There’s nothing quite like reading a good book and people-watching (or bird-watching!) from a balcony with a cup of coffee in the morning and a cocktail at sunset. And even if your balcony is tiny, there are tons of ways to optimize it so you can enjoy the fresh air as much as possible. Indeed, we rounded up tons of small balcony ideas and designer examples to help you make your own as cute and cozy as possible, no matter the size. Each one is different in style and use case, but they all have one thing in common: proof that size really isn’t everything.
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Camouflage the Railing With Greenery
This balcony in a home designed by Marguerite Rodgers feels warm and inviting, thanks to the throw blankets and cushions sprucing up the patio furniture. Greenery wraps around the railing to make it feel more connected to nature without obstructing the views.
Spruce Up Flea Market Finds
When in doubt, hit up a local flea market and repurpose some outdoor bistro chairs and a small cafe table. This pair of antique heart-shaped chairs on a small balcony designed by Tamsin Johnson Interiors are so sweet and look contemporary despite some signs of the weather. due to the new outdoor fabric-covered cushions. If you opt for old pieces like these, you don’t have to be too precious about protecting them from the elements.
Hang Planters and Wall Sculptures
Hanging planters, string lights, and wall sculptures make this small balcony designed by Dee Murphy the ideal place to curl up for a cat nap.
If you don’t have anywhere to hang string lights overhead, weave them through the gaps of a railing, as displayed on this balcony from Fantastic Frank. An outdoor runner, stool, and cushions warm up the environment.
Now’s the time to let your inner plant parent shine. If you don’t have space for a full-blown rooftop garden, your balcony is a great alternative.
Honor the Style of the Building
Designer Anna Spiro Design marries the modern elements of a high-rise with the seaside location on this balcony. Black oval-back chairs are just dressy enough and blue and white striped cushions bring a beachy, laidback but preppy personality.
A room divider can create the illusion of privacy if your outdoor area abuts a neighbor’s—as well as make for a dramatic backdrop to a homey seating area. Joshua Greene also included a console table to dress things up and disguise the fence.
To make your balcony feel like a natural extension of your living space, place a planter right inside the door. Opt for something a little dressier and more impactful than the pots you use for your outdoor plants.
Even if you have to keep generic pavers in a rental or in an urban environment, you can make it feel pretty and whimsical with garden furniture, an area rug, and lush landscaping, as Celerie Kemble did on this New York City balcony.
Opt for Low Maintenance Plants
Add greenery with low-maintenance plants, like cacti. Though this deck is small, interior designer Tamsin Johnson still added plenty of personality and color with rustic planters and tall plants that take advantage of the vertical space.
Pull Out a Rocking Chair
Only have room for a few items? A rocking chair is the ultimate outdoor seat—especially when strategically places under a ceiling fan in warm climates.
Use Different Flooring
Sliding glass doors seamlessly connect the indoor living space to the outdoor area in this beach house designed by Anna spiro. Though subtle, they’re visually separated by different flooring materials: patterned floor tiles on the balcony, and hardwood in the living room.
This balcony by Keesha Franklin of Halden Interiors is full of personality, with bold red-painted furniture, printed cushions, and modern white furniture. Because there’s no overhead structure, she also brought out an umbrella to create some shade.
Window boxes will do wonders when there isn’t any room for much else. Balcony blooms like these on a balcony by Gary McBournie will beautify the entire space without actually blocking the pathway to the door.
Install Safety Lighting
Though minimalist by design as to reflect the architectural style of the home, designer Joy Cho added a low-profile daybed for lounging and installed motion-detecting lights above the entry point (also great for enhanced safety!)
If you a spacious backyard addition to a small balcony, allow the balcony to introduce architectural personality but keep it clear of clutter and use your yard for things like entertaining and lounging. This balcony on a property designed by Madeleine Stuart is bare, except for a bird feeder.
If you don’t have a ton of space on your balcony, fill it with the coziest items you can find without overcrowding it. This deck area by Malcolm Simmons features hanging plants, comfortable throws, and layered outdoor rugs, making it seem like the ideal spot to sit with a cup of coffee and a new book.
An old wagon becomes a gardening display on this dreamy balcony overlooking the ocean designed by Kim Dempster and Erin Martin. You could also turn a wheelbarrow into a bar cart.
Install a Fabric Awning
Large-scale planters and a statement-making chair are all you need for a modern balcony oasis like this one by Arent & Pyke. A graphic black and white striped awning, terrazzo tile floors, and sleek white sconce that blends into the exterior wall won’t hurt either.
A little bar cart and lounger is all it takes to prepare this small balcony designed by Gary McBournie for relaxing summer afternoons.
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