awnings/Pergolas. One must select from the above mentions and accordingly provide it and connect to the vendors for the estimates to decide the cost.

Step-5- Installation of floors and greens. Without plants terrace designing efforts are not viable. Select from the types of rooftop terrace plants and provision for plants specifying its space as per the direction of sun. This would lead the plants grow in its desired way to be efficient to produce O2 for betterment of healthy living.

Step-6- Choose desired outdoor furniture. Selection of furniture is to be made in accordance with the checks for long term and can endure strong winds, dust, sun, rain, etc. Selection of rooftop terrace furniture is done with considering weather changes and its purpose of use by the owners/guests.

Step-7- No roof terrace- Now a days is generally the most common type of rooftop terrace. One can select from the various types of rooftop terrace and with it one can decide the use of terrace with its function. Here one must select from Outdoor flooring options for Style and comfort.

Step-8- Personal touches with Wow Factor – This cannot be missed. It is an essential combination to select from Ttpes of outdoor lighting, material selections, colour combinations, style, shapes. Considering 7 elements of interior designing, you get what you like, with whom and for whom you feel identified.


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