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Making the Most of Your Small Balcony

Linda is a seasoned writer and bedroom authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

If you live in an apartment or condo with a tiny balcony, you may have ignored the potential of your little plot of outdoor heaven. It may not be much, but you can still transform it into a mini oasis to enjoy at your leisure.

Pick a Theme and Work With Your Space

Ok, so your balcony doesn’t offer much in the way of space for furniture. However, you can squeeze a couple of simple and stylish pieces into the most cramped quarters. First, determine the function of your dream balcony. Is it for dining al fresco, reading, sunning, or simply a place for daydreaming?

Bistro sets are the perfect dining option for a small balcony.

Bistro sets are the perfect dining option for a small balcony.

Think About Furniture

Here are some ideas for furniture.

Idea: Purchase a Decorative Set

Purchase a cute little bistro set for dining under the stars. Choose a comfy chaise lounge for tanning or a relaxing afternoon nap. Perhaps an all-weather wicker chair and side table are all you need for catching up on the latest best seller.

Idea: Consider Bright Accessories

If you are seriously cramped, consider topping a slender teak storage bench with a bright cushion to create the perfect spot for quick cup of java to get your day started. Plus you’ll have a place to stash some of your outdoor accessories.

Add Pretty Accents

Once you have the furniture situated, it's time to get on with the business of accessorizing.

Idea: Consider Adding Tile or Paint

Add life to the drab concrete with something colorful underfoot. If you own your condo, find out if the homeowner's association will allow you to tile or paint the balcony floor. A textured tile or paint designed for outdoor use will not only keep you from slipping in damp weather, it will also add a bit of personality to your outdoor oasis.

An outdoor rug is the perfect way to add personality to your boring balcony.

An outdoor rug is the perfect way to add personality to your boring balcony.

Idea: Purchase an Outdoor Rug

If you can’t tile or paint, ground the space with a colorful outdoor area rug. A rug will make your small balcony space more homey and add just the right touch of softness.

Idea: Add a Fountain or String Lights for Mood

Place a small fountain on the wall or in a corner to lend a sense of serenity to your meditation altar. The combination of an iron wall grille and weathered urn can give your small outdoor space the look of a Tuscan villa. If your balcony has a cover, add a string of lights or lanterns above for a romantic evening glow.

The sound of water adds a Zen like feel to your balcony.

The sound of water adds a Zen like feel to your balcony.

Remember to Pick a Workable Color Scheme

Lastly, keep your color palette simple. The last thing you need in a small space is a wild and disjointed color scheme. If you want a little shot of color, do so with a cushion, umbrella, throw pillow, or plants.

Give It the Green Treatment and Add Plants

Speaking of flowers, why not carve out a corner for a balcony container garden? If you have the room, consider a small tree to screen the neighbors. If space is truly an issue, buy a planter box that secures onto the railing of your balcony. It is perfect for a small herb garden or seasonal plants and flowers.

Herbs, flowers and vegetables can be grown on a balcony with good sun exposure.

Herbs, flowers and vegetables can be grown on a balcony with good sun exposure.

Tip: Purchase Plants That Are Appropriate for Your Space

Before you run out to buy plants, take note of the amount of sun and shade your balcony gets on any given day. For example, don’t plan for a fern grotto on a balcony that receives full sun. Nor will a sun-loving rose bush survive on a balcony facing north. Specialists at your local garden center will be happy to help you with plant selection to suit your balcony's unique microclimate.

Set up your cocktail bar on the balcony before guests arrive.

Set up your cocktail bar on the balcony before guests arrive.

Get Set for Entertaining

It's probably not a wise decision to host a dinner party for eight on your small balcony, but you can certainly use it as an extension of your indoor space. Stage the outdoor area as a bar, a spot for grilling, or a place to catch a breath of fresh air after dinner.

Idea: Set Up a Console Table

Your limited outdoor square footage is ideal for a romantic dinner for two or an intimate Sunday brunch. Instead of going back and forth to the kitchen, incorporate a console table on the balcony as a buffet station for serving food and drinks.

A light and airy Sunday brunch doesn't have to take up too much space on the balcony.

A light and airy Sunday brunch doesn't have to take up too much space on the balcony.

The Effort Will Be Worth It

Guests will definitely appreciate your attention to detail—and once they depart, you can enjoy spending quiet mornings, afternoons, and evenings in the privacy of your very own stylish and comfortable outdoor retreat.

© 2013 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on June 17, 2013:

Thank you for reading and commenting, anuramkumar! :)

anuramkumar from Chennai, India on June 16, 2013:

Excellent ideas. I especially like the garden and zen feel décor.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on June 16, 2013:

Thank you ishwaryaa22! Hope this gives you inspiration to add a few items to your outdoor balconies! :)

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 16, 2013:

A wonderful hub packed with fantastic ideas! I have two super-huge balconies. The front one have a very few potted plants (or should I say scanty?) and the back one is bare - we use it for our casual walking exercise. I welcome your cool ideas such as bistro sets, zen fountain and mini garden. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 26, 2013:

Wow, that quite a bit of land, Leah! How wonderful! You're right, these ideas can be translated to outdoor living spaces of any size. Hope you get the bistro table to enjoy your morning coffee this summer. :)

Leah Lefler from Western New York on March 25, 2013:

We live on an acre and are lucky to have so much space, but these ideas are great for our deck. I really want to get a bistro table and chairs so I can have coffee on the deck on warm summer mornings. I love the idea of a wall fountain!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Mommy, I think a small balcony is the perfect place to create an outdoor "room" to enjoy during balmy summer evenings! The lighting and rug simply add to the room feel! I am so glad you visited. Thanks for the vote! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Thelma, you are welcome. We all need a place to recharge and inspire. Although my balcony is small, it definitely gives me a lovely spot to think and daydream! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

ktrapp, aren't those decking tiles the neatest? I think I may have seen the same show. Think it was Property Brothers--they used them on a balcony off the master bedroom. Regardless, they are a fabulous product. Good of you to visit! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Kathryn, sounds like you employed most of my ideas for your long-ago balcony. Happy memories! It's amazing what a little creativity can do for a nondescript balcony. Always glad to share tips on decorating. You are so welcome! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

starstream, it takes little effort to make a small outdoor space a place to unwind and enjoy. So happy you liked my suggestions! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

newusedcarssacram, a fountain and greenery will turn an ordinary small balcony into something beautiful! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Mary, I see that all the time. People using perfectly good balconies to pile up their unwanted items. A blight on the community, I say! It is so easy to turn it around and take a little pride in their surroundings. I know you will enjoy your bistro set! Thanks for the votes and shares. Take care. :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Rebecca, to me, there's nothing more welcoming than a petite bistro table and chairs on a balcony. They're just begging you to sit down and enjoy the view! The advent of spring is an exciting time to ready outdoor spaces for warmer weather! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

vibesites, a blank slate is the best way to start. You can choose the ideas that make the most sense for your little outdoor space. Have a great time fixing up your bare balcony! Thanks for the read and votes! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 06, 2013:

Suzie HQ, glad you liked these tips and are keeping them in mind for future projects. Thanks for the vote and share! Greatly appreciated! :)

Michelle Clairday from Arkansas on March 06, 2013:

Great ideas. I really liked the idea of running lights above the space and an outdoor rug below. Voted up.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 06, 2013:

Great ideas! Sitting at the balcony with beautiful flowers is indeed very relaxing. Then drinking a cup of tea while thinking of the next topic to write for HP is awesome. Thanks for sharing your ideas;-)

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on March 06, 2013:

These are great tips. It makes me regret years ago when I had a small balcony that I neglected it, feeling as if it was useless. You're right, it could be a wonderful oasis. I saw a product recently on some HGTV makeover show where they put some decking "tiles" on top of a small concrete patio. I can't think what they were called exactly, but you just put them on top of the concrete, snapping them together, and in the end it looks a bit like a wooden deck.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 06, 2013:

That was an enjoyable article. I had a balcony at one of my apartments years ago, and it was so exciting. But at first I didn't know where to start to make it feel like an extension of my living area. I have great memories of the balcony. I brought out a chair and a very small table, which I used as a side table. I also started an herb garden, and brought a few plants out there. I went out quite often, to enjoy a cup of coffee or my supper and watch the outdoors. I would leave my door open, and my cat, Whiskers, would join me.

You have a lot of wonderful tips in your article, and if I have a balcony again I will revisit this to inspire my selection of furniture and finishing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on March 06, 2013:

Decorating a balcony or small outdoor patio space with your suggestions would be great. I loved seeing the fountain . It all looks so romantic. I love the suggestions! What a difference our surroundings make for setting up creative thinking and enjoyment.

newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on March 06, 2013:

I love those small fountains and little plants.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 06, 2013:

Great ideas for a small balcony. I just hate it when I visit someone who has a balcony like this and they use it for junk! It can be turned into something pleasing to the eye just like you Hub suggests.

I just bought a nice little Bistro set that folds up and is very lightweight. I'm going to enjoy that.

Voted UP, etc. and will share.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 06, 2013:

Simple, useful and easy to do. I love the bistro table. I am looking forward to warm weather to "green" my deck up.

vibesites from United States on March 06, 2013:

I have a bare balcony in my house and I want to enliven it but I don't know where to start or to plan. It's just left in the dust, literally. But thanks for your tips, I now have ideas. Voted up and useful. :)

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on March 06, 2013:

Hi lindacee,

Really enjoyed this as I have a ground floor apartment I am repainting to rent out. Being a ground floor and next to the main door is unfortunately a disadvantage however I do love container garden on it. Thanks for more great suggestions, love the wall water feature and will be keeping these ideas in mind for the new pad! Votes and Shared!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 06, 2013:

Crystal, mine would be a peaceful space if I could just get the traffic noise to quiet down! :S Thanks for the read, comment and vote!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 06, 2013:

Marcy, these ideas can translate to larger outdoor spaces! Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 06, 2013:

vespa, hope my ideas will help with your new balcony. I think an herb garden would be nice, but the sun is too intense here for such things. :( Good luck with the move. I have one coming up in my near future as well!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on January 04, 2013:

Great ideas for making the most of these tiny spaces that really can become havens of peace and serenity. Voted up and sharing.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 04, 2013:

I could have used these tips as a newlywed years ago, when we had a balcony about the size of a card table. I think you've given me ideas for patios & decks, too!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 04, 2013:

We're getting ready for a move and although I haven't seen my apartment yet, I imagine a small balcony included. : ) I like the idea of a small entertaining area complete with outdoor rug, but the container garden intrigues me, as well. I'll have to check things out and hope to put your great suggestions to use! Thanks...voted up and shared.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 03, 2013:

Om, I think the rug would be a perfect way to add some flair, although I'm sure it is stylish anyway! My balcony is about the same size, but my complex has a rule banning grills. :( However I do have two nice chairs and a side table which makes it quite nice. :)

Om Paramapoonya on January 03, 2013:

Great ideas! I do have a very small balcony that can accommodate only 3 medium-size people. So far I have furnished it with a small grill and two little chairs. I think a cute outdoor rug would certainly be a stylish addition!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 01, 2013:

Teaches, I have a small balcony and the few months out of the year (when it's not too hot or too cold). I take full advantage of every square inch! Glad you enjoyed the info and thanks for the vote. Happy new year!

Dianna Mendez on January 01, 2013:

What a lovely way to make a home even more enjoyable. Those small spaces are often the places we spend time reading and writing. Good tips and use of small space. Voted up.