By Becky Harris, Houzz
If you’ve ever lived in a high-rise with no access to outdoor space, you know the value of even the smallest of balconies. Letting a good balcony go to waste is a shame. If you have one but find you never go out there, ask yourself why. Uncomfortable furniture? Claustrophobic privacy wall? No privacy? Lack of plant life? If you still can’t put your finger on it, take a look at the following list — hopefully it will help you figure out what you need and inspire you to make the most of this coveted outdoor space.
1. Find a way to use it.
This Parisian balcony is picture-perfect — and, more important, functional — thanks to a small red cafe table and chairs. Modern gray planters keep the palette pleasingly simple.
2. Think of a balcony as an extension of the adjacent room.
One of the most enviable places to have a balcony is off a bedroom. It adds a bedroom reading nook, a place upstairs for morning coffee and a breezy napping spot.
3. Use walls.
Privacy walls along tight urban balconies can make the space feel confining. Here a privacy wall from the neighboring balcony has been outfitted to add interest via shelves and plant boxes. Objects and plants can be added to bring in color, shapes and pattern, making the wall a design asset.
4. Consider a vertical garden.
Likewise, today’s vertical garden technology can allow you to bring in plants when there wouldn’t otherwise be room for them.
5. Show off your personal style.
You can still put your design stamp on even the smallest of spaces. This colorful balcony is full of eclectic touches, like a variety of bright pots, a boldly patterned tablecloth, a mix of chairs and even a pink flamingo.
6. Find a place for plants.
Even if you have a micro-balcony, you can make room for plants. Whether you’re looking for color or a spot to pluck fresh rosemary, there is a way. If you have only a few inches on a Juliet balcony, consider securing pots to the outside of the railing or adding a window box.
7. Keep balcony supplies and accessories handy.
Cushions, throw pillows, tablecloths, extra folding chairs, vases and trays all stashed together somewhere close to the balcony can enable you to gussy it up for tea in a matter of minutes. Find a designated balcony cabinet or a spot in a closet, or place a trunk near the balcony door.
8. Use lightweight furniture.
When space is tight, you may need to move chairs around just to slip by, or may want to turn them to enjoy different views.
9. Look for potential built-in spots.
On this balcony, a privacy wall doubles as the back of a long bench for gathering with friends or lounging in the sun.
10. Add pleasing aromas.
Lavender provides a wonderful aroma. Other plants like jasmine, honeysuckle, roses, clematis, thyme and many more balcony-friendly plants can fill the area with delightful scents.
11. Go beyond typical lighting options.
You don’t have to stick with recessed lighting or outdoor sconces on a balcony. The outdoor-approved options are vast these days. Chandeliers, pendants, floor lamps, table lamps, portable glowing lanterns: Any of these choices can improve the ambience on a small balcony and encourage you to enjoy it after dark.
12. Think about how the furnishings look from indoors.
If another room has big views of the balcony, you want to enhance them rather than block them. Here an artful statement chair by Patricia Urquiola adds a sculptural touch, while low tables keep the main view open.
13. Try clear railings.
If you’re building new or renovating the balcony, consider railings that will maximize the views when you are seated. Glass panels or steel cable rails are good options for this.
14. Consider a long, narrow console table.
Designed to fit in the most slender of entryways, these tables can be a good spot for storing gardening supplies, can serve as a bar or can display decorative objects and plants on a balcony. You can also tuck seating underneath to keep a tight space uncluttered and organized.
15. Find artful ways to create privacy.
Intricate screens let in dappled light and air while creating a sense of intimacy on this urban balcony.