Balconies are the best place for apartment dwellers to get some sun, fresh air and connect with nature. But they are often neglected in our houses and we end up using them as a storage space or even a dump yard! Imagine reclaiming that extra 30sqft of expensive urban real estate and putting it to use.
Since most of the urban population live in apartments, the closest to having our own outdoor space is a balcony. So why not use our balconies to create cosy and relaxing outdoor spaces. If you have 2 balconies, then you can dedicate one to utility and deck up the other. But if you have one balcony then the key is to find a balance between beauty and utility. One way to do this is to make a dedicated spot for your washing machine, cleaners and other tools. Organize them well so that the spot doesn’t look like an eyesore. Here in the image I have arranged my washer and dryer and tucked all the unpleasant items under the make-shift bench in one half of my balcony. This bench is made from using two small empty gas cylinders and I’ve used a wooden plank on top of them. This way I hide the unpretty things as well as create a space to fold my laundry. You too can get creative with what you have around. Use wall hooks to hang your brooms and mops and clear up as much floor space as possible. If the floor space is clear, it gives an illusion of a bigger space and cleaning becomes easier as well!
To begin your balcony makeover journey, here are a few design pointers
- Think of it as a living room: Use a living room design formula on your balcony to make sure it’s a place you’ll actually want to spend time in. To do this, you’ll need comfortable seating, a small table, some source of mood lighting, and a rug. Since it’s an outdoor area, use furnishings which are meant for outdoor spaces (easy to clean. waterproof) or those which can be tossed into the washing machine often.
- Give it a Vacation Vibe: If your balcony is large enough, opt for some comfortable chairs for reading and sunning. You can also hang a swing from the ceiling or from a stand. Use fun bright colours. Since tropical prints are in vogue now, you can use tropical cushions to give it the holiday vibe. Add in a canopy and greens, and there you have it. Your own vacation spot.
- Allow it to be the Focal Point: If your bedroom or living room leads to a balcony, take advantage of that view by facing the bed or the sofa outwards. If your balcony is narrow, don’t load it up with furniture and décor that’ll block the view
- Create Flow from Inside Out: Make your balcony feel like a natural extension of your living space. This will also make your room feel bigger.
- Add in a Sense of Privacy: In apartments, it’s common to have your balcony open to other homes, so to create privacy, you can use a room divider or use a wooden sectional and train up some creepers on it to create a green curtain
Now that we have the basic elements of how to design laid down, here are the basic elements you will need to create that perfect space!
- Seating: The best way to enjoy the breeze and the view is while sitting with a cuppa. Two most important things to keep in mind while Picking balcony seating are for it to b
- Weather-Resistant- Since most wood can be damaged by continuous exposure to sun and rain, coat your furniture with melamine whenever it starts to wear off
- Easy to move- Keep the furniture easy to move so the balcony can be cleaned thoroughly when needed. You can opt-in for space-saving furniture which can fold up when not in use or versatile furniture which can be used back inside the home when not in use outside.
- Plants: Now’s the time to let your inner plant parent shine and start your plant collection. If you don’t have space for a full-blown rooftop garden, your balcony is a great alternative. If you have limited space, use a vertical display like the shelf I have used here. Or hang up planters on your railing or from the wall. Keep in mind the amount of sunlight that your balcony receives. If you get ample sunlight, load it up with flowery plants which will also colour up your balcony. If there is no direct sunlight, look for greens that thrive in diffused lighting conditions. Similarly, you must also account for the wind in your balcony. Especially in higher floors where it is mostly windy, look for wind hardy plants and keep misting them regularly so that they do not lose moisture
- Decor: Since balcony spaces are usually small, use up your wall space for decor. Add decorative mirrors or wall art. You can also use decorative stands to store or display souvenirs. To add glamour to your balcony when the sun goes down, wrap some string lights around the railing. Line up some large candles to create a cosy and warm atmosphere. Candles are best and safe when kept inside a candle holder or opt-in for candles in a jar.
Here are some tips for maintaining your balcony
- Use washable furnishing
- Keep the floor space as clear as possible
- Dust regularly so it doesn’t build up over time
- Use blinds if possible to reduce the dust and rain. You can opt-in for natural material blinds or clear plastic curtains.