17 Ways to Turn Your Tiny Balcony Into an Irresistible Retreat

Tiny balcony decorated as a retreat with hanging string lights, small patio furniture and garden plants

The Spruce / Cielito Vivas

Hey urban dweller, if your tiny apartment balcony feels more like a curse than an amenity, listen up. In many cities, even a modest terrace is considered a luxury. So what if yours is a small, blank, concrete slab with not-so-great views. With a little creative thinking, you can transform your bitsy balcony into an irresistible summer retreat.

  • 01 of 17

    Decorate With Patterns and Textures

    Outdoor textiles and rugs

    If you want your balcony to feel as luxurious as an indoor room, pile on the textiles. Layering cushy elements made of outdoor fabrics, like patterned rugs and plush cushions will make your balcony super comfortable. This outdoor space uses a mix of bold patterns and textures to create a tiny bohemian paradise.

    For the most bang for your bucks, look for pieces that add function and beauty. For example, a mosquito net canopy (shown covering the chaise) is a protective element that also looks lovely. 

    Continue to 2 of 17 below.
  • 02 of 17

    Candles? Forgetaboutit!

    Solar String Lights Scand balcony

    Sure, candlelight sets the stage for romance. But solar string lights also cast a magical glow. And even better, a cool summer breeze can't blow them out. Plus, sun-powered lighting is available in a wide range of styles and types from tiny solar tea lights to globe-shaped pendant lamps. To keep them charged just position their solar panels toward the sunlight.

    Continue to 3 of 17 below.
  • 03 of 17

    How to Fake a Campfire

    Faux Firepit

    Most apartment buildings don't allow open-flame cooking on balconies—not to mention firepits. But you can recreate that campfire feeling with a faux fire. To make, just wrap string lights around a bundle of decorative firewood. You can buy cute logs on the following sites: Wayfair, Etsy, and, Crate and Barrel.

    Continue to 4 of 17 below.
  • 04 of 17

    Room to Dine Alfresco

    Brooklyn terrace counterheight bar

    How can you throw a dinner party for four on a narrow 100-square-foot balcony?  

    An outdoor countertop and weather resistant bar stools make dining alfresco on this skinny Brooklyn terrace possible. 

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    Fake Garden

    Fake a balcony garden

    Just because you have a brown thumb, doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful balcony garden. This one was created using artificial plants and flowers.

    These days plastic plants look pretty darn realistic. Many faux options like tall grass, potted trees, and ivy railing screens will green up your outdoor décor while boosting balcony privacy.

    Continue to 6 of 17 below.
  • 06 of 17

    Light up Like It's the 19th Century

    Balcony lighting ideas

    Candle lanterns will light up your balcony like it's the 19th century When the wind blows, the glass panels will keep your candles burning. To display, you can hang them from the ceiling like swag lamps, or place them on the floor or table.

    Hanging in the corner are six IKEA ROTERA lanterns. They were designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

    Continue to 7 of 17 below.
  • 07 of 17

    Glorious Solitude

    Bamboo privacy screen balcony
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Don't let a so-so view or your neighbor's prying eyes stop you from enjoying your precious outdoor space. A DIY balcony screen like the bamboo fencing used here will hide the ugly and provide privacy. Most home improvement stores sell bamboo fencing. Cost depends on height and width. Prices start at around $25.

    Continue to 8 of 17 below.
  • 08 of 17

    Hammocks Rock

    Hammock on NYC balcony

    When it comes to summer napping, what could be better than snoozing in a hammock? The owner of this NYC apartment agrees. He says his hammock is his favorite hangout spot.

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    How to Conceal a Concrete Slab

    Balcony flooring wood tiles
    Deirdre Sullivan

    You can hide an unattractive balcony floor using interlocking deck tiles. It's a rental-friendly flooring solution that's easy to install and a cinch to disassemble. You can find tiles like these at the following home improvement stores: IKEA, Home Depot, and LOWES.

    Continue to 10 of 17 below.
  • 10 of 17

    Steal This Bar Cart Hack

    Rolling bar cart balcony

    A utility cart like the RASKOK by IKEA makes serving liquid refreshments on a balcony super easy. Just wheel it into the kitchen and load it up with ice, cups, mixers—you name it—and you're ready to roll. When the party's over, just pack up the cart and wheel it back inside.

    Continue to 11 of 17 below.
  • 11 of 17

    Wind and Sun Protection

    Balcony umbrella
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Spending time outside feels great on a glorious sunny day—until you get too much of a good thing. Items that protect you from the elements will make staying outside more comfortable. For example, an outdoor umbrella or canopy will shelter you from harsh rays. A railing privacy screen will block annoying wind gusts.

    Continue to 12 of 17 below.
  • 12 of 17

    Go With Faux Turf

    DIY astroturf balcony

    What's soft and green all over? Fake grass. It's an excellent weather resistant flooring solution for outdoor spaces. Most home Improvement stores sell it in rolls by the foot. Another good to know, unlike the older stuff, newer options are recyclable.

    This bright Pinterest user made over her balcony's concrete floor using premium artificial turf. It's much softer underfoot than the cheap stuff. After placing the faux grass on the floor, beach stones were added to seal the gap between the turf and railing.

    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    Go Ahead and Floor It

    Boho Balcony Ideas
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Don't have enough room for plush outdoor furniture? You can create customized comfy seating using cushions made of weather resistant fabrics. Outdoor seat and chaise pads are available in a wide range of sizes. Look for options with removable covers that are also machine washable. That way you can create an eclectic look using a mix of patterns and colors in easy to clean fabrics. 

    Continue to 14 of 17 below.
  • 14 of 17

    Turn a Tiny Balcony Into a Garden

    Balcony herb garden
    Deirdre Sullivan

    Noelle, the DIY'er from First Bar, has a small balcony that couldn't fit a couple of lounge chairs. So instead of enjoying her outdoor space, it became a dumping ground for icky items like trash cans. When things got nasty, she became determined to make the most of the itty-bitty balcony by turning it into a herb garden. 

    After giving her tiny terrace a good scrubbing, she used welded wire fencing to hang potted herbs along the railing. 

    Continue to 15 of 17 below.
  • 15 of 17

    Why Not Dry Your Laundry?

    Balcony drying rack

    Drying laundry is not exactly a fun summer activity, but it will save you money, which is a good thing right?

    A little rack like the ALGOT by IKEA makes it easy to dry laundry discretely on your balcony.

    Continue to 16 of 17 below.
  • 16 of 17

    Get Curtains

    Balcony Curtains

    Inexpensive curtains can add drama and privacy to a tiny balcony. These were hung on a first-floor porch using indoor tension rods. However, in urban areas, wall-mounted outdoor curtain rods are a better way to go. When properly installed, they will prevent your curtains from flying away and causing serious injury.

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17

    And When Fall Rolls Around

    Fall Balcony
    Deirdre Sullivan

    When fall rolls around you can still spend time on your balcony. Adding cushy features that add warmth like throws and comfy pillows will keep things cozy.