How to Make the Most of Your Small Apartment Balcony

  • 01 of 09

    Make the Most of a Blah Balcony

    Getty Images

    You know what makes me sad this time of year? Seeing an unloved balcony -- You know the ones that are being used for bike and milk crate storage or are decorated with broken chairs and dead plants. While the general excuse is, “My apartment balcony is too small to enjoy,” I say pishposh! You don't need a lot of square footage or even a beautiful view to create a relaxing open-air retreat. You just need to know how to make the most of your small balcony – and I‘m here to help. The following...MORE ideas will help you transform your little outdoor area into your favorite spot to kick back and relax.

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  • 02 of 09

    Spruce Up Your Balcony With Inexpensive Outdoor Flooring

    Mar Marko

    The typical apartment balcony has a concrete floor that's devoid of personality. Fortunately, you can spruce up your slab with interlocking composite wood deck tiles. They're very easy to install and if you're a renter you should know they're a cinch to remove.

    A pack of inexpensive deck tiles that will cover roughly 100 square feet costs less than $60 at stores like Ikea and Home Depot.  After your new balcony floor is installed, you can use pebbles to fill in any spots that...MORE couldn't be covered with tile (as shown above.) A 30-pound bag of smooth white stones usually costs around $12.

    If wood decking isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options you can explore. Below are two inexpensive ideas:


    • Fake grass: A rug made of the stuff costs around $30 at your local home improvement store.
    • An outdoor rug: Stores like Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond stock rugs like these in a wide range of sizes and colors. Prices start at around $24.
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  • 03 of 09

    Set the Mood With Outdoor String Lights


    Pretty outdoor string lights will make your small balcony feel magical on a hot summer night.  And lucky for you, there are plenty of fantastic LED and solar powered options for you to choose from.  You'll find them at stores like Target, Amazon, Home Depot and Loews.

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  • 04 of 09

    Turn Your Balcony Into A Private Space


    If your balcony has a less than awesome view, or if you want to block your neighbor's prying eyes, you can install privacy panels. Isabelle LaRue the DIY diva behind, Engineer Your Own Space, created the privacy she craved without structural altering her small balcony. She did it using store bought fencing materials, zip ties, and corner molding (shown above.) Her total cost: $160. 

    Here are other ways you can make your balcony more private:

    • Outdoor curtains: You can find an excellent and...MORE inexpensive selection at stores like Walmart, Target, and WorldMarket. Prices start at around $30.
    • Wind and sun shields: This is a cover for your balcony's railings.  Ikea makes one and it's called DYNING. It costs $14.99.
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  • 05 of 09

    Bring the Party Outside


    A wall-mounted outdoor bar (also known as a Murphy bar) will bring the party onto your balcony. If mounting something to your exterior wall is out of the question, you can get one of these compact bar carts.

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  • 06 of 09

    Turn Your Balcony into an Outdoor Room


    Erica Ward, the decor diva behind the site, Blu Label Bungalow transformed a client's small balcony into a beautiful outdoor room (shown above.)  Do you want your balcony to feel like an extension of your interior space? Here's what you need to know:

    • Include items you like to use inside your home into your balcony's decor. For example, if you light to burn candles while you lounge inside, include a few candles in your exterior space.
    • Add cushy elements. If you like to curl up on your...MORE couch while enjoying a good read, then your outdoor space needs comfy seating.
    • Place something soft underfoot.  A plush outdoor rug will make your balcony feel more welcoming.
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  • 07 of 09

    Go With Durable Outdoor Furniture


    When it comes to picking balcony furniture, keep durability in mind. Why? If you live in a small apartment, chances are you don't have much indoor storage space so your balcony furniture will remain outside all year round. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when picking balcony furniture:

    • When it comes to wood furniture, go with pieces made from hardwoods like Teak, Cedar or Redwood that are also treated with a weather resistant sealant. Unlike softwoods like Pine that's prone...MORE to rotting, hardwoods can last for decades with proper care.
    • You can't go wrong with weather resistant synthetic wicker. It's easily to clean and stands up to the elements.
    • When it's too cold to use your balcony, keep your furniture stored in water repellent covers. It will help protect your furniture from harsh weather.
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  • 08 of 09

    Green Up Your Balcony


    A few planters will green things up while boosting your privacy.  Even better, there are plenty of options that were designed to hook onto balcony railings so they won't take up valuable floor space.  You'll find a good selection of railing planters at stores like Ikea and Amazon. 

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  • 09 of 09

    Your Balcony Should Make You Happy

    Your own private pool party.jpg
    Sarah Sackerman

    When it comes to your small apartment balcony, the most important thing you need to know, it should be your happy space. So feel free to add features that boost your personal enjoyment. Can someone please pass the tanning butter?