A balcony is often the most coveted aspect of a house, especially if you live in a concrete jungle. After a long tiring day, it may seem like the perfect airy oasis of serenity, where you can unwind and be yourself. And if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by natural beauty, then spending some time on the balcony can rejuvenate your senses.
Balconies are also great spots for chatting cozily with friends or lazing around with a book and a cup of coffee. Even if you have a small or narrow balcony, the space can be intelligently utilised to do tons of stuff! And more importantly, you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket for a charming makeover. Take a look at these creative ideas to get going.
Strictly speaking, a terrace is an open area on the flat roof of a house. But your balcony can work equally well if it is uncovered. All you need to do is add some comfy outdoor furniture and maybe a potted plant or two. Furniture made from rattan, cane or wrought iron, will be most suitable. Fancy lights can be installed to create the mood or ambiance you desire for evenings.
If you are short on space, pick foldable tables and chairs and attach slim planters to the balcony railing. If the weather is dry and warm, using plush rugs and some vibrant cushions, or beanbags, can be a wonderful alternative too. Relish the warmth of the winter sun or feel a balmy breeze blow over you, with equal gusto.
An uncovered balcony can pose a bit of a problem during the scorching hot months or rainy seasons. So cover it with a durable sunroof which allows the optimal amount of heat and light to reach you and keeps rain away.
Is your balcony narrow and you are worried that the rain may get to your furniture? Place only a single long sofa or bench, away from the edge of the balcony so that it is well inside under the sunroof. The roof will also enhance your privacy if you live in a multi-storey apartment. And the space can be used for storing extra items which you don’t want your neighbours to see.
Don’t have the space for a conventional private garden? Transform your balcony with the colours, forms and scents of gorgeous plants. Depending on how much space is available, introduce potted varieties or big planters. Go for an innovative vertical garden wall if there is a dearth of space, as shown in the above image of a project by BC Arquitetos, architects from Rio de Janeiro. Note how the wooden cladding offers a stylish setting for the greenery and also complements the flooring.
While choosing the plants, make sure that they will thrive in the climate you live in, and the amount of light your balcony receives. If you feel that you won’t be unable to devote enough time or effort for maintenance, opt for tough varieties like bamboo, self-watering systems etc.
You need at least a modest patch of land to grow vegetables right? No, wrong! Under the right conditions, you can grow eggplants, tomatoes, beans, radishes, peppers, onions and more, on your balcony. Just ensure that the plants receive the right amounts of light and nutrients. Herbs such as basil, parsley, coriander, thyme and oregano can also be grown when done correctly. Get in touch with a reputed nursery or garden centre for detailed advice.
If your available space is less, avoid growing large plants. Try growing veggies in pots hung against the balcony wall. A trellis-like structure can be set against the wall too, to grow creepers like cucumbers, squash, pole beans etc. So now there’s nothing to stop you from eating fresh and healthy!
When you feel the first chill in the air, you know that it is time to bring out all the winter items and start stashing away all the summer odds and ends. Articles like summer outdoor and camping gear, sports and games equipment, and even shoes have to be stored properly. But if space is a concern inside your apartment, consider your balcony as a smart storage opportunity. For this, choose multipurpose furniture which can be used for seating and storing things as well. Ottoman storage boxes or customised benches with space underneath are wise options.
You may already know that the sun is a renewable source of energy, and it is not likely to get exhausted very soon! And solar panels efficiently harness the solar heat and energy for numerous purposes on earth. So why suffer from ever increasing utility bills, when you can start generating your own energy?
The panels are designed to concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity, which can be used for powering your lights and all domestic appliances. In the above image you can see how the panels are installed on the roof of a house. Similarly, if your balcony also receives sufficient, unobstructed light from the sun for the major part of the day, solar panels can be set up there too.
A solar panel installation professional will be able to determine how many panels you will need for producing the amount of electricity you require. He can also suggest the perfect spot on your balcony where the maximum heat and energy can be captured. Once installed, these panels last for many years and can drastically reduce what you pay to the power supply office every month.
Finally, it goes without saying that your balcony has immense possibilities. It can be your sanctuary, or party zone or a utilitarian corner of your house. And if it is sufficiently large, you can decide to introduce more than one of the ideas mentioned above. Go through this ideabook for more inspirations - 5 Small Balcony Design Ideas