Minimal outdoor space needs maximum creativity
Both a blessing and a I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-it kind of curse, the small balcony requires some organisation to make it work for you. A balcony, no matter how tiny, is the holy grail for those looking for a balance between indoor and outdoor living, especially in the city, where full-scale gardens are scarce.
Over the last year especially, as we’ve been cooped up inside under lockdown, we’ve come to value our outdoor space even more. So if you happen to be in possession of a balcony oasis and are looking for ideas to bring out the best of every inch of it, here’s our advice for how to maximise a small (but mighty) space.
Make proportions work for you
There's lots of strategy behind decorating small spaces and narrow balconies can still play host to furniture, providing you get the proportions right. A small, square table paired with two chairs, for example, can make the space look much larger than it is. You'll also be able to enjoy alfresco drinks, or even move your home office to the balcony.
Neutral or nothing
A clean colour palette not only exudes a timeless sophistication, but also creates a superb contrast with any greenery. Picking hues that range between ivory, beige, off-white and even black will also make the your balcony feel and look more spacious.
Consider specialist furniture
Built in furniture is a fool-proof way of getting the most out of every inch of your outdoor space. Think suspended tables that seamlessly become part of the the wall and long benches that double as a decorative base for accessories like sleek lanterns.
Light it up
Good lighting is the easiest and cheapest way of adding theatrical flair to your balcony. You can play with all kinds of lighting solutions, like different sizes of candles and lanterns artfully displayed on the floor and furniture, or the tried and tested idea of fairy lights wound around the railings.
Fuse the indoor and outdoor
Another great idea for maximising your outdoor space is to blur the lines between the outside and inside. Think of your balcony as an extension of your home and have a cohesive design scheme to match. For example, introduce fluffy blankets, cushions and rugs that you'd normally reserve for inside to your terrace - just remember to bring them in when it rains.
It's easy being green
A balcony is at its best when it's adorned with plants, whether you have a green thumb or not. Think big if you love gardening (trees, bright flowers, towering ferns) and keep it simple if you're a novice: potted herbs, hanging baskets and hardy shrubs. In this case, more is more and there's no need to hold back.
Cushions deserve their own mention on this list as a versatile and fuss-free accessory that instantly adds texture and interest. If you're expecting a crowd of friends, why not try spreading cushions on the floor for people to sit on? It instantly creates a cosy and intimate atmosphere.
A little rug goes a long way on a small veranda, adding instant sophistication to a space. Cover the entire floor for a more unique visual or place a rug in the centre for an eye-catching centrepiece around which you can arrange the rest of your furniture.
You won't be on your balcony for long this summer if you don't have anywhere to sit in the shade. Even if you're a sun worshipper, you need somewhere to get out of the heat. Small balconies, unfortunately, don’t have the space to accommodate both a daybed and a sun umbrella, so consider a canopy, which will work wonders. Whether you make it from organza or even an old sheet, it will extend the amount of time you can sit on (and enjoy) your balcony.