Decorating Ideas for a Balcony

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If you are an apartment or condo dweller, it can be hard to know what to do with your balcony. Too often a balcony suffers from benign neglect, becoming little more than a place to park your bicycle and storage for large items that don't fit into your closets. But with a little planning, a few creative ideas and a couple of smart purchases, you can turn your balcony into a beautiful outdoor room in its own right.

Choosing a Layout

  • You'll need to take a good look at the layout of your balcony. Is it long and thin, maybe running the length of your living room? Or is square? Is it large enough to break into multiple seating areas? Move a few dining chairs or small lounge chairs from your apartment out to your balcony and experiment with different arrangements before deciding what type of patio furniture to purchase. Do you want to use your balcony as an additional place for entertaining guests? If so, a few small bistro-style tables and comfortable chairs make an excellent gathering space.

    Maybe you would like your balcony to be more of a private daytime retreat, a spot to relax on weekend afternoons. In that case, a round patio table with an umbrella will let you chill in the shade, and a padded adjustable deck chair or Adirondack chair will aid in afternoon sunbathing. If you are worried about outdoor wear and tear, buy furniture made of weather-resistant woods, such as teak, and make certain that the cushions are made of water- and sun-resistant fabrics. If it is alright with your landlord, consider painting the balcony walls a sunny shade of yellow, or else a cool Mediterranean blue.

Add Green to Your Hideaway

  • Plants, of course, are the most natural decorating idea for a balcony. A few clustered pots of flowers and herbs can add spots of color to a drab table, enliven a rough, empty corner of your balcony, and even help shade an unattractive view. Even if you have never gardened before, you can choose from a number of practically foolproof plants ideal for containers, such as impatiens, begonias, English ivy and hardy herbs, such as basil and mint. If your balcony has an ugly wall you would like to hide, low planters of fast-growing bamboo will both screen the wall and lend a touch of Asian chic.

Lights and Candles

  • Don't forget lighting, which is key for evening entertaining. If you have an electrical outlet on your balcony, you can hang a set of stringed party lights around the outside of your balcony door. Candles are another lovely, inexpensive source of evening light. Check your local garden centers for decorative metal lanterns, which you can either place on a table or hang from a hook overhead. Or, simply find a beautiful platter and set pillar candles of differing heights on top of it, and surround the candles with decorative stones from your local craft store. Now you have an elegant centerpiece for your patio table that helps light up evening conversations.

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