Residential Interior of 2bhk:  Terrace by ENTWURF

How do to I make the best use of my small balcony?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
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A balcony, as small as it might be, is a refreshing space that connects your home to the outdoors. Whether it’s to sip a cool drink and enjoy the starlit summer night sky, to breathe in the scent of flowers in spring or to catch some winter sun, a balcony brings you closer to nature. However, quite often, homeowners are discouraged by the size of the balcony and don’t know what to do with the limited space due to which it lies neglected. Today, we present balcony decorating ideas and tips on how you can utilize the available area to create a cosy and stunning space for you and your family to enjoy.

1. How can you optimise the space in your small balcony?

Balcony makeover - English:  Terrace by Studio Earthbox
Studio Earthbox

Balcony makeover—English

Studio Earthbox

The first step is to measure the space to decide on the things that it can accommodate. Most balcony design ideas include potted plants, furniture and décor accessories. However, not every small balcony might have the space for all of these. In such cases, you can get creative with organizing the space by using functional design elements, including wall or railing planters and folding furniture, among other things. It’s all about clever design that optimizes the space without making it appear cluttered. For instance, instead of a dining table, a small side table can be used to rest your cup of tea while you enjoy the fresh air. Similarly, if the floor has no space for chairs, you can hang a hammock in which you can relax or take a nap in the outdoors.

2. How to make your balcony appear larger than it is?

Residential Interior of 2bhk:  Terrace by ENTWURF
ENTWURF

Residential Interior of 2bhk

ENTWURF

One of the favourite tricks that interior designers and landscape architects employ in balcony design for small spaces is to use plants in different heights and sizes to create layers that make the area look airier. A tall plant in the corner of the balcony draws the eyes upwards, while planters hung on the railings or floor-standing pots add a lower tier, giving the impression of a larger space.

Vertical gardens are another great idea for including plants without taking up precious floor space. When accompanied by small balcony furniture pieces, they help to enhance the airy feel of the tiny area.

3. What is the ideal balcony furniture for small balconies?

When it comes to furniture, it depends on what you expect to do with the balcony space. If you want to use it for dining, then it will need a table and chair set. If it’s just for relaxation, a couple of lounge chairs and a small coffee table will serve the purpose. As we mentioned earlier, you need to measure the space to decide what fits your balcony the best. Folding chairs and tables are always a clever idea for balcony furniture. However, this will mean that you need to move the furniture in and out of the space, whenever required.

Among the other common outdoor balcony design ideas, is to fix a floating seat against one of the walls to save floor space. Alternatively, you can hang a swing chair from a hook on the ceiling, use wooden boxes with cushions or place floor cushions for seating. For a table, if nothing else works, consider hanging a customized semi-circular table top from the railing or fix it on the wall to free up the space underneath.

4. What are some of the popular decorating ideas for small balconies?

Colour plays a significant role in decorating a balcony. Planting colourful flowers and foliage can bring a cheerful ambiance to the space. Alternatively, if you don’t want the hassle of the extra care that flowering plants need, one of the apartment balcony decorating ideas that is easy to implement is to use bright toned pots and planters. Multi-coloured cushions on the balcony chairs or furniture painted in bold shades can enhance the style of the tiny space.

Get inspired by these creative ideas for decorating your balcony.

5. How to you choose the right plants for a balcony?

Depending on the species, plants need varied amounts of sunlight. It’s easy to get carried away by seeing small balcony design photos with colourful flowers and think that you can recreate the same look in your home. However, it’s advisable to choose plants that can thrive in the unique conditions offered by your balcony. The best way to achieve this is by observing the space for a few days to understand the amount of sunlight and shade in various parts of the balcony. Based on this, consult a landscape design professional or ask for suggestions from the expert at your neighbourhood nursery.

6. What type of lighting is suitable for small balconies?

inside outside:  Terrace by ZERO9
ZERO9

inside outside

ZERO9

Lighting is an essential tool for adding style to small balcony décor. While the space will benefit from natural light during the day, having the perfect amount of light can help to create a mood at night. Apartment balconies need privacy, so you don’t want the space to be too bright at night. Dim lighting with cloth or paper lampshades or lanterns is ideal. Alternatively, you can place candles on the table or in a corner to create a charming ambiance.

7. How can you protect the privacy in a small balcony?

500 sq ft Terrace of a private apartment at Clover Water Gardens, Pune.:  Terrace by Global Associiates
Global Associiates

500 sq ft Terrace of a private apartment at Clover Water Gardens, Pune.

Global Associiates

Providing privacy is one of the challenges of balcony design for small houses and apartments. The balcony is intended to present a place of relaxation. However, quite often the view from your balcony is your neighbour's apartment! The best way to solve this problem is to place screens at the right spots so that your privacy is ensured. Bamboo or wooden screens are ideal, as these natural materials match the greenery. Alternatively, you can trail a creeper or vine on a trellis to create a green screen to protect your privacy.

8. What flooring material is ideal for a small balcony?

Since balconies are exposed to the natural elements, the material that you choose for the flooring should be waterproof and hardy. Ceramic tiles are the most popular choice for balcony flooring as they are low-maintenance and affordable. However, make sure that you install anti-skid tiles to prevent accidents. If you plan to change the flooring as part of your small balcony makeover, consider wooden or WPC (wood plastic composite) deck flooring to add a stylish look to the space. While wood needs to be treated to ensure that it can withstand the heat and moisture, WPC is weather-resistant and durable.

9. Should you enclose your balcony so that you can use it throughout the year?

deck area overlooking the skyline:  Terrace by Interface
Interface

deck area overlooking the skyline

Interface

This is a question that most homeowners ask, especially when they live in urban areas where the air quality is not always good. It depends entirely on one’s preference. Since a balcony is intended to connect you to the outdoors, enclosing it creates a barrier. However, using sliding glass doors is one of the cool balcony ideas for making a weather-proof enclosure without spoiling the view. Keep in mind that enclosing the balcony will also reduce the ventilation in the space.

The purpose for which you use the balcony will also determine whether it makes sense to enclose it. For example, it’s common to have a tiny smoker’s balcony off the living or dining room of an apartment. If this is the case, then enclosing the area might carry the harmful smoke into your home.

10. Should you follow a theme when decorating your balcony?

Many simple balcony designs look stunning because they are based on a theme. The advantage of choosing a theme is that it helps to pick every element to suit the theme, providing a more synergistic design. Ideally, the theme should match the décor in the rest of the house or at least the room attached to the balcony so that the transition between the spaces is smooth.

Get more ideas on how to revamp your balcony to make the most of it.

Which of these balcony design ideas will you use? Leave a comment to tell us.
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