The term terrace originates from the Latin word terra that means earth. It refers to an outdoor area built on a raised platform. As they are located at the top of a building or residence, modern-day terraces serve a variety of purposes. They can be used as open gardens, which have become increasingly popular in urban areas. In some cases, they even house Jacuzzis or pools. The terrace is considered a place for relaxation at the end of a long tiring day, or even an area to exercise in the tranquillity that it offers. The space can be used at any time of the day or in any weather conditions, especially if it has an enclosed or shaded area.
Much like an atrium, porch or balcony, the terrace presents the opportunity to display one’s style and creativity. The choice of the right furniture, plants and fabrics are of utmost importance. Drapery can also be used to improve the aesthetics of the terrace in addition to the functional purpose it serves. On a sunny day, it can be used to offer shade from the heat or even as a means of privacy. When choosing drapery fabric for the terrace, a material that is fade and mildew resistant and is manufactured for outdoor use is the ideal choice.
Performance fabrics such as Sunbrella have vibrant colours that last for years. Sunbrella fabrics are stain-resistant, mildew-resistant, bleach cleanable and fade-resistant, making them ideal for use on the terrace or other outdoor areas.
Furnishing fabrics come in a wide variety, making the process of choosing the perfect one quite a daunting task. Commonly used home decor fabrics for the terrace include:
Woven fabrics: The material has a tight weave and can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays, is water-resistant and coated to resist mildew and rot. The tight weave does not allow for airflow as it traps heat into the area. They are durable and aesthetically-pleasing to the eye but come at a higher price range. Often, homeowners substitute them with less expensive outdoor fabric such as cotton or nylon- woven fabric, which are not as durable.
Shade cloth or shade netting: This fabric can either be woven or knitted. Mesh fabric blocks out the sun's rays and allows the breeze to pass-through. Even the densest shade netting does not trap heat like a tightly woven fabric. Due to their open weave, these materials are not waterproof because the holes that allow heat to escape also let in the rain.
Performance fabric: Sunbrella is an excellent choice for performance fabric for the outdoor as well as indoor areas. The fabric is water-resistant, making it ideal for curtains in outdoor areas such as the terrace, balcony, patio or garden. When used for window and shade treatments, they work well in any room, including those that have ample sunlight, as there is no risk of the fabric fading due to continuous exposure to the harsh light.
Several factors need to be considered when choosing upholstery fabric for the terrace or balcony seating. These include:
Performance: Before settling on a particular fabric, you need to consider its performance, including factors such as whether it’s ideal for the outdoors and able to resist intense amounts of heat and light. In general, engineered fabrics are much stronger than natural ones. Sunbrella fabric comes in jacquards and chunky neutrals that are not only durable but also fade-resistant.
Style: The right choice of fabric depends on the kind of ambience that you wish to create. If you want to create a light, flowy feel, then curtains or drapes are the best choices. The key is to pick out materials that are durable and do not require frequent replacement.
Outdoor blinds, patio shades, and outdoor curtains provide privacy and sun protection. They can be used creatively to achieve different looks and, in some cases, like with solar shades, one can regulate the privacy and sun protection to different levels.
Outdoor Curtains: They can be used to create a dreamy, romantic look as curtains allow light into the space and create a dappled effect but don’t provide continuous shade. When hung over the entrance to a veranda or pergola, they look elegant and bring in ample old-world charm. The best type of fabric for outdoor curtains is one that is fade-resistant and mildew-resistant and manufactured for outdoor use so that it doesn’t need frequent replacement.
Shades and Sails: They provide continuous shade by protecting the home from sun damage. Based on the thickness and weave of the fabric, the shades can either filter or completely block sunlight. The fabric can be installed over the patio like an awning or hung like a sail, by suspending it above the terrace like a canopy. Usually, sails and shade fabric are breathable, allowing wind and water to pass through it.
Outdoor Blinds: Much like outdoor curtains, blinds for the outdoors can be installed over the openings of a porch or pergola and can be raised or lowered to regulate the amount of sunlight. Some types of fabrics for outdoor blinds can even block UV rays.
The outdoor area is exposed to the natural elements, which is the reason most homeowners avoid using upholstery and drapery fabrics for the terrace. However, with the use of the best performance fabrics in the market, it’s possible to extend the home furnishing to the outdoor areas, including terraces. Sunbrella performance fabric is ideal for the sofa, stool or chair upholstery in the outdoors as well as the indoors as it offers comfort and durability. To elevate the look of the area further, you can make use of cushions, table covers or curtains. The versatile features of Sunbrella fabric such as being fade-resistant and stain-resistant make it an ideal choice for the terrace as well as other outdoor areas such as the balcony, garden, patio or poolside.