So you’ve found your ideal apartment. Or maybe it’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but it’s in budget and it’s got a balcony! A plain, bare balcony that doesn’t look like it’ll ever fit in with your style. Well, don’t worry: no matter what your aesthetic preference, there are balcony decoration ideas that are just perfect for you.
There are so many options for renters these days, so can remake even the most disappointing balcony. You’re creative and innovative, right? You’ll find a way to beautify your outdoor space, and take it all with you when the lease is up.
Now, most of us don’t just embody one style—we’re a conglomeration. We take a little of this, a little of that, and mix it into something uniquely our own. It’s fantastic.
I tend to fall on the bohemian side of things: tapestries and hanging plants; little boxes brought back from Kiev or Tibet; and all the beads. But I have a splash or two of minimalism, and a bit of a hipster edge. You may find your look in the country beauty of old farmhouses, and vintage Parisian cafe tables. But don’t worry, there’s room on the balcony for all of us.
Start at the Bottom
Flooring is almost always an issue. With most balconies sporting concrete floors these days, the romantic balcony look is struggling from the start. Concrete can be so heavy-looking, can’t it? Whether you’re building a boho writer’s nest or channeling Julia Child, change the floor first.
Your balcony floor may have to stay concrete, it’s true, but you don’t have to see it.
For the Bohemian, rugs are essential. We toss them everywhere, pile them on top of each other, and create a soft, cozy home for our—inevitably—bare feet to burrow into. Thick, old, wool rugs are ideal, and can be found in flea markets and junk shops up and down the coast. Grab some well-worn rugs with a few bare patches for your balcony, and keep the nice ones indoors.
Rugs are also a fantastic option for the farmhouse chic apartment dweller. A long, oval braided rug will cover most of the concrete, and give a rustic flair to the floor. Or, try a sleek, black rug for a monochromatic, minimalist vibe.
Maybe rugs are just too cumbersome for your style altogether? Not a problem: there are temporary flooring options available to cover up balcony floors as well. Temporary wood, tile, and bamboo floors snap together, stay together, and are easily removable when the time comes to move.
With temporary flooring, you can get the look of a vintage, cafe balcony with ease! Or change your cement floor into a soft, homey patio. Temporary flooring can update your balcony to fit with any aesthetic.
Redefining Your Space
Now that we’ve taken care of the floor, let’s a look at the rest of the balcony. Mix and match from the style guides below to create a balcony space that works with your unique aesthetic.
Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to leave that bare balcony to its own devices. The point of minimalism is to make room for the things you love, and give them space to shine.
Turn your balcony into a sanctuary with an easy-to-build pallet chair. These chairs are simple and easy to care for. They can be large enough for two people but don’t look cluttered. Pallet chairs can be built to fit the space, which keeps them from overtaking a small balcony.
Tuck a pot of ornamental grasses beside your chair for a burst of green. The simple, clean grace of ornamental grasses are perfect for your minimalist balcony. These grasses give a cultivated, well-tended vibe, without requiring much upkeep at all.
They can keep your minimalist balcony from looking too stark, without breaking up the smooth lines or open, airy feel. Best of all, they can also create a great barrier to your neighbors’ prying eyes.
I love the idea of adding a small Zen garden to your balcony for a bit of meditative beauty. Make your own over-the-rail table, then add low sides and a thin of sand for an easy, mini Zen garden. Or, build a Zen garden you can step into.
Your balcony is the ideal space for late-night conversations, music, morning coffee, and typing away at your vintage typewriter. That novel isn’t going to write itself, but you need the right vibe to keep the creativity alive.
Don’t neglect your balcony while infusing your style into your apartment. A small, enamel-top table is ideal as a writing area or for those eternal cups of locally roasted coffee.
An ironic neon sign or two gives your balcony the cool urban vibe. Grab some signs for long-closed dive bars or advertising for brands you’d never buy and hang them so they shine out on the city below.
A niche coffee bar is perfect for your hipster balcony. You can make it small enough to fit the space, and you can hang obscure and slightly mocking hand-lettered quotes above the bar.
Now bring your typewriter outdoors in the evenings, drink microbrews from your vintage Budweiser cooler, and write for hours.
You may be an apartment dweller, but you’ve got a farmer’s heart. The balcony is the best way to show off your green thumb and country style.
Vertical Vegetable Garden
Most landlords frown on keeping a small coop of chickens on the balcony, but you can still turn your outdoor space into an urban garden. Look into vertical options to make part of your balcony into a vegetable garden.
Tuck a rustic table against the railing, along with a matching chair. Adding a few doilies or a red checked tablecloth would be adorable. By doing this, you can transform your balcony in to a country kitchen with ease.
Add some adorable odes to barnyard life. For example, an oil lamp and some cozy candles are a great addition to a country themed balcony. A breadbox to hold your homemade scones is essential.
When the garden is in bloom, you’ll forget it grows in the middle of the city. It’ll feel like a homestead far from the busy pace of modern life.
Do you have a bohemian soul? If so, you’ll be turning this little outdoor nook into a dreamy, gauzy, plant-ladened, fairy tent of a room in no time. You’ve already covered the floor with rugs and bamboo mats—now, take your little refuge in the city and make it magical with some globally inspired balcony decoration ideas.
Hanging pots of scented herbs and trellising vines are ideal. This is especially true if you use some hammered metal pots with woven hangers. Choose a variety of scents and colors. Nasturtiums, thyme, scarlet runners, and trellising mini gourds provide a diverse backdrop. Add some little silk birds between your hanging pots for a whimsical look.
Cushions and Crates
Ddd some low cushions or poufs for seating. Pile floor pillows against the wall, and make a nest right beside the railing. Tuck a battered wine crate beside your favorite pouf to store books and journals. Wine crates also make fantastic coffee or tea tables for balcony spaces, as they’re small, light-weight, and easy moveable. Tuck them out of sight when they’re not needed, or use them as trays to bring bevs and biscotti out of the kitchen.
No-one loves soft, diffused light more than bohemians. Twine some twinkling fairy lights around the railing for just a hint of brightness, or make a tiny altar space and load it down with candles.
Scatter a few shawls around for friends to wrap up in as you sit together talking and singing late into the night. This is a space destined to inspire great moments.
Everyone loves the look of old-world balconies, open railings, grated floors, a light table, and an effusion of flowers. If you’re look is more chic and open, this may be the style for your new outdoor space.
The cafe-style balcony is full of flowers. They don’t hang from baskets, though: they trail down over the railing toward the street below. Pick bright flowers like pansies, petunias, roses, and nasturtiums. Plant them in window box-style baskets and let them hang loose.
Woven metal outdoor tables—the kind you’ll find outside good cafes everywhere—are essential. The furniture you choose is what embodies this look. Paint them bright white or soft black for a classic aesthetic, bright red for a bit of flair, or turquoise for a Mediterranean feel.
Hang a French, Russian, Portuguese, or Welsh shop sign or two on the wall. Pick something fun and difficult to pronounce, preferably from a country you’ve got some ties to. Add a potted, red geranium on the table top and a small shelf of good books. If you have the space, a coffee bar or cocktail bar wouldn’t be at all out of place.
In this design, classic combines with an artsy-vibe to make a place Hemingway would want to spend hours in.
Putting it All Together
Take a look at your balcony and ask yourself what you’d like to see out there. Maybe you’d love fairy lights, hanging pots, an enamel table, and four pots of ornamental grasses. Maybe you’d love a farmhouse-inspired look, but with a few neon beer signs in the background.
Get inspired, and make a space that’ll feel like home to you!