Tips & Tricks for Renters

7 Small Balcony Ideas — How to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

balcony chair

Spending more time at home has made us all realize the immense potential of our tiny apartment balconies. Offering some well-deserved fresh air and peace and quiet, balconies can become a personal haven no matter the size. With this in mind, we put together some small balcony ideas guaranteed to make you rethink its functionality.

Are you struggling to find a cozy spot to soak up some sun this summer? Or, do you just feel the need to revamp your outside sanctuary? Either way, we have just the tips if you want to make the most of your tiny apartment balcony. Read on to find out how your small balcony can become a great guest corner, a healing spot or even the perfect breakfast nook.

1. Functionality Extends Outside

outdoor furniture

Not the outside-lounge-and-meditate type? Well, just because you don’t spend much time on your balcony now doesn’t mean you can’t do so in the future. The key is to visualize what it could be and make it work for you and your specific needs.

First, there are many ways to save space, most of them revolving around multifunctional furniture pieces. Outside furniture has many benefits, one of which is serving multiple purposes. For instance, a comfy ottoman or bench can be hollow inside for storage purposes, while stacked plant shelves can double as a privacy screen.

Your small balcony can also make a huge difference, especially if you’re living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment for rent. Essentially, the balcony can be an extension of your living room, where you can read, play games or unwind with a glass of wine at the end of the day. Most important, small balconies can also be a place to get work done. Simply place a chair and a table and bring out your laptop. Plus, a change in scenery does wonders for productivity, provided your WiFi works outside.

This brings us to our next small balcony idea…

2. A Table & Chair Are Enough to Get You Started

Not yet able to visualize what your balcony could be? Then, start small with a comfy chair and a small outside table and work your way from there. Soon, you’ll notice the time of day you tend to gravitate toward the balcony — either for a morning coffee, at noon to get some sun, for dinner al fresco, or even later in the evening to cool down after a long a day. In no time, you’ll be adding some pillows, fairy lights and a bunch of potted plants — and you’ll be asking yourself how you ever managed to live without it.

3. Go Vertical

balcony potted plants

The ultimate small balcony idea is simple: go up. Whether it’s stacking your potted apartment plants on a ladder, hanging strings of light from the ceiling or adding some extra storage space by installing shelves, it’s always a good idea to go vertical and try to take up as little floor space as possible. This will allow you to fill the remaining space with furniture, decorations, cute outside rugs or whatever else you have your eyes set on.

4. Make Use of the Railings

balcony tip

This is the part of your home where you can go all out with the greenery. You can even turn your entire balcony into a jungle experience, but don’t overlook the perfect planter stand — the railing, where you can mount pots or hook them over the rails without taking up an inch of floor space.

Likewise, keep an eye out for modular outdoor furniture designed to make use of the railing. If space is tight, you could also mount a tabletop or even shelves on it.

Alternatively, if you’re going for more of a boho look for your small balcony, use the popular rolled bamboo screens for additional privacy. Simply roll them out horizontally and attach them to the railings. Then, you’ve got yourself your very own personal haven away from the prying eyes of neighbors.

5. Don’t Overlook the Floor

outdoor decor

When revamping a small balcony, one aspect that is often overlooked is the flooring. This plays well into the idea that the balcony is just an extension of the inside living space, so why not treat it as such?

As far as rental-friendly options go, we’ve got you covered. For instance, you could add area rugs for a boho feel or go full green with artificial grass. Or, if you’re thinking of using your balcony for yoga or meditation sessions, choose wooden or peel-and-stick tiles, instead. They’re cheap, functional and a pretty way to beautify your balcony floors. Bonus: Your yoga mat or cushions won’t slip on it!

6. Play with Light

Evenings on your redesigned deck will never be the same — all you have to do is add some fairy lights or go bigger with festoon lights. However, strings of light are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ambient outdoor lighting. For example, lanterns give off a more romantic feel, while smart LED lights can be enough to get a house party started. Meanwhile, flameless candles are a safe way to give your small balcony a whimsical vibe, while sconces with movement sensors are a sure way to manage your electric bill while enjoying your balcony at night, as well. The only rule is to pick whatever lighting option feels right for you.

outdoor decor

7. Your Happy Place for Happy Hour

Some fresh air and a couple of friends are enough to kick back and relax at the end of the day — and your small balcony can be the perfect spot to do so. All you need is a small side table to hold a few drinks, snacks, and a portable speaker and you’re on your way to a great evening in the comfort of your own rental. Finally, don’t forget to add a few lightweight chairs (foldable are a great way to go), floor pillows or an outside bench to seat your guests.

These are just a few of the small balcony ideas designed to bring out the best in your cozy outdoor space. Whether you’re looking to extend your living space or make the balcony your personal oasis, consider these tips to maximize the potential of your terrace.

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About the author

Alexandra Ciuntu

Alexandra is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she's covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance to interior design tips. Very familiar with the renter lifestyle herself, Alexandra enjoys researching and writing about renter demographic shifts and residential real estate market trends as much as she loves writing about how to get along with roommates. You can connect with Alexandra via email.

Alexandra’s work includes collaborations with financial and business publications. Her articles have been featured in several national and international online publications, including the New York Times, Barrons, Inman, Forbes, Marketwatch, Bisnow, and Curbed. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Japanese and English and an M.A. in Journalism and Cultural Studies.

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