Styling balconies can be tricky because you don’t want to waste your money on furniture and decoration that will just get ruined by rain or snow. Nor do you want to have to store everything inside during winter. Because if you’ve only got a small balcony, you probably don’t have much room for seasonal storage!
The trick is finding the balance between cute finishing touches (that won’t blow away!) and resilient items that can stay outside year-round.
With that in mind, here are some of my favourite ways to style small balconies and other outdoor spaces so you can enjoy lazy Sunday brunches, Saturday afternoon sunbathing sessions, midweek coffee mornings, and more in the fresh air.
WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR BALCONY
Lots of lighting
While you can definitely backlight a balcony from inside, it’s always nice to have some outdoor lighting options too. Not only will it help set the mood, it will also keep you safe after the sunsets.
I personally think every balcony should be bedecked in fairy lights of all shapes and sizes! Straightforward to install, generally cold- and wet-weather resistant, and super easy to properly secure to either your balcony walls and railings, fairy lights—or string lights—are affordable and charming. You needn’t worry about them blowing away or toppling over either, which is a plus.
However, you could also consider getting a patio heater for your balcony which comes with a built-in atmospheric glow. Not only will you be well-lit, but you’ll also be warm to boot—ideal for those cooler Vancouver nights.
Plenty of plants
Balconies can sometimes look dreary and grey, especially if your home is right in the middle of the city and all you look out over are…other buildings! Adding some hardy, all-weather plants to your patio or balcony is an easy way of brightening up your view from inside and making it look and feel cosy when you’re sat outside.
Plus, plants and flowers can help attract birds and other insects to your space, helping them to flourish and thrive in urban environments. Set up a hummingbird feeder or even a small birdbath if you really want to encourage wildlife to your balcony or get green-fingered with small homemade herb planters. Fresh produce grown at home tastes so much better than the store-bought options anyway!
Add some flooring
Adding flooring to a balcony might seem counterintuitive—won’t it just get wet and ruined in the winter? Definitely! That’s why you need to choose resilient all-weather options, like lightweight wood decking or cute sticky tiles that affix to the floor and are easy to peel up when you need to move. Adding flooring can also help tie the space together and make it feel much sleeker and chicer than it really is. Plus, you can build in space and gaps for planters or lamps, which will help keep them stable and secure.
Invest in a patio set
It’s essential to add seating and, if you have the space, a small table to your balcony. While lots of patio furniture tends to be made of metal, I prefer using a mix of different materials that are both textural and interesting. This allows for each material to play off of each other, thus creating a timeless look and feel. Colourful Acapulco-style chairs can also make fun additions to a balcony. They are quite sculptural and make a great asset to leave outside on your balcony all year-round. While they tend to be bigger and can’t be folded for easy storage like with many metal and wood options, you can always stick to foldable, lightweight options if you would prefer to store your balcony furniture indoors when its not in use.
Now, tables. If your balcony is too small for a standalone table, why not install a foldaway option on the wall? It’ll save space and give you somewhere to put your morning coffee or late-night wine when you’re actually out there.
TIPS FOR STYLING YOUR BALCONY
Make the most of vertical space
Balconies tend to be light on width but at least as tall (if not taller) than the rooms in your house. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of any wall space and overhead room. Adding wall climbing plants and even string lights overhead is a great way of making the balcony seem larger than it is while saving that all important underfoot space for the things that really matter—you!
Steer clear of busy patterns
Balconies are, by definition, generally quite small. When it comes to styling them, your aim is to always make them look and feel more spacious than they are—there’s nothing worse than feeling very claustrophobic or hemmed in when you’re very high off the ground, after all!
That’s why you’ll want to stay away from busy patterns that can make the space feel small and cramped. Instead look for neutrals and block colours in pale tones that are easy to wash. (Balconies get dirtier than you’d expect!)
If you have small children or pets, make sure you keep your balcony as safe as possible and never leave them unattended. If you have railings or gaps in your balcony, block them off with heavy bolsters or add a thin screen of chicken wire or mesh. This will also help stop other items from rolling off your balcony.
Also, make sure that none of your furniture is positioned too close to the edge, where a pet or child could climb up and over the railings.
What about when your balcony’s not in use? Bring anything that could easily blow away, break, or shift about inside. And consider tying your furniture to the railings, just in case!