How to decorate a balcony or small outdoor space
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony in your inner city apartment, you’ll want to create a space that will allow you to get the most out of your coveted outdoor area--no matter how small it may be. Think of it like a bonus room you can use during the warm summer months. Dining en plein air, enjoying a coffee in the fresh air, a glass of wine at sunset...the possibilities for your balcony are endless! So get rid of that lopsided lawn chair, sweep off the dirt and debris, and get ready to create the outdoor sanctuary of your dreams.
Before you begin, it’s important to decide how you actually want to use your balcony. Do you want a cosy reading nook, or a place to entertain friends? If you want a multipurpose space, you might need to get creative and build or find adjustable furniture pieces that can be moved around, depending on what you want to achieve. If you want to seat more than just one or two people, consider using a long bench that takes up the length of the balcony, and add cushions for comfort. Look into buying storage benches so that you can keep items outside without worrying about weather conditions, or build your own from stackable storage crates if you’re on a budget. If you're feeling really creative, try installing a swing (note that this can only be done on certain types of balconies--you might want to double check with someone that the overhang is safe).
Entertaining en plein air
Remember that almost anything can be a table if you get creative--throw a tablecloth over an old moving box if you’re in a pinch. It might be more beneficial in the long run to invest in a lounge seating space where a small table could easily be added if needed, rather than taking up most of the space with a dining set. That way, you always have somewhere comfortable to sit outside, and if you want to eat, you can rearrange easily. Consider purchasing small garden stools, which could be used either as additional seating or as end tables on which to set your cup of coffee. Alternatively, a bar table and stools add a little height to the balcony without taking up too much space. For balconies that are too narrow to fit a table and chairs, you can buy or build a bar top that attaches to your balcony’s railings, and can easily be flipped out of the way. If you prefer to keep your balcony a private sanctuary, you could hang a hammock or a swinging chair (as long as the structure of your balcony allows for it). An outdoor beanbag is another comfy option for those wanting to create the perfect nook for quiet meditation.
Cultivate a private oasis
Plants can beautify a small space, and there are many which are perfectly suited to balconies. Invest in some planter boxes and plant some flowers that love lots of sunlight and don't require extensive care. Alpine flowers do well, or Impatiens will add bright pops of colour. An herb garden can make your balcony smell enticing, and herbs like lavendar look beautiful, too. Some hanging or climbing plants, such as vines, ivy, or jasmine, could even add a bit of privacy. You could also purchase a privacy screen to make your balcony more intimate without blocking sunlight. If you’re more DIY inclined, attaching a shower curtain rod on the ceiling and hanging a thin curtain could also do the trick (again, check the architectural integrity of your balcony before drilling into anything).
Light it up
During long summer days, sometimes the sun can shine too brightly onto your balcony, and you'll want to invest in some type of shading system to keep the space cool during the day. Roll-up shades are easy to find and not too complicated to install, but if you're unsure then you can always get an outdoor umbrella and use that instead. In the evening, using outdoor LED lights will allow you to enjoy your balcony even after the sun sets. String lights aren’t just for the holidays--warm fairy lights can decorate your balcony year round and add to the cosy vibe of your outdoor space. You can find solar powered outdoor lamps, too, to cut down on electrical costs. Lanterns and candles also add cosiness to a cool summer evening, and citronella candles will help keep the mosquitoes away. Lighting options such as these will ensure you get the most use out of your balcony.
Adding textiles such as small outdoor rugs or decorative pillows will ensure that your outdoor space reflects your personal style, and will transform a hard concrete balcony into a comfortable sanctuary. Treat the space almost like you would a living room--add a rug, soft pillows, and decorative items that give the space a personal touch. You want it to be a place you actually feel comfortable in, and want to spend time in! Make sure you choose durable fabrics that won’t mildew if they get wet or fade if left in the sun. Don’t be afraid to play with bright colors--in an outdoor space, bold prints and patterns will pop and bring a bit of brightness to a gray day.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time creating an enjoyable outdoor space. A balcony is the perfect place to play with style and creative DIY solutions. A storage crate, a couple of cushions, some leftover Christmas lights, and a plant could be all you need to make your balcony the perfect spot to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Read more about interior decorating and creative design solutions, and if you’re looking for an apartment with a spacious balcony for you to make your own, check out the apartments we have available to buy below!