We’re all spending a lot of time at home these days. In the summertime, it’s a godsend to have a backyard. But if you live in an apartment, you might have to make do with a balcony. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an outdoor haven for working from home or evening relaxation. Follow these tips to make the most of your tiny patio and turn it into the perfect outdoor retreat.
1. Start with the Floor
Sprucing up the drab concrete floor of your balcony can do a lot to change the space. Visit your local international grocery store to find outdoor rugs for a reasonable price. Alternatively, you can buy deck tiles that snap together, or go an oddball route with something like AstroTurf. If you’re a fan of colorful patterns — and if you’re ready for a project — consider painting your concrete balcony floor using a stencil to give the illusion of tiles. (Make sure to check with your landlord before making any permanent changes.)
2. Get Creative to Save Space
When it comes to balconies, going wild with outdoor furniture can cost you precious space. You can avoid this pitfall with a rail bar. These bar tops attach to your balcony railing. You can purchase one online, or you could try constructing it yourself. If you decide to DIY, make sure it’s as solid as a rock and has a sturdy backing so you don’t send mojitos flying to the street below.
Consider furniture that doubles as storage, like an outdoor bench that opens up like a chest. Of course, this one is DIYable as well. These are perfect for keeping your gardening paraphernalia out of the way.
3. Add Greenery
Some type of flora is necessary to create the ideal balcony retreat. If you’re new to gardening, start by assessing the kind of sunlight your balcony gets. Full sun (six or more hours of direct sun) will allow for some different options than partial sun or full shade. Don’t limit yourself to leafy decorative tropicals and succulents, either. Grow vegetables and herbs — like bell peppers or Thai basil — to get the most out of your outside space.
4. Light It Up
The classic lighting choice for a balcony is a trusty package of string lights. But you don’t have to settle for this old standby. There are plenty of other options for outdoor lighting— some of them solar — to make your balcony seem like an extension of your house. Go for a nice bronze reading lamp or a modern globe floor LED light.
5. Keep the Mosquitoes Away
A lot of us would spend so much more time outside if it didn’t come with the threat of being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Those summertime bloodsuckers are pesky, but you don’t have to suffer for an evening in the moonlight. Some solutions that come highly recommended are the Thermacell Patio Shield and, for a natural option, the Mintronella repellant candle.
6. Suspend Your Seating
For a fun, swinging seating option, install a wicker egg chair that hangs from a steel chain. (Check out the best way to safely mount a swing chair.) Comfortable and charming, hanging seating also adds style to your space. For outdoor dozing and reading, a hammock is a very affordable option to turn your balcony into a cozy spot.
7. Make It Private and Shady
If you plant right, some strategic greenery can close off your balcony to neighbors and onlookers. Alternatively, installing some outdoor curtains will give you an adjustable screen for shade and privacy. There are many other options, like bamboo panels or inexpensive lattice. For a quick and sleek shade solution, consider a shade sail.
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