When living in an apartment, I think we can all agree that the more room, the better! It’s all about making the most of the room you do have by being smart about how you manage your space. Take care to arrange your furniture to maximize space, add extra lighting to brighten up the place, and hang mirrors wherever possible to help the room feel as open as possible. I think it’s pretty fair to say that most Phoenix apartments have either a balcony or a patio. I also think it’s fair to say that the patio is the most overlooked space when it comes to both living space as well as decorating.
Who wants to hang out on a stark 8ft by 5ft, adult playpen? Not me! So here are a few tips to reclaim your outside space; if done just right, you’ll create an enjoyable additional living space from an area that was once completely ignored.
- Add Some Green – It doesn’t matter what kind of plant life you bring onto your patio, the addition of plant life completely transforms a boring and lifeless area into a more welcoming environment. If you’re feeling ambitious, flowers are ideal to add color, but if you’re lacking a green thumb like myself, you may want to stick to a few cacti. Visit a local nursery like Harper’s Nurseries and ask experienced gardeners what types of plants they’d recommend for our arid environment and neglectful caretaking.
- Privacy Please – Standing on your patio, you can likely hold a completely audible, low-volume conversation with your neighbor on his or her own patio just feet away. I’m not saying that I support becoming a recluse; I’m saying that adding a few visual barriers will help transform your patio or balcony so it feels like an actual room. This is particularly a great idea if you have an envious view of the parking lot or the trashcan.
Posting up a few pieces of lattice boards on either side of your patio will give your space privacy without completely boarding the place up. Basic lattice is extremely inexpensive, and can be painted in a snap if you’d like some color on the interior.
To protect your furniture from the sun or block a view, hang a sunscreen or outdoor blind just above the railing. The pricier ones recoil into themselves, others are more difficult to raise when you’re looking for a view.
- Brighten It Up – Plop a few self-contained candles on the table to give your space visual warmth in the evenings. Be sure to select denser candles that can handle the sweltering heat during the summer.
Next, string up your own lighting. Do not, I repeat, do not hang Christmas lights unless it’s actually Christmas time! Hang lantern lights or clear bulb lights from lattice to lattice, or from the ceiling itself. This type of lighting is much more appealing than that intrusive light industrially installed by the door.
Be sure to check the rules and regulations of your specific complex to be sure that you won’t be fined for fancying up the place. I have no idea why some complexes find plant life and shading devices so offensive, and I’ll probably never understand.
I won’t try and swing the notion that a nice patio is usable year-round. There are a solid five or so months that leave your patio a desolate wasteland. How great would it be though, to sit back during the next electrifying monsoon storm on your comfy patio, or enjoy your morning coffee those remaining 7, reasonably inhabitable months.