If you’re one of the few lucky enough to have a balcony in your apartment, condo, or house, congratulations! You’ve managed to nail down one of the most sought-after spaces a home can offer. Unfortunately, as you might find to be true, this space can go unused—often, it just isn’t big enough to fit all the furniture you wish it could. But size shouldn’t deter you from creating a beautiful balcony that can be enjoyed 365 days a year.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite ways to maximize your precious balcony space. No matter if you’re working with 20 square feet or 100 square feet, the options are truly endless. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of Instagram stalking to make your balcony feel like home.
We totally get it: minimalism isn't for everyone. But sometimes the saying "less is more" just reigns true. In a tight space, too much décor can come off as clutter. Instead, try adding one focal point, like a bench, and one or two finishing touches in coordinating colors.
Hang a Swing
There's something inherently iconic about porch swings. However, you don't have to miss out on having your own simply because of your tight space. There are plenty of balcony swings that are single-seat and can be hung outside–perfect for nestling into smaller spaces. If you aren't allowed to hang a swing due to renting, you can also try a free-standing egg chair instead.
Create a Reading Nook
Let's be honest: There are probably very few activities you're doing on your little balcony. You might spend a few minutes outside drinking coffee or enjoying the sunset, but reading a book is the classic balcony activity. So, why not convert your haven into a reading nook? The key here is finding an accent chair that's big enough to curl up in but small enough not to overwhelm the space.
Take Advantage of Wall Space
When it comes to any small space, the biggest mistake we see people make is forgetting to utilize their wall space—even outside. Add shelves for plants and lights, hang wall slats for added organization, and use your windowsills as their own makeshift shelves. This way, you can enjoy your space without feeling claustrophobic.
Let Plants Take Over
If you have a green thumb and a balcony, you're probably already growing a small collection of basil or cilantro outside. But why stop there? Line the window sills with pots of different sizes, drape ivy over tall shelves, and hang spider plants from decorative baskets. Before you know it, your tiny space will feel like a luxurious greenhouse.
Ditch the Furniture
When we were little, there was nothing quite as dreamy and magical as our very own fort made of pillows and blankets. A couple of decades later, and the same sentiment applies to balconies. To make your adult fort, throw down some faux turf, add a soft, weather-proof blanket, and finish with all the pillows you can find.
Let the View Do All the Talking
In cases when square footage is extremely limited, it might not be feasible to create a conversational setup with furniture. Instead, try arranging everything facing out towards the view—this way, you can still converse over a glass of merlot while taking in all the natural beauty of evening sunsets.
Trade in a Couch for a Daybed or Lounger
In a perfect life, we'd all waste our days away poolside in a private cabana. But since we have to wait for our next vacay to make that happen, you might as well make the most of the outdoor living space you do have. To get that same luxurious cabana-like ambiance, opt for a giant daybed or an elongated lounger (yes, even if it takes up all the retail space your balcony has to offer).
Transform Your Railing Into a Breakfast Bar
No room for a table? No worries. Build your own breakfast bar with a little plywood or buy a pre-made table that fits snug on your ledge. Just add a few bistro stools, and you'll have a small space to enjoy your coffee while scrolling through your social feed.
Play With Patterns
Patterns have a wonderful way of making anything feel louder, bigger, and so much more important. If you only have room to add a few pieces of furniture, try elevating the rest of your space with various patterns like ikat chair cushions, floral rugs, and striped pillows. It might feel a little busy at first, but once you find the right ratio of pattern play, it'll all fit into place.
Include Custom Built Furniture
Small spaces can be hard to accommodate, especially when it comes to finding the right furniture. If you're someone who enjoys DIY projects, then try taking matters into your own hands by building custom furniture that fits your space. Folding furniture is an ideal solution, given you can tuck it away and create more space whenever you need it. (Not wanting to build something from scratch? Don't worry; there are plenty of options you can choose from and easily install yourself).
Light It Up
If you're the kind of person who tends to use your balcony after hours, lighting is essential. Instead of relying on a harsh overhead light or built-in sconces, create soft-focus lighting with lanterns, candles (fake or real), and string lights. If you ask us, it makes for the perfect date-night ambiance.
As much as you might want to hang out on your balcony to soak up the sun, it's important to make sure you're protecting your skin on, especially sunny days. If you have a railing, use the space to hang curtains, add a tent, or prop up a giant umbrella. In the heat of the summer, you'll thank yourself.
Get Creative With Color
It might be easy to rely on a neutral color palette for your outside space, but don't be afraid to dive headfirst into color. Try going for small pops of bright coordinating colors. The result is a balcony that begs to be used, even in the dead of winter.
DIY With Wood Pallets
Wood pallets are the best-kept secret in the DIY world. They can be used to make everything from platform beds to tables and even swings. And they're also ideal for balcony spaces. Stack them to create an easy DIY daybed that looks custom-made.