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These days, more than ever before, anyone who has a home with a garden or a bright terrace is extremely lucky… Unfortunately, however, even these pleasant outdoor spaces are often quite small, especially in the big cities.
This is why it’s essential to know how to make the most of balconies, verandas and green areas, which – however small – can be turned into a little paradise to relax and enjoy life in. All it takes are a few simple ideas: join us to take a look at three ways to get the best out of our outdoor areas!
To create practical, inviting outdoor areas, it’s essential to choose furnishings and supports of the right size: too many elements or solutions that are too large would turn gardens or terraces into even narrower, more claustrophobic environments, making it more difficult to move around and really enjoy the space available. As regards furnishings, it’s important to think of our actual needs and the activities we’ll be carrying out, in order to make sure we have everything we need to perform them in comfort. So you might like to choose wrought iron or wooden tables, rocking chairs, pouffes in vibrant colours and antique pieces, ideal for creating elegant, stylish areas to relax in. DIY enthusiasts might like to try building a sofa using some old wooden pallets and maxi cushions, or some fun stools and tables from crates for fruit and wine, ideal for enjoying breakfast as you might do outside your favourite café. If you’re not a sunbathing fan, or if you prefer to snooze in the shade, you’ll need a gazebo, a sunshade or a little roof. To really make the most of outdoor areas, however, it’s essential to keep practical considerations in mind too: to organise an alfresco lunch, invite friends over or tinker around in the garden, our outdoor areas must be both versatile and safe, so the flooring and furniture must be not only attractive and comfortable, but also practical to clean, and above all resistant.
If you have a large garden, developing green fingers is almost a moral obligation; but even if you only have a couple of square metres to potter around in, you can still choose to bring a colourful touch of cheer by creating a little garden area, even with pot plants. On a balcony, for instance, you can plant some fragrant flowers, or herbs to use in the kitchen – or even a bonsai or a cactus or two. If you’re short on space on the ground, there are always the walls, and fixing some supports and shelves to them can be a great idea for creating an original little green corner. Plants are not the only elements you can use to embellish your terrace, however! Terracotta pots, dream catchers, colourful drapes and little statues are perfect for bringing an instantly inviting touch, as well as providing a pleasant memory, perhaps of your last exotic holiday. Lighting also has an important role to play: LED spotlights, little lights along the railing, lanterns and candles, perhaps scented, are a must for enjoying the outdoors even after dusk, and to create a pleasant atmosphere. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, because you don’t want to be tacky! Balance is the key to creating a pleasant setting you won’t tire of, so avoid going over the top with colours, accessories and furnishing elements.
Without a doubt, the key to outdoor projects is that they must be practical. A small number of functional furnishing elements and resistant materials also makes the everyday maintenance of our outdoor areas simpler and more pleasant. Unlike other natural materials, such as wood and stone, which require frequent attention and treatments, porcelain stoneware is an ideal solution for gardens, terraces and outdoor areas in both residential and commercial settings, because it’s frost-proof and slip-resistant, does not absorb water and is resistant to weather and sunlight, so it remains unaltered and colour-fast over time. In addition, ceramic surfaces are inert, stain-resistant and unaffected by chemicals, which makes them extremely practical to clean. Quality ceramic tiles are also resistant to weight, impact and scratches, so your pets’ paws or your clumsy DIY efforts will no longer be a problem!
There’s no reason to sacrifice style, though! Porcelain stoneware surfaces are able to perfectly mimic any natural material, so they can be used for all types of furnishing projects, even outdoors. The Marca Corona ranges include numerous “coordinated” collections, suitable for use both outdoors and indoors, thanks to their textured finish. The most versatile and modern of these undoubtedly include the stone-effect surfaces of Arkistone, Stonecloud and Encode, as well as the elegant wood effect of Lagom.
The real outdoor specialist, however, is Vie della Pietra, a porcelain stoneware collection dedicated exclusively to outdoor areas. Created to bring an authentic yet sophisticated touch to alfresco areas, the Vie della Pietra series comprises 7 different patterns, each one inspired by a different type of natural stone, and is available in two small modular sizes, ideal both for enhancing large outdoor areas and for bringing a stylish personal touch to smaller settings.
The balanced, versatile colour range is perfectly suited not only to classic styles, but also modern settings with minimal, colourful or exotic furnishings. The new Marca Corona floors are perfect for bringing a contemporary, incredibly trendy touch to outdoor areas. For more challenging residential and commercial projects, Vie della Pietra is also available in the 20 mm HiThick version, which guarantees top performance in terms of resistance.
The HiThick outdoor range also includes numerous other Marca Corona collections: these stoneware floors are designed to embellish household interiors, but are also available in the thicker version for complete projects where maximum continuity is required between indoor and outdoor areas. These surfaces, with a stone, concrete and wood effect, are available in several large sizes and numerous special trims, to meet all kinds of project requirements.