23 Ways to Make the Most of Your Small Apartment Balcony

small apartment balcony

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto 

On glorious warm sunny days and relaxing summer evenings, an unloved balcony, no matter its size, is a tragic sight. So if you are currently using yours as a graveyard for dead plants or broken outdoor furniture, listen up. There are dozens of great ideas for transforming a neglected outdoor space into an irresistible hangout for relaxing and entertaining.

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    Double Duty Furniture and Affordable Decking

    tiny german balcony covered with wood tiles

    The typical apartment balcony has a concrete floor that is devoid of personality. Fortunately, you can spruce up a boring slab with interlocking deck tiles. They are very easy to install by simply snapping the pieces together. And if you are a renter, you should know they are a cinch to remove.

    Here, Jana Wind, the DIY blogger behind the German blog Bekleidet used reasonably inexpensive wood decking by IKEA to cover her tiny balcony. The tiles are called RUNNEN; a package (about $25) includes enough pieces to cover 9 square feet.

    There are a few more decorating ideas worth borrowing from Jana's balcony. Check out the small storage bench on the upper left. She uses it to hide her mini barbecue grill and potting soil. Even better, it is big enough to seat two people. The little dining table folds down to create more legroom.

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    DIY Bamboo Privacy Screen

    Bamboo privacy screen
    Silver Rose Sewing

    Who doesn't love simple do-it-yourself projects that add function and style to spaces? Case in point: this super affordable privacy screen idea by Kelsey at Silver Rose Sewing. The blogger was lucky enough to find a bunch of large bamboo poles at a local store for less than $1.50 per piece. Afterward, she connected them all using zip ties and rope. After installing her new privacy screen, she topped it off with lantern string lights.

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    Mini Urban Oasis

    urban balcony with privacy screens
    Engineer Your Own Space

    Isabelle LaRue, the DIY diva behind Engineer Your Own Space, transformed her small, concrete balcony into a little urban oasis. First, she added a bit of architectural interest by installing a white ledge on top of her existing balcony walls. The feature created room to place potted plants and several decorative accessories. Next, she gave her outdoor nook a tropical twist with reed fencing. You can pick a roll at most home improvement stores for less than $30. Because her balcony faces other buildings, she installed white lattice panels for privacy. LaRue also built a storage bench (on the right) specifically for the space. She uses it to keep gardening supplies out of sight.

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    Balcony With a Planter Wall

    balcony for entertaining friends
    Decora y Vende

    A planter wall sets the tone for this lovely balcony by Decora y Vende. Globe string lights add a festive touch. Below is a wood pallet-styled sofa with weather-resistant cushions. Rustic floor poufs made of straw add extra seating. An outdoor rug provides something soft underfoot while doubling as a picnic blanket.

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    Fancy Privacy Screen

    create privacy on apartment balcony
    Linear Concepts

    An attractive privacy screen encases this stylish small balcony by Linear Concepts, an architecture and interior design firm based in Delhi, India. Potted plants add pops of greenery. The wicker furniture enlivens the space with energizing shades of yellow and orange.

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    Added Style and Function

    A balcony turned into an urban oasis

    Antonia Schmitz is the insanely stylish home decor blogger who pens Craftifair, an excellent site for small-space decorating ideas. She transformed her slightly awkward balcony (it faces her building's roof) into an urban oasis, thanks to smartly curated furnishings and plants.

    On the left is an Acapulco chair that not only looks impressive but is comfortable, too. Also, the seat is rated for outdoor use. On the lower right is a small table that folds flat when not needed. A machine-washable cotton rug lends something soft for bare feet. An old crate gets a new life as a plant stand. More than a dozen different planters filled with natural greenery or seasonal flowers add welcoming appeal. The chicken wire covering the railing is there to keep Schmitz's cat safe.

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    Solid Fabric Privacy Screen

    deck tiles on small balcony

    Shield yourself from wind, sun, and prying eyes with a solid privacy screen such as this red one seen on Alvhem. These screens come with little fasteners that make them simple to hang. Many home decorating stores, including IKEA, sell them starting at $15. Another IKEA item is the flooring (the same deck tiles shown above).

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  • 08 of 23

    Concrete Furniture

    teak deck panels on balcony
    John Kraemer & Sons

    Home features and decorative accessories made of concrete are a significant trend in home decor. Here, a chic accent table made of concrete adds a little grit to a modestly sized balcony by John Kraemer & Sons, a custom home building company based in Edina, Minnesota. Look at the chic wicker and teak club chairs, both of which are an elegant touch that elevates the space. Topping off the concrete floor are teak deck tiles.

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  • 09 of 23

    Water Hyacinth Furniture

    rattan furniture on balcony
    Paradise Restored

    There is nothing like the look of hand-braided natural materials. This tiny balcony by Paradise Restored, a landscaping company based in Portland, Oregon, features furniture made of woven water hyacinth. The chunky fibers add a pleasing texture to the space that is both rustic and sophisticated. It is no wonder that outdoor furnishings made from the material were a big hit on the French Riviera during the 1940s.

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    Outdoor Pallet Sofa

    Pallet sofa on balcony

    Villa Snow White / Instagram

    Becky, also known as Villa Snow White on Instagram, created a super inviting balcony that proves you don't need a stellar view to enjoy your outdoor space.

    A wood pallet sectional sofa with tufted outdoor cushions transformed the outdoor space into a cozy hangout. A roll of inexpensive reed fencing spruces up the blah balcony wall. A string of paper-lantern-style string lights (SOLVINDEN by IKEA) lends a little ambiance at night. On top of the wood tiles, which are also from IKEA, is a machine-washable cotton rug. Love the idea of greenery on your balcony but don't want to deal with daily maintenance? Inside the white planter are two hassle-free faux plants. Another item worth mentioning is the outdoor umbrella with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of more than 50.

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    Blocking the Sun With a Fabric Canopy

    balcony with paper lanterns

    Mora Korytowska / Instagram

    Interior designer Mora Korytowska shared her stylish balcony on Instagram. The furniture, made of acacia wood, is from IKEA's ÄPPLARÖ collection. Fabric lanterns look pretty during the day while adding soft light at night. The solar-powered lights in the planters provide additional lighting. Because Korytowska spends lots of time on the balcony during the day, she installed a fabric canopy with a high UPF rating overhead.

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    A Little Urban Jungle

    pretty balcony with plants
    It's Pretty Nice

    Indulge your green thumb by turning your balcony into a little urban jungle. This lovely outdoor space spotted on the German blog It's Pretty Nice is covered with beautiful greenery and seasonal flowers. Covering the railing are black flower boxes. A simple bench on the right provides a little storage space. The tiny accent table can also be used as storage when flipped over. On the floor is a black-and-white outdoor rug.

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    A Dog-Friendly Balcony

    Doggie balcony
    BarkPost Stories

    Got a pup? These tips from BarkPost Stories can turn your untapped balcony into a slice of doggy paradise. A white picket fence, an adorable doghouse, some synthetic grass, and, of course, a couple of planters filled with African daisies created the perfect pint-sized dog park for one lucky canine. Take a look at the building plans.

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    Inexpensive Outdoor Flooring

    small and stylish small apartment balcony

    Oliv Home / Instagram

    This bohemian-inspired balcony shared on Oliv Home's Instagram features a budget-friendly furniture hack. A thick duvet on top of a DIY wood frame becomes an outdoor sofa. Hanging from the ceiling are string lights and a bamboo wind chime. A chunky woven rug adds another layer of comfort. A roll of cheap reed fencing creates privacy. A potted plant on the window sill adds a dose of greenery.

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    Multifunctional Balcony Furniture

    Modern DIY balcony furniture
    Shape and Explore

    Handy do-it-yourselfers with basic carpentry skills can build this spectacular piece of multifunctional balcony furniture by Ryan Phyper from the YouTube channel Shape and Explore. The ingenious design combines plenty of seating space with both a bench and vertical storage. The vertical lattice structure provides shelving space suited for small objects and plants. The handcrafted crates under the built-in bench can be used to stash stuff or as additional seats or tables. Notice the soft, fake turf covering the concrete floor.

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    Layer With Small Outdoor Rugs

    Layered Rugs on Small Balcony

    Christine Cambring / Instagram

    Interior designer Christine Cambring recently shared her 'grammable small balcony. Check out the layered rugs. This is a great way to add visual interest to a dull outdoor floor—without splurging. She spiced up her outdoor sofa with textured throws and patterned throw pillows typically used indoors. If you borrow her idea, just remember to bring any fabrics not rated for outdoor use inside before inclement weather strikes.

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    Colorful and Classic Bistro Set

    Classic bistro set on balcony

    Sapriccion / Instagram

    Who doesn't adore classic bistro furniture like this turquoise example shared by Instagram user Sapriccion. Sets like these are foldable, which makes them easy to store. Even better, sites such as Amazon, Wayfair, and Target sell them in a broad range of vibrant colors for around $100 or less.

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    Beautiful Floor Tiles

    moroccan balcony tile

    Marrakech Design

    If you are looking for a permanent way to cover up an unattractive balcony floor, consider tile suited for outdoor use. Marrakech Design, based in Sweden, gave a client's outdoor space a chic new look with beautiful Moroccan tiles.

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    Paint a Concrete Floor

    painted balcony floor
    Sarah Camille

    Did you know that you can paint concrete? DIY blogger Sarah Camille faked the look of expensive tile by using paint and a stencil to makeover her enclosed balcony's slab-like floor. The beautiful stencil patterned she picked is called Outdoor Floral Lattice, by ArtMinds.

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    Scandinavian Balcony With Rattan Furniture

    plants and rattan furniture on balcony

    Gorgeous rattan furniture and pretty plants give this Scandinavian balcony, spotted on Alvhem, a relaxing and chic vibe. The small tabletop grill on the right is the perfect size for the pint-sized space.

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    Kiddie Pool on a Balcony

    kiddie pool on a balcony

    Studio Sarah Lou

    We truly believe that people should personalize their living spaces with things they will love using. Our favorite example is the kiddie pool that photographer Sarah Ackerman added to her NYC balcony. It's an inexpensive idea that boosted her home enjoyment.

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    Go With Durable Outdoor Furniture

    weather proof balcony furniture
    Ikea Ideas

    If you live in a small apartment or house, chances are you do not have room to store balcony furniture during the fall and winter months. The good news is, some types of outdoor furniture can stay outside all year. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for weatherproof pieces:

    • Wood: Outdoor furniture made of woods like teak, cedar, or redwood is naturally rot-resistant. Treating items made from these materials with waterproof sealer will enhance their weather-resistant properties and prevent graying of the wood.
    • Synthetic wicker: Faux wicker typically is made with weatherproof polypropylene, which is a type of plastic that stands up to moisture and extreme temperatures.
    • Furniture covers: When you are not using your balcony, water-repellent covers will help to protect your outdoor furniture year-round.
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    A Balcony Table Doesn't Use Floor Space

    balkon bar on balcony railing
    Balkon Bar

    When there is no room to spare for a table in your super tiny outdoor space, a shelf that you can attach to a balcony railing can be a handy feature. That is why Arjen Spijkerman and Daan Meijners, based in Amsterdam, created the Balkon Bar. It creates the perfect spot to park your drinks or an outdoor dinner.