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small balcony

Although your apartment balcony is a small space, it’s still part of your home. Creating a livable, functional space that reflects your personality and adds a bit of flair to your home is simple when you follow these tips for creating an outdoor space that’s stylish, tranquil, and useful.

Start With the Floor

Balcony floors are generally crafted from wood planks or cement slabs which, depending on the age of your building, may be outdated or beginning to show their age. No matter the flooring material, it’s easily updated with a few simple changes.

On the Cheap

shutterstock_478926565

If your outdoor decorating budget is small, consider an outdoor rug. Outdoor rugs come in different sizes ranging from 2 x 3 feet for a smaller space to 8 x 10 feet; outdoor rugs are found in several visually intriguing shapes including rectangles, squares, and circles.

Choosing a rug depends on the space you have and the style you want. Before shopping, you’ll need to measure your balcony floor from end to end. This will help you figure what size and shape rug will fit the space. If you’re not sure what shape you want, cut butcher paper into the size and shape you prefer and lay it out to see if it fits.

Go all Out

kontiki interlocking wood deck tiles

Kontiki Interlocking Wood Deck Tiles SKU 10079544

If you’re looking to completely cover existing flooring, deck tiles are a great option. Tiles range from a couple of dollars per square foot to around $50 per square foot. Choose from neutral tones in wood or stone, or vibrant red, green, or blue decking for added personality.

Choosing deck tiles depends on what type of decor you want on your balcony. The crisp, clean lines of tile and wood pair well with modern furniture and accents, while rubber tiles in a bright color bring whimsy to your outdoor space. A warm wood tile or flat-pebble tile yield a rustic feel.

Take a Seat

table and chair on balcony

Picking seating for your small balcony can be tricky with such limited space. Luckily, the options are nearly endless when it comes to outdoor furniture.

On the Cheap

all benches

Glo Dea Benches from left to right: SKU 15040899; SKU 1504090; SKU 15040895

 

Budget-conscious choices include a small bench or single chairs. Two chairs or one 5-foot bench provide seating for two or three people. For a more relaxed atmosphere, consider Adirondack chairs with fluffy cushions or a chaise lounge. Rocking chairs with a cute side table help create an easy escape from your busy lifestyle.

Go all Out

For a more polished look, opt for an outdoor bistro or pub dining set. Bistro sets typically include two smaller chairs and a circle table and pub sets are smaller, high-top rectanglular tables with two chairs. Either allow for dining, entertaining, or relaxing with a glass of your favorite beverage.

Bring in Color

kontiki deck tiles

Any living space wouldn’t be complete without your favorite color. Applied in the right way, color can liven up any outdoor space.

On the Cheap

Incorporating color doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A quirky windchime or a vibrant pillow with a one-of-a-kind wall hanging from a nearby flea market add flair and personality to your space. For a bolder statement, consider using curtains or heavy fabric to create panels in front of or behind your balcony railings. Not only would you gain more privacy, but you’d also be a trendsetter in your building.

Go all Out

Privacy screens are a fantastic way to showcase your style while serving a purpose. Commonly, screens are accordion style and are easily stored. They vary widely in design and color options. Another way to bring cohesion to your balcony design is through textiles. Throw blankets and pillows, seat and bench cushions, placemats, and even an outdoor rug are all wonderful options for bringing color into your space.

Use That Space

Considering most balconies are about as big as a closet, getting the most out of your space is imperative. There are many options to help you make the best of such a limited area.

On the Cheap

Save money by converting common storage containers into seating. Garden boxes, usually meant to hold tools and outdoor toys, are easily converted into a bench by placing a cushion and a few throw pillows on the top. Repurpose wicker ottomans or containers into end tables or coffee tables for a cute yet functional accent.

Keep clutter down by hanging a basket or flexible planter from the wall. Store books, magazines, or other tools inside.

Go all Out

Instead of using typical outdoor furniture, think about choosing foldable options that are easily stored when you need a little extra space. Slingback chairs are nice seating choices that are both comfortable and space-saving. Fold-up magazine racks or tables are another way to get the most out of your balcony area without cramming a lot into the small space.

Make it Green

plants on balcony

Image via Flickr by Upupa4me

Any outdoor space wouldn’t be complete without some type of greenery or flowers. In addition to aesthetic beauty, plants and flowers offer many health benefits to their caretakers. It’s commonly believed that gardening increases feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine while helping lower stress hormones in the body.

On the Cheap

house plants

Just about any store you shop at will have houseplants for sale. Outfitting your balcony with a few hardy, easy-to-care for plants is a low-cost option for adding greenery. If houseplants aren’t up your alley, an inexpensive planter box, some potting soil, and a packet of wildflower seed will yield a colorful focal point on your balcony throughout the warmer months.

Go all Out

vertical garden

Instead of going small with plants or flowers, why not take your balcony gardening to the next level with a vertical garden? Grow herbs in small pots attached to the wall or in the spaces between boards in an upcycled pallet. Many vegetables grow well climbing up a trellis, or even around balcony railings.

Don’t have a green thumb? No sweat! Check out Green Smart Decor’s no-maintenance artificial leaf panels. Not only do you never have to worry about watering or pruning them, but they offer a natural aesthetic and the added bonus of acting as a privacy screen.

leaf lattice screen

 

Even with limited room, creating a peaceful outdoor space on your apartment balcony is easy. You can have an upscale, sleek design or a whimsical, rustic look. It’s all up to you!

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.