Living in a city apartment, your balcony or small garden level patio area may be the only outdoor space to still enjoy some fresh air and starlight twinkling against the backdrop of city lights. You value this space and you want it to be both stylish and functional for real life.
While it can be challenging to create your perfect patio setting in a small outdoor space, it’s certainly not impossible. With a little planning, creativity, and thinking “outside the box,” these spaces can become a cozy oasis. Let Christy Sports Patio help with some tips to design a patio that is stylish, comfortable, and perfect for summer . . .
- Organize and Optimize Available Space
The first and most important thing to do before proceeding with any design decision is to estimate the space you actually have available. Then, determine how you intend to use that space: Are you looking for a work space, a lounge space to entertain guests, a play area for small children, or simply a spot to enjoy a morning coffee or evening cocktail? Once you have determined how much space you have and how to utilize that space, you are now ready to choose pieces that will fit.
- Cozy Up That Space
Cover concrete patio floors with wood tiles, outdoor rugs, a few outdoor plants for privacy, and some decorative elements to make it pretty. When considering outdoor rugs, add color patterns and textures that compliment your outdoor area, making it great for defining small seating and dining sections.
- Bring the Indoors Out
Treat your outdoor space like you would your indoor space. Your balcony or patio should feel as comfortable and be as inviting as your indoor spaces are. If you have outdoor patio furniture, add lots of cushions and pillows. Remember, comfort is key! When selecting pillows for your outdoor sofa and chairs, have some fun and experiment with color and mix patterns – prints you would typically shy away from indoors often feel right at home outside. You can also turn your balcony / patio area into a beach-like retreat simply by adding a comfy bench piled high with cushions and pillows, and hang a hammock.
- Streamline Furniture
As a handy tip, keep patio furniture low and streamlined. Not only does this prevent blocking the sightlines, but it also keeps the patio looking and feeling spacious. If you have room, a small outdoor sofa, such as an L-shaped one, can be a great addition to your balcony / patio area. Small side tables and a rug further enhance the feeling of being in an outdoor room. Adding a shelf is also a great way to create and conserve space without sacrificing floor space. If you don’t want to buy a sofa or don’t have the space, you can still create seating on your balcony / patio using crates with cushions piled on top.
A smaller patio area doesn’t mean you can’t have furniture. Maybe you can’t bring an entire dining room table outside, but you can opt for alternatives such as a small coffee table and a chair or two so you can still sip coffee and enjoy your favorite book outdoors.
TIP: When choosing chairs and/or tables, consider folding furniture for small spaces.
TIP: Consider “double duty furniture” such shelves with drawers, benches with storage to tuck away cushions or other extra items, and even side tables that double as ice buckets when you flip them over!
- Bring on the Plants – More the Merrier
Plants are essential to decorate a small balcony / patio area. Hang potted plants behind railings and on the walls to conserve space and soften the lines of the railings. Placing relatively small plants on all sides of the patio create the “feeling” of being in a garden. For visual interest, use different style planters in various heights and widths grouped together. Plant a mixture of annuals and perennials for pops of color. Consider bamboo plantings – besides looking pretty, they screen the balcony as privacy from the street below.
TIP: Avoid using too much floor space – do not overcrowd it! Instead, devise ways to effectively utilize vertical space such using plant stands or a trellis for climbing plants. This provides as much greenery as possible in a small space, as well as privacy, separating you and your neighbor’s balcony.
- Yes!! You Too Can Have a Veggie Garden!
Even in small spaces, yes, you can create a small low maintenance veggie garden with containers. Again, if you don’t have much room for floor planters, go vertical and use a planter with a trellis attachment to easily grow tomatoes and other vining veggies.
- Conserve Floor Space
Just as effective as using plant stands and trellises for greenery, you can also save floor space by elevating patio umbrellas and mounting them to the railings. Again, shelving with drawers provides that extra storage space to neatly tuck things away like plasticware, yet still accessible when ready to entertain your guests.
- Bring the Backyard to Your Patio
To give your balcony / patio area more of a “backyard” feel, you can bring an element from the “backyard” onto your patio. For example, those with children may want to consider a small inflatable child’s pool or building a small sandbox. If that is not your style, perhaps consider a mod fire, fueled either electrically or by ethanol.
- Create a Drink Station
If you can spare the space, outdoor drink stations are perfect when entertaining in a small area. Outdoor bar carts hold drinks, plates, linens, and more. If you can’t find a true “bar cart” that fits, think outside the box and get creative! You can use an old cabinet and give it new life with paint, and top it with a woven or metal tray to hold drinks and add texture.
- Light Up Your Balcony
A small balcony or patio area doesn’t need powerful lighting, but it does require a bright, practical, and functional solution. LED lights are perfect!! They are small, eco-friendly, and will save on your electric bill. Add a little extra ambiance to your balcony or patio with LED string lights or lanterns, as these can create a magical feeling at night. Candles are also a great way to bring a bright, warm touch to any balcony / patio.
TIP: Instead of real candles, use battery operated candles that still flicker like the real deal, but are much safer for outside use.
There you have it – 10 simple, creative ways to maximize your apartment balcony or patio to create a space that is both stylish and functional. Even if your outdoor space is so small it can’t accommodate much at all, do not get discouraged. The best tip here is to definitely think outside the box and stay focused on how to enhance whatever space you do have. There’s still time to stop in at any of our Christy Sports Patio locations and let our professional staff help you transform your patio area into your own outdoor oasis.