How to Design Rooftop Spaces

As more and more people move to urban centers, rooftop spaces have become increasingly popular as spots for gathering and relaxing. When treated like an outdoor “room,” rooftop terraces and patios are an elegant extension of an interior space. But because of exposure to wind, creating a functional, beautiful design for a rooftop is tricky.

When designing for a rooftop space, you’ll want to keep these things in mind.

How do you decorate a rooftop terrace?

When designing for a rooftop space or looking for rooftop furniture ideas, you’ll want to keep these key things in mind. It’s important to understand your rooftop’s individual requirements before planning your terrace decor. Below are some essential tips for what you can do with a rooftop terrace and deck.


Have you included elements that act as barriers against the wind? A pergola fixed over the space will offer some protection for rooftop furniture and planters (and also the plants in them, by preventing wind scorch), by changing the wind’s direction, so that the full force of any gust doesn’t hit the space head-on. For vertical gardens, a trellis will help keep plants fixed in place.


Rooftop furniture and decorative elements that have significant weight are better able to withstand the onslaught of wind. A chair that weighs 15 to 20 pounds, for example, might shift a bit as the wind blows, but it’s unlikely to achieve liftoff. Rooftop terrace, patio or deck furniture with aluminum frames is the lightest, and is generally not suitable for outdoor designs where wind is a concern. Stainless steel is a better choice, and wood, with its natural density, is the best option for rooftop patios designs and terraces. Or try a combination of wood and steel, like this weighty yet sophisticated bench.


While some rooftop furniture—especially benches and tables—can be bolted down, fixing chairs in place isn’t the best design approach. People come in all shapes and sizes and like to adjust their chairs for optimal leg room, or to stay within arm’s reach of side tables. They may also need to move their chairs to suit different types of gatherings. Again, stick with heavyweight frames for chairs, and you won’t need to bolt them down.

Rooftop terraces and patios are an elegant extension of an interior space. When choosing outdoor furniture for rooftop decks, patios and terraces ensure they are rated for all kinds of inclement weather.

Air Flow

Besides weight, lack of air flow is the biggest reason why outdoor furniture gets picked up and strewn across a yard or street during heavy wind. A bench, chair, or rooftop bar furniture such as stools with a slatted back and seat, mesh sling or with open sides, allows the wind to pass through the object, rather than buffeting it.

Outdoor Readiness

For maximum protection in a windy environment, choose outdoor furniture with frames, fabric, and cushion foams that are rated for outdoor use; this isn’t just for safeguarding against the wind, but also for protection from sunlight, rain, and snow. Some examples of shade structures include rooftop pergolas, cabanas or canopies. If the cushions don’t come with ties, ask the manufacturer to add them. It may cost a little extra, but it’s an investment you’ll be grateful you made when your neighbors are chasing their chair pads down the block in the next storm, while yours stay put.