Small Balcony Ideas to Help You Make The Most of Your Outdoor Space

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Make your limited real estate work harder for you with these 10 brilliant small balcony ideas!

bright and cheerful white porch with hanging swing chair, decorated with rattan and neutral textiles
Camille Styles

Has your small balcony slowly become an unloved storage area? Or worse, just the place where you put the trash bag before taking it down to the bin? 😓

Well, if that’s the case, don’t feel bad. I’ve been there too! I can recount a couple of episodes that involved a family of raccoons and my garbage strewn all over my patio. 🦝🍁 #canadianproblems

The reality is that a lot of people completely overlook their tiny balconies!

Usually, people aren’t sure if it’s worth investing money or energy into such a small space. And even when they’re willing, often the question is: how do I best utilize a tiny space? How do I get the most bang for my buck?

I have good news! There are lots of affordable updates you can make to a small patio to make it an awesome place to hang out!

Even as a renter, there are so many things you can do to make your small condo patio a beautiful haven that you will look forward to escaping to whenever you get a free moment.

So grab a hot bevvie and read on to find out what all the absolute best small balcony ideas are!

1. Update the flooring

small scandinavian patio with several plants, a white bench and wooden tiled flooring
Dust Jacket Addict (site now defunct)

First on the list of small balcony ideas? Update the flooring. This is one change that makes a shocking difference to a neglected-looking balcony.

The silver lining to having a small balcony is that you have less square footage to worry about.

Fewer square feet = you spending less money. 👌

It makes something daunting like a flooring change suddenly seem like not that big of a deal since you don’t have a large surface to cover.

Use interlocking deck tiles

One absolutely brilliant way to instantly refresh the flooring of your small outdoor space is by laying down a set of interlocking deck tiles.

You lay the tiles directly above your existing floor, so this solution is also 100% renter-friendly.

The tiles are so easy to install since they just snap together. You can easily tile an entire small balcony in under 1 hour.

I have used and personally recommend the wood Runnen tiles from IKEA. They currently cost $17.49/9 sqft.

This solution works great for covering level cement and wood decks.

Outdoor rugs

If using interlocking deck tiles is not an option, then using outdoor rugs can definitely be a great alternative if you want to hide flooring that is an eyesore.

Outdoor rugs can also really help delineate zones on patios so you should definitely experiment using them!

Check out these 33 affordable outdoor rug and runner options if this is a solution that you think would work for you!

2. Create zones

It may seem counter-intuitive to subdivide an already small space, but it actually really helps if you try and create mini zones within your small balcony.

Zoning creates an orderly layout rather than haphazardly placing out items.

The most typical zones for small balconies and patios are:

  • dining areathis is where you would place your table and chairs
  • lounge area this is where you would place your armchair, hammock, or rocking chair, and maybe a small side table or pouf
  • plants areaan area with a larger concentration of potted plants, or perhaps a small nook where you pot your plants and store things like soil and basic gardening tools.

Whether you feel like reading or dining al fresco, creating mini zones will help you maximize the space you have.

small balcony zones
Original photo by Antonia Schmitz

3. Maximize square footage

Use the short end of the balcony

One extremely popular way of making use of the short end of a balcony is by creating a custom seating area out of pallets.

This is one of the more popular small balcony ideas because it’s incredibly affordable and has the potential to look amazing.

With just a teeny bit of planning, you can transform this often-overlooked space into the perfect cozy little chill out nook.

Here are some inspirational images that may help convince you 🙂

inspirational small patio spaces

Making a pallet sofa is so easy: it doesn’t require and sawing, hammering, nails, screws or anything crazy. It’s just a simple three-step process!

how to make a pallet sofa infographic

↓ QUICK TIPS ↓

1 – make sure you take measurements of your patio so that you know the pallets will fit before you haul them home.
2 – don’t skip on the cushions! Otherwise it will just look sad 😕

Use vertical space

thin wooden slat vertical planter
Andréa Alcântara

If you’ve got more of a long and narrow balcony, try to use your vertical space instead.

  1. Hanging chairsPlacing a hanging chair in a corner will keep precious square footage free at your feet and will add an airy, whimsical look.
  2. Use the railings – Hang planters and tables off your balcony railings.
  3. Vertical gardenUse vertical planter gardens to add greenery without cluttering your floor space.

4. Use folding furniture

Classic, but sound advice: use folding furniture in small spaces!

If you’re purchasing new patio furniture, it won’t be difficult to find items that will fold away neatly when you’re not using them.

You can easily whisk away all your balcony furniture in an instant with folding furniture. This is so handy when you need more space, and also for when there’s a sudden bad weather spell and you just need to get everything inside asap.

You can also purchase stackable chairs if you don’t like folding chairs.

5. Embrace container gardening

container gardens are perfect for small balconies

Whether you’re growing herbs, vegetables, or flowers, having an abundance of plants on your small balcony is a must!!

You can contain everything in planters to keep things organized and easy to move around.

Planters that hang on railings are also great for small balconies as they keep more of the floor space clear.

book about vertical gardening good for people with small balconies


Reading tip: If you’re curious about vertical gardening, definitely check out this book by Derek Fell! Tons of inspirational images and ideas to get you started, no matter how small your balcony is!

6. Pay attention to scale

Make sure the furniture and items you buy aren’t too big. Don’t overcrowd your small space!

Pay particular attention to measurements when purchasing things like outdoor sofas and rugs. There’s nothing worse than buying a new piece only to find that it completely overpowers everything else.

Even if you are creating zones on your balcony like we discussed above, you still want to make sure there is some breathing room. There is a fine line between cozy and crammed 🙂

7. Juliet balcony? Use the railings

juliet balcony
Oscar Nord

If you’ve got a balconette (or a Juliet balcony), do not despair! Even if your balcony is so small and narrow that there isn’t room for a table and a chair, there are still options!

You can hang planters from the tops of the railings, with cascading flowers and greenery. There might even be room for a couple of planters in the corners to layer in an extra little bit of plant life.

If you would like to carve out a little nook where you can sip your morning coffee, you can purchase a table that attaches to the railing of your balcony and folds down when not in use (I’ve linked a couple below!).

When you want to use your outdoor table, just unlatch it, pull up a chair from inside and you’re ready to go!

Another option with Juliet balconies is to create a lovely little nook indoors, directly in front of your Juliet balcony: all you need to do is angle an armchair towards the open balcony. Then bask in the feeling of being outdoors while in the comfort of your own home!

8. Carve out privacy

a private balcony in the middle of the city
Wrede

A lack of privacy can be a real deterrent to spending time on your already small patio.

There are several ways you can tastefully create a privacy barrier between you and your nosy neighbors.

Rolled bamboo screens

A lot of people use rolled bamboo screen because they’re fairly cheap to buy and easy to install. They’re also quite attractive if you like a more natural look.

Rolled bamboo screens work best when you attach them to your railings, rolling them out horizontally.

Word of warning though, if you live in a climate where it rains and snows a lot, these bamboo barriers will start to look a little rough after a few years and may need replacing.

Tall potted plants

a lovely bamboo screen provides privacy on a small patio

Simply place some tall plants (like bamboo) in a few planters and you’ve got an instant privacy screen!

This method can look stunning, especially if you use some beautiful statement planters.

If you prefer super low maintenance decorating, you can use faux plants.

Check out my absolute favorite faux bamboo plants right here!

Outdoor curtains

Adding outdoor curtains can be another option to add privacy to your small patio. They can also be a really elegant accent to your outdoor space.

Be sure to choose outdoor curtains that are manufactured for outdoor use, made out of fabric that is fade and mildew resistant.

Check out the options at Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond for really affordable outdoor curtain prices.

Lattice with plants

Another option is to install a wooden lattice. You can then place planters on the base and train some vining plants (like ivy) up the lattice to create even more coverage.

Some home improvement stores even sell trellises with faux plants if you want to pass on growing real plants – for example, check out this option at Home Depot.

You can also get lattices in other materials besides wood, like vinyl and metal.

9. Introduce Interesting Lighting

beautiful balcony lit up at night with thousands of string lights hanging from the ceiling
@girlandtheword

Be sure to add some nice lights to your balcony so that you can enjoy it in the evening as well. It’s amazing what a little bit of nice illumination can do to a small space!

Great lighting options for small patios are:

Any of these small balcony ideas combined will create a gorgeous and cozy setting for you to enjoy in the warm summer evenings.

 

10. Choose Multifunctional Items

If you are struggling with making the most of your small outdoor space, then be sure to invest in items that can serve more than one purpose.

Namely:

  • storage boxes that also serve as surfaces to place items
  • coffee tables that open up where you can store pillows and blankets
  • hollow footstools that can hold small items
  • carts on wheels
  • nesting tables
  • a vertical shelf filled with plants that also serves as a privacy screen

@healthylifestyle_domi_

It’s easy to assume that it’s not worth investing any time, money or energy into improving a small balcony, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

No matter the size, patios, decks and balconies are part of your home’s precious square footage – you should try to use them as much as possible! You won’t regret it! 🙌

I hope you’re able to implement some of these small balcony ideas this year and improve your outdoor space!

NEXT UP: 11 AFFORDABLE WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR TIRED PATIO

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3 Comments

  1. Woww! Those are really wonderful. I can even decide upon which balcony design should i use in my next project. They are really unique and excellent design. Being an interior designer its really hard to decide upon the type of design to choose for a particular space. These type of blogs really helps in selecting one.

  2. Hello,

    You have posted a nice and informative article named balcony, I learn a lot from your post. Go ahead, keep up the good work.

    Regards