decorating a boring balcony?

Elisabeth Asks: Dear Mr. Kate, please help me! I have the most boring balcony in the world! It is kind of large-ish, at least for the small apartment I live in, but I don’t really know how to decorate it and make it more comfortable. So far it only contains a small cupboard and a few potted plants that can stand 100 degrees without dying. I have seen lots of inspiring pictures of balconies, but the ones I liked were always full of stuff – plants, cozy seating areas, pictures on the walls… Do you have any ideas how to make a balcony nice and cozy with things that can be easily removed and won’t take up too much space when I have to carry them inside? Thank you so much!

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My Answer:

Hi Elizabeth! Balconies are tough little buggers. The small square footage causes balconies to often be either over-cluttered or left too bare. But, similar to an indoor nook, balconies can be decorated to feel cozy and inviting as long as you fill them with necessary furniture and decorative elements that don’t take up too much space. As far as having elements that are easily portable, think cushions that can be scooped off chairs and a lightweight outdoor rug that can be quickly folded or rolled. Don’t worry about pictures on the wall, etc. If you bring in pattern with textiles (pillows, rugs, a cozy blanket), it will make a world of difference and you won’t need art. If you’re worried about wind, try iron furniture that has weight to it or tether a leg of a chair, table, etc. to the base of the balcony rails with an inconspicuous cable.

In a small space, color and pattern play huge roles in establishing a mood – see my past post on Decorating (interior) Small Spaces. Here are some balcony decor pics that I think show some great furniture and style options for a range of design sensibilities…

  • Metal chairs or sets of chair with a petite table are very compact, weatherproof, and if you can’t find them in bright colors, you can easily spray paint them with rust-proof, outdoor spray paint! Notice how the addition of colorful rugs, patterned cushions and flower baskets add instant style and life.

  • Bohemian/Eclectic design style (one of my faves) can be implemented in an outdoor space too. Try hanging garlands, lanterns and hammocks, stacking mis-matched pillows, Faux Sheepskin over chairs, and tapestries or patterned rugs on the floor or railings.

  • For a more contemporary or modern space, try a multi-functional modern desk and plant holder or use it as a mini bar! You can work or eat at the desk and fill the back with plants or throw in some ice cubes to keep your drinks cool! If bright colors aren’t your thing, try sticking to a neutral palette or play with black and white.

  • For a classic or beachy look, try adding shutters (they also make a great divider). You can get shutters from places like Home Depot and paint them white or stain them a beautiful wood color. Other natural elements like teak or wood and bamboo fencing make a stark balcony feel like it’s part of nature.

Hope that helps! Comment below and let us know how you decorate your balcony!

(images via apartmenttherapythestylecollectivethestylefilesdesignarthousehouzzpinterest, stylizimo,architectureartdesigns