The ático: How to decorate your rooftop terrace in style

Sun, sea and sand – three of the elements that add extra emphasis to the breathtaking views enjoyed in Barcelona. It’s, therefore, no wonder that when it comes to sought-after real estate properties, places of high altitude, such as high-rise apartments where the views are the protagonists, are some of the most popular in the city.

Complementing these privileged settings (known as an ‘ático’ in Spain, similar to a penthouse) are spacious terraces. These allow the inhabitants of an ático not only additional legroom, but fresh air for their high-rise lifestyle, as well as a deluxe space to enjoy the surrounding views (like the looming Tibidabo Mountain or the glittering Mediterranean Sea) in style.

And just like the interiors, that outside space can be privy to various decorations to make it all the more comfortable and desirable.

Let’s see some of the most well-known options for designing and decorating a rooftop/penthouse terrace in style.

Fancy furnishings

You may find that the interior spaces of your high-rise ático influence the vibe and style of your outdoor space. Think how wrought-iron, bistro-style furniture will complement a Victorian-style property, for example.

If a single terrace is all you have in terms of outdoor space, you may want to think about dividing it into various areas for seating/lounging, dining, entertaining, etc. Consider a garden set suited for intimate gatherings as a dining area, a sofa and completing chairs surrounding a coffee table to socialise pre- or post-dinner, a few loungers for quietly relaxing under the Barcelona sun on weekends, etc.

TIP: Similar to your ático interiors, so will your exterior terrace require cosy touches like cushions, rugs and throws. These additions make your seating areas more comfortable and your décor more welcoming.

A bar area

You don’t need to venture out to one of Barcelona’s numerous restaurants and cocktail bars. There’s something undeniably appealing about enjoying a drink with good company at home, especially if it’s on a spacious terrace amidst a sea of skyscrapers.

Mobile serving carts, cocktail tables, and breakfast bars with accompanying stools can all add extra functionality and style to your outdoor space. Just ensure your bar’s design visually flows with that of the other furnishings and decorations.

Green touches

Just because you’re multiple storeys off the ground doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Mother Nature’s handiwork on your high-rise terrace. After all, plants and flowers add colour, texture, shade and freshness to any space.

Just remember that, when it comes to rooftop spaces, you should consider plants that are durable. As the majority of your terrace will be exposed to the elements, plants suitable for this setting will have to be fairly sturdy and wind tolerant.

Relaxing shade

Socialising and relaxing in the hot Barcelona sun will only be enjoyable for so long before some decent shade is required. However, by adding a covered awning, a large umbrella, covered pergola or canopy to your outdoor terrace, you and your companions will be able to enjoy your outdoor paradise atop the urban oasis for much longer.

A lighting scheme

 If you plan on using your ático terrace after sunset, you’re going to require some help on the lighting front. Fortunately, built-in architectural lighting and outdoor wall lights are perfect for exterior spaces and available in a multitude of styles to complement your furnishings.

Ensure to incorporate the three basic types of lighting for a proper functional outdoor space:

  • ambient (achieved through hanging lights, post lights and wall fittings),
  • task (pathway lights, deck- and security lights),
  • and accent (such as spotlights).

TIP: Overhead lighting directly above the dining table might prove to be too glaring for your dinner guests. For dining al fresco, opt for outdoor wall lights with a dimmer that can be dimmed down for dining and relaxing.

A source of heat

 Even Barcelona can be prone to cool weather, especially with outdoor high-rise dwellings. Make sure your al fresco evening isn’t spoiled by dropping temperatures by including patio heaters, chimineas, fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. These options are perfect for mimicking the comfort of an indoor living room while also making for great outdoor focal features.

TIP: For safety reasons, keep those heat sources away from foliage and the fabrics of your furnishings.

A Jacuzzi or hot tub

Soaking in a bubbling outdoor hot tub is one of life’s great pleasures, so why not add it to your high-rise paradise? But keep in mind that location is vital.

Avoid leaving all sides of your hot tub exposed. Instead, use your terrace’s walls and railings to hide multiple sides, then mask what remains with a wooden enclosure. And since that soaking spot will be prone to spills and splatters, ensure it’s located ample space away from your terrace’s dining area.

Your hot tub can also become a beautiful focal point on your terrace, with decorations like vegetation, stone steps and lighting fixtures adding to its aesthetics.

A heavenly swimming spot

In your high-rise ático, you are literally between heaven and earth. So why not up the luxury factor with a pool for cooling off?

City apartments with built-in swimming pools are nothing new, and probably the most impressive of all pools is the infinity pool, which produces a visual effect of water extending into the horizon and “vanishing” into infinity as the water flows over the rim.

TIP: Add adjustable canopy sails above your rooftop pool for additional shading.

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