Tips for Making The Most Of A Small Balcony

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A balcony can become a valuable, cherished outdoor living space especially if you’re in high-density housing like an apartment building. Even with spectacular views, however, amazing balconies don’t just happen by themselves. 

A little work is needed to develop a livable, appealing area to which you’d be proud to welcome friends and want to spend a lot of time. Some homeowners currently use theirs as a storage zone for broken furniture or dying houseplants; for others, it’s simply a spot for drying laundry. 

Whatever the case for you, these tips could help with turning a forgotten area into a fun, relaxing hangout for quiet time or entertaining.

Carefully plan furnishings

It almost goes without saying that choice of furnishings is instrumental in making space. There might be usage rules but in many cases, you might have a good deal of freedom on utilization. Review how you want to use it and work from there: 

  • Is it to be a place of relaxation, barbecuing, socializing, or something else? 
  • Is the aesthetic to be modern, nature-inspired, or rustic? 

Wooden furnishings provide a natural look while lightweight, painted bistro furniture creates a relaxed approach and can be conveniently folded away. Specially designed shelves that can be attached to railings can be used to hold planters, drinks, and other items. Throws, pillows, rugs, and lighting can add comfort as well as visual appeal.

Seating doesn’t have to be limited to chairs; consider benches, cushions, stools, poufs, and even feature pieces like a hammock or an egg chair. Furniture with additional functions, like in-built storage in a chair, offers a winning solution for space-constrained areas. For those with pets, synthetic turf and safety fencing can turn a drab concrete zone into a relaxing play area for a dog or cat. For kids, why not consider a kid-sized play-pool?

Vertical privacy barriers

Balconies are designed to be open zones with unimpeded views, but in reality, they can be transformed into enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. So what can homeowners who want a touch of privacy? 

The solution is to add some barriers to provide shade when and where it’s needed. It can also help create a more enclosed, secluded quarter with more privacy much like an urban oasis. Use privacy screens and explore different materials like wood or bamboo for a more natural touch. Ledges can be installed on top of walls or balustrades to extend coverage. 

A row of tall pot plants or a planter wall could be used instead of a screen. Finally, solid fabric screens and fabric canopies – or even patio umbrellas – provide inexpensive solutions for those looking to shield the space from wind, sun, and the sight of neighbors.

Flooring and plants

Finally, don’t overlook how much flooring, plants and accessories like wind chimes can enhance things. Most apartment balconies come with a rather bland concrete floor. Additionally, adding a bit of greenery can counter the sterility and bring a sense of nature. For flooring, consider interlocking deck tiles, which are easy to install and remove. 

Another inexpensive option is to paint over concrete with stenciling to imitate the look of premium tiles. Other options include floor tiles, layered rugs, and other flooring materials rated for outdoor usage. 

Vertical plant stands with multiple levels of shelving are ideal, and they can also be used to create barriers or to spruce up a blank wall. Consider the color and materials of your plant pots, and choose a variety of plants or herbs, from climbers and ferns to flowers and cacti, to generate interest.

Final thoughts

Those who have a small balcony can’t build out and add footage, but they can certainly significantly enhance its value and functionality. In high-rises with limited footage, making the most of a forgotten outdoor zone could increase enjoyment and value. 

Furnishings is an obvious starting point, but adding barriers can also truly transform the spot. Residents can create a place of relaxation or socialization, a place for kids or dogs, or even a plant-filled oasis. With a little bit of work, anyone can turn a boring balcony into an irresistible outdoor retreat and expand the livable footage of their apartment.

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