Homes are no longer rooms for just sleeping, eating or relaxing after a long day at work. Houses have turned into a multifunctional space for 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and we ought to maintain everything at home.
People need fresh air and a bit of sunlight every day for healthy living. Human beings cannot just survive and stay happy confined within four walls. Therefore, our home needs some breathing space like a veranda, balcony, patio, deck, terrace or courtyard.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, balconies across Dhaka were mostly used for laundry, drying clothes or as storage. However, now, the situation demands a proper outdoor space inside homes.
We need to interact with the outdoor environment from within our homes. For city-dwellers, veranda, balcony or terrace has become the new platform to entertain themselves during this stressful period.
For this, one can easily redecorate the veranda according to his or her choice, which can have a positive impact on health.
A light, weather-resistant, low-height furniture can be placed in verandas to simply sit down and enjoy the afternoon sky or rain. Those who love to read books can place an armchair in the balcony to read under natural light. Decorating a tea corner with colourful rugs and cushions can be helpful for members of the house to spend time together and enjoy the openness of nature.
One couple - Farah and Mabruk, both architects, designed and created their elegant, yet simple, balcony and named it "veranda bilash". In an interview with The Business Standard, Farah said, "Sculptures, paintings, and trendy decors may enhance the richness of the balcony corner. Fairy lights can be set to make a dramatic backdrop. Small music systems and soothing lamp shades will allow one to spend 'me-time' there."
You can even fix a hammock and relax there while calm music plays in the background. Traditional bamboo chick curtain can be an interesting treatment for those who want privacy.
Fitness enthusiasts can create a fitness corner in the balcony or terrace as well. Equipment like yoga matt, kettlebells, dumbbells occupy very little space; assembled equipment surrounded by nice potted plants can set the perfect mood for yoga and meditation in an aesthetic environment. A portable "jali" screen can also be added if the corner needs to be separated from the rest of the balcony.
Your veranda can be converted into a play zone for kids. Covering the floor with carpet can allow children to play around in the balcony with toys or draw pictures. You can turn a portion of the wall into their canvas or frame. Children can pass a playful time on a hanging swing as well. A corner can be transformed into a whimsy reading nook for them using wooden folds to inspire learning.
Now just might be the right time to turn your terrace into a garden. Growing vegetables in your balcony might turn out to be fun in this situation. You can enjoy evening snacks surrounded by a small, lush garden. You might feel like you are in a blooming garden in your home and feel connected to the outside world. Adding an artificial layer of grass on the floor can further enhance the feeling and also make the area look vibrant.
Social interaction from balcony to balcony is an old practice in our city. Somehow, this culture seems to have faded away with the arrival of multiplex apartment buildings. Now, most of us barely know our neighbours.
It is high time we start reviving the old practice and interacting with others while maintaining social distance. Hence, we can use our verandas or terraces as a medium to exchange our thoughts with others. So, why not try to create your own open space by this week!