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Those with small balconies can be both delighted and frustrated by the space. It can be a glorious respite from the indoors, but it can also be so small that fitting typical outdoor furniture into the space can be a challenge. But no matter the size of the tiny balcony, there are options for those who want to make it more than just a space that might happen to hold a grill.

Brighten up with small balcony designs

Don’t just put a few chairs out there and call it quits. Take your time, explore the space, decide what might fit and what you really want to turn your outdoor room into. Do you want to relax there? Have a little party outside? Brighten it up with plants and flowers? These balcony design ideas can transform your space into a lovely extension of your living area, no matter how small it might be.

For the gardener in you

If you see that outdoor space as a good reason to start a garden, you’re in luck! Most vegetables and fruits do very well in containers, and you can probably fit many of those onto your balcony. Consider whether your balcony gets a lot of sun; if it is shaded, opt for plants that thrive in low light. Full sun means many more options. Sturdy benches along the balcony railing can be a great place to keep your containers, and you can store all the little things — like trowels and watering cans — below the plants.

The outdoor man-cave

Invest in a grill that fits in one corner of your balcony, get a few sturdy stools for the other side and a cooler for those times when you simply must have an ice-cold brew, and invite your buddies to hang on the balcony while you fry up the burgers. You can keep the party going late into the night with a lamp rated for outdoor use, a few citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes away and a radio to listen to the big game.

Keeping it cozy

Not into barbecues or flowers? You can have a cozy retreat that inspires you to relax, read, and enjoy the sounds of nature. Choose a deep bench or couch that suits your space. Make sure it is something you can really sink into and get comfortable in. Put a comfy outdoor rug under your feet, a string of lights for illumination and a small table for the odds and ends that will accumulate in your space. Add an umbrella or other outdoor shade if you need it, and go enjoy!

Create a natural habitat

Do you love the birds that sing from your balcony railing? How about those squirrels that come by to explore? Create a little home for them by adding elements to your balcony that say they are welcome. A wide birdbath in one corner can give flying friends something to enjoy, as can the squirrel-proof feeders on each post. Allow the squirrels to get their share with feeders just for them. Planting flowers in containers can draw the industrious bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds.

But before you do…

Before you take the plunge into balcony gorgeousness, check with your landlord to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules with your design plans. Check your lease carefully, and if you are in doubt, run the idea by your landlord before you fire up that grill or fill up those bird feeders.

 

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.