Balconies are a gift in any home, but since balconies are so incredibly rare to find, it can be tough to figure out what to do with them. Should you transform yours into a reading nook, a dining room, or a lounge-worthy seating area? Or should you just leave it as is—a simple space to enjoy a beautiful view?
Thankfully, tons of interior designers and lifestyle bloggers have already tackled the challenge of decorating a balcony. And they’ve answered many of these questions in their process—giving you the chance to incorporate some of their ideas directly into your space.
Ahead are 18 of the most well-decorated balconies we’ve ever seen—and a design idea worth stealing from each of them.
Invest in a Few Essentials
Balconies can get pretty tight. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to transform a small space. Invest in a couple of cozy chairs, a small side table, and consider throwing in a plant for good measure. These four simple pieces will make your balcony way more functional, giving you a place to enjoy coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night.
Build a Second Dining Room
Your balcony doesn’t have to be huge to function as an extra room, and if you can score a super-narrow table, you may be able to transform your balcony into a second dining room. Sure, this outdoor area is unlikely to feel as spacious as your dining room, but it’s sure to be a show-stopper at your next dinner party.
Segment Your Space
If your balcony is on the roomy side, consider segmenting your space into a couple of different sections just like you would with an open-concept room. Give yourself a little space to eat and a little space to relax, and before you know it, you’ll have a balcony worth spending all day on.
Start by thinking about what kinds of activities your balcony could accommodate. Then, figure out which of those activities you’d enjoy the most. If you crave the ability to eat breakfast outside—or to host a few friends for an outdoor dinner—give yourself a dining nook.
With a compact table and a handful of chairs, you can make your space a lot more functional.
Spring for Statement Seating
Balconies don’t demand much furniture, so you’ll want to make the furniture you are investing in count. If you’re only planning to buy a couple of chairs and a small side table, look for bolder, more statement-making options. Since you don’t have to coordinate an entire décor scheme, it’s easier to take a few risks and pull them off.
Keep It Cozy
Outdoor furniture tends to be pretty sleek—but there are plenty of cozier options on offer. If you’d prefer a warmer, more welcoming space, load up on outdoor-friendly cushions and throw pillows. You can even cozy up your balcony floors with a plush outdoor rug.
Create a Small Reading Nook
Even a small balcony corner can become an incredibly meaningful space with the addition of a few pieces of furniture. By combining a comfy chair, a plush throw, and a spacious side table, you can craft a reading nook worth spending all afternoon in. And if you don’t mind flying solo, you can also use the space as your kitchen table—and maybe even as your home office.
Play With Statement Lighting
Lighting gets a lot of attention in the interior design space. But, in the exterior design space, it tends to go overlooked. This makes sense—ceilings aren’t abundant in the outdoors. But if you’re willing to get creative, you can transform your balcony with a little statement lighting.
The next time you’re on your balcony, look up and see if there’s anywhere to hang a light or two. A sturdy tree branch can easily become an outdoor chandelier mount if you have a way to reach it.
Consider the Whole of Your Space
When decorating your balcony, consider what the space leading into that balcony looks like. If the two spaces are only separated by glass, consider coordinating some of the colors and décor you’re using to outfit both of them.
If your living room boasts a minimalist, all-white palette, why not extend that color scheme outdoors? This will make your view even prettier every time you look outside.
Make the Most of a Tight Squeeze
Having a ton of space may make decorating your balcony easier, but if you’re navigating a tight squeeze, don’t worry—there are still plenty of ways to dress up your space. One easy solution? Snag a compact bistro table and a couple of low-profile chairs. By pushing this table into the corner, you can make your space much more functional without taking up too much space.
Embrace Natural Boundaries
If your home and your balcony are separated by a glass-lined wall, it can be tempting to treat the two as if they’re in the same space, but doing so may limit your ability to make the most of your balcony.
So, don’t spend too much time thinking about the position of furniture on your balcony. If a couple of balcony chairs are facing away from the room that leads into that outdoor space, that’s okay. You want your indoor space and your outdoor space to feel harmonious, but they don’t have to feel like they’re part of the same room.
A monochromatic palette is always a bold move. But, on a balcony, it’s particularly easy to pull off.
For one thing, balconies tend to be pretty small, so you don’t have to stock up on a ton of furniture or décor to craft your wall-to-wall palette. Plus, balconies are separate from the rest of your space, so they’re great places to take risks or do something outside the box.
Build an Overhang
If your balcony is going under-utilized because it isn’t covered, consider building in an overhang. This is bound to require a fair amount of time and effort, but it is doable, and if it’ll make your space way more usable, it’s worth it.
Invest in Wraparound Seating
One easy way to up the functionality of your balcony? Build wraparound seating. A custom bench can maximize your seating situation without taking up a ton of unnecessary space. And if your balcony is rectangular, you may be able to achieve a similar effect with store-bought benches.
Remember to Accessorize
Accessories bring any space together, and your balcony is no exception. Once you’ve stocked up on chairs, tables, and other must-haves, be sure to throw in a little décor.
Poufs and other cushions can add function and form to your space in equal measure. Plus, they’ll give you plenty of opportunities to play with color and texture.
Take Full Advantage of Your View
Most balconies come with a view—but some balconies come with a seriously great view. If you’ve been blessed with the latter, you need to make the most of it.
Integrate your view into your layout from the start. If your balcony overlooks a stunning beach, be sure to position your chairs to face that beach. If you don’t, you’re doing your guests— and yourself—a serious disservice.
Embrace the Space You Have
Most balconies are tight and compact, but some are sprawling and spacious. And since these so-called “lounge balconies” are so rare, they can be a little challenging to decorate.
Take a good, long look at your space, and consider decorating it the way you’d decorate your home’s interior. Make space for eating, entertaining, and relaxing, and consider throwing in a little room for outdoor cooking, too.
Craft a Spot You’ll Love Spending Time In
When it comes to decorating a space, the point isn’t just to make something pretty. What’s much more important is that you end up with a space you love spending time in.
Try to keep that in mind at every step along the way. Focus on the things you want to be able to do in your space, then build your mood board, your furniture selection, and your décor scheme around that.