A balcony is a popular feature in an apartment but many people don’t use it to its full potential. Not any more because we have prepared a handy guide with creative tips for your balcony, to ensure that you can make the most of your outdoor space.
Get green (fingers)
Plants can bring life, colour and warmth to your balcony, breaking up the monotony of the walls and railings with a touch of nature. This helps to give a backyard feeling to your balcony and can also provide ingredients for your kitchen if you choose to grow herbs and smaller varieties of vegetables.
Depending on the size of your balcony, there are a whole range of plant options to choose from. Large balconies and terraces might be big enough to accommodate trees and large shrubs. However, you can still enjoy plants on a smaller balcony as they don’t necessarily take up any space if they are in planters that hang on the balcony rail or condo walls. One thing to always keep in mind: to avoid the ire of your fellow residents, you should ensure there are no leaks in your plant pots that might drip muddy water onto the balconies below. To avoid wasting money, make sure whatever plants you get are hardy enough to stay outdoors. Some plants require more sunlight than others to thrive, so be aware of the direction your balcony faces, as well as levels of sunlight, and buy the appropriate plant that works. Your local nursery can advise further on that.
Add a table and chairs
You need to make your balcony welcoming and inviting, and nothing says this better than a table and chairs. They invite people to the space and make the balcony functional – allowing you to sit and watch the world go by, eat dinner, or even entertain guests.
Large balconies and terraces can incorporate larger patio tables but you also have the option of a smaller round table and a couple of chairs if space is limited.
Update the flooring
A lot of modern balconies have grey, concrete floors that are not particularly welcoming. However, it’s pretty easy to improve things here. If you own the apartment, you might opt for removable interlocking balcony tiles that can offer a variety of styles, including the look of a deck. If you are renting or your budget is lower, you can opt for an outdoor rug, which will add colour and life to the balcony.
Whatever you choose, a new look to the floor of your balcony can completely transform it – bringing life and a feeling of extra space when the right options are used.
If you own a new condo, you may well have sufficient lighting on your balcony as many developers now include recessed lighting options on balconies. If you are not fortunate enough to have existing quality lighting then a small investment can make a big difference. Firstly, adding any lighting to your balcony immediately increases the amount of time you can spend there – opening it up to warm summer evenings. However, the right kind of lighting can also help to add style to your balcony. Since space is often at a premium, you want to consider lighting options that don’t take up too much room. That’s why string lights are a popular choice as they can be hung on the walls of the balcony, while the warm glow adds a cozy feel to the space.
Hang things up
There’s a lot of empty wall space in balconies, whether it be on the walls of your apartment or the dividers that separate your balcony from the neighbour’s. Don’t leave them bare; consider it a blank canvas and decorate them like you would with an indoor space. The same rules apply in terms of what to hang and how much. Ensure there is good spacing, that the colours work well with the rest of the space, and avoid too much clutter. Pictures, hanging decorations, other forms of art, and lace curtains are all objects that have potential to bring a certain style and elegance to your balcony.
Take a look at many balconies in the Greater Toronto Area and is clear that some people see them as an alternative to a storage locker. Bikes and other outdoor equipment are often stored there, but that means you cannot use the space yourself. Consider investing in a storage locker for somewhere to store your items, in order to open the balcony up for day-to-day use. In fact, this might be an essential move if the items you store on your balcony contravene your condo’s bylaws.
Even without the big storage items, decluttering is a good idea. With balcony space limited in many apartments, it is worthwhile keeping a limit on the number of items you use to decorate it. Keep it simple and make sure there is space or the feeling of space, by ensuring that everything has a purpose.
Create somewhere cozy to sit
If you have the space, consider adding a comfy place to lounge and rest in addition to your table. While the table is a more formal setting, a bench, small sofa, lounge chairs where space allows, or even just some floor pillows can work wonders. They can turn your balcony into a space you are happy to spend most of your day in – offering comfort and character in equal measure. Just be careful that they don’t take up too much space because that could result in an overly crowed and claustrophobic feel.
Create some privacy
Although we are social creatures, most of us enjoy a bit of privacy – especially in our own homes – and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t extend to the balcony. If your balcony has glass railings or is open at the sides, you might feel a little exposed. This can be easily fixed with some simple additions. The plants mentioned above can be used to create a natural shield, for example, with different plants working better for the different areas of the balcony. Similarly, there are a variety of privacy screens that can be bought and installed that will have the added benefit of enhancing the style of your balcony. Before making changes like this, make sure to check your condominium by-laws on rules regarding screens or additions to balconies and ensure you’re in compliance with the rules.