Making the Most of Your Small Balcony
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.
Think About Furniture
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Get Set for Entertaining!
It's probably not a wise decision 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.
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.
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.
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