Is it a place to barbecue, and to enjoy sit-down meals? Is it to use as extra storage? Is it container gardening (and if so, will you grow flowers or herbs?) Is it a place to simply relax?
Welcome to my daughter’s small city balcony – yes, the one the arrow is pointing to in the photo below. My daughter’s needs for her small balcony were very simple: a place to sit, relax, and hang out with friends. There was no need for a barbecue or dining table. With that in mind, it made shopping easy. I knew I’d be shopping for comfy chairs (or a small couch), and a small table.
2. Learn from what others have done
Since there are 56 units in the condo building with all the same size balcony, I walked around the building to see how other residents had decorated their outdoor space. It’s amazing how many ideas and how much inspiration you can get simply by doing so. I found out that many had a barbecue and the traditional two-seat bistro table, while others used the outdoor space as a combination of flower garden and mini storage.
Here's the little balcony we made over.
On my shopping trips I always bring pictures of the space I’m shopping for along with all necessary measurements. In this case I measured the balcony before I began shopping and determined that it is 10′ x 7′. Knowing the dimensions helped me focus on finding the right size rug and furniture. (By the way, I always carry a measuring tape in my purse – next to my phone and wallet, it’s probably the most useful item I have in my bag.)
As you can see in the building photo above, the deck is fully covered. This creates a space which is more forgiving in terms of furniture and accessories versus a space that is fully exposed.
Since it’s a small space, buying multipurpose furniture was definitely a priority. Stools that turn into tables, tables that turn into seats, and poufs that become seats/tables/a place to rest tired feet.
Next, consider the height of your seating. Here’s a little test I always do that never fails: I sat on the balcony on a regular height chair, then on a stool, to help confirm the best chair height. This balcony features a 42″ railing, clear glass panels and a beautiful view. The sitting test revealed that the lower I sat, the better my view was as it was unobstructed by the railing. And, sitting slightly lower meant I’d also be protected from the wind on a gusty day.
To figure out my furniture placement, I used two dining chairs and tested them in different configurations: side by side, face to face and at a 90 angle to each other. The chairs placed at an angle proved to be the best combination and created the best sightline from the inside of the condo. With this information in mind, I knew I’d be shopping for two low chairs. I figured that chairs would be more versatile to create a conversation area than a small outdoor couch.
I know you’ve heard this many times before, but in the case of a small space with a small balcony, it’s even more relevant. The outdoor space truly becomes an additional room – one that can be seen from the entire condo.
The color palette for the interior is black, white, grey, and red. If you follow me on social media, you’ll remember this small bathroom from the same condo. (I’ll give you a full tour of the condo once it’s all decorated). Anyhow, my point is that with only 600 square feet, keeping the same color throughout the interior and exterior made the unit look and feel more spacious than it actually is. So, when shopping, I kept those colors in mind.
In a nutshell, when I was ready to start shopping I focused on black, white, grey, and red furnishing, low seats, multipurpose furniture, two chairs and a 5′ x 7′ rug. Here’s what I ended up buying.
Ta-da! Here's the newly decorated balcony - such a transformation!
The sitting test continued at the store. I tried many styles and sizes of chairs and ended up buying two Luke chairs. At first, I thought they were too bulky for the petite balcony, but after sitting in one, I was sold on it. The chairs are extremely comfy, perfect for lounging. They’re low to the ground providing an unobstructed view of the city, and the black color fits right in with the condo’s existing décor.
There were lots of colors to chose from, but black is versatile; my daughter can bring the chairs indoors during the winter season where they’ll look quite trendy. I’m completely aware that black gets hot in the sun, and that dust is more visible than on any other color, but black was still the preferred choice in this case. Keeping the bigger pieces neutral is always my preferred approach; I added color with smaller accessories.
Since I can’t imagine a balcony without any greenery in the summer, I love using a mix of faux and real. It makes complete sense to do so especially if you’re often away, or if you don’t have a green thumb. There’s no shame in using faux flowers and plants; faux looks so real these days that it’s tough to tell them apart.
For the greenery I used a faux fern and faux tall grass so I wouldn’t have to worry about watering. For the flowers I used real geraniums – geraniums are among the hardiest plants out there, which makes gardening easy.
Do you have any balcony, or patio decorating tips you’d like to share? Please drop me a note in the comment box below.
Thanks for stopping by! Talk to you soon,
Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating