Outdoor Balcony Ideas

10 imaginative ideas that will revamp a small balcony

Even the smallest space can bring you summer joy.
Coastal style small balcony with outdoor lounge setting.Photographer: Brigid Arnott | Styling: Jessica Bellef

Clever small balcony ideas can take a cramped and poorly designed outdoor space and make it a beautiful nook to escape to.

Take a look at your tiny balcony. Does it serve as an outdoor room, or is it crowded with junk, dead pot plants, washing lines, mops and buckets? 

If it’s the latter, it’s time for a rethink. How you make this tiny space work for you can be the difference between feeling cooped up inside and the beauty of a balcony garden and alfresco lifestyle. Here’s how to get it done.

1. Plan and dream

What activities would you like to do outside? If your space is limited you may need to prioritise between cooking, dining, lounging and gardening but with careful planning, all may be possible.

Collect ideas and devise a colour scheme for what you’d like the space to look like by creating a moodboard. This will tie all of the elements together and help the space appear streamlined, even when it’s doing double duty.

Matching your watering can to your seat cushions, your pot plants to your barbecue cover might sound obsessive but it’s the key to small space style.

Wide balcony with seating area

Cane chairs, plus a rustic bamboo umbrella from Ha’veli, create a relaxed resort vibe on the balcony of an expansive home in Noosa.

(Credit: Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

2. Clear the decks

Literally! Declutter your outdoor space by removing dead plants, empty pots, cleaning equipment, old packaging, broken chairs and washing lines.

Leave the space clear as if you’ve just moved in.

Small coastal balcony with dining table and cluster of three pots filled with succulents.

A chair from Wintons Teak provides the perfect spot to admire the view. (Credit: Photographer: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

3. Clean everything

It’s a small space so a bucket and scourer may suffice to give walls and flooring a good scrub for a clean slate.

4. Consider temporary flooring

Laying seagrass matting or the latest in vinyl rugs can take the space to the next level and set a gorgeous alfresco scene.

Freestanding bath tub on an outdoor balcony with a sisal rug in the foreground.
A woven rug completes this outdoor bathing space. (Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

5. Rethink your washing line

Don’t settle for a temporary solution for something you do several times a week. Invest in a wall mounted washing line for the most efficient use of space. If you can’t achieve this, choose a sturdy freestanding washing line that’s easy to fold away and resolve to do so each time so the space is kept clear between washes.

6. Add creature comforts

Of cushions and padding for your bench seat, or a hanging chair that beckons relaxation.

Perfectly appointed for kicking back with a cocktail or two, the sun-soaked deck overlooks the landscaped grounds.

(Photographer: Brigid Arnott | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

7. Use the walls

If you own your home and/or building code allows, hang a vertical garden by securing to the wall. If not, choose ones with stacking modules to go against a wall. Plant herbs and potted colour that’s easy to care for and lovely to look at.

Decorative screens are a nice idea to decorate the space with colour and texture.

8. Dress for style and practicality

With a small table and chairs or a bench seat that doubles as storage. Choose a petite portable BBQ that can be packed away after use.

9. Shield it from the elements

Whether it’s the sun’s glare, wind gusts or the threat of rain, keep your balcony protected from the elements with clever solutions. Semi-sheer roller blinds can help block out harsh sun without obstructing the view. Tall, sturdy potted plants can help block breezes while giving you an opportunity to garden outdoors. Sail shades, privacy screens and fences are also great multi-functional ways to shield your balcony from Mother Nature.

contemporary deck wtih tiled floor and outdoor blinds
(Credit: Brigid Arnott)

10. Use it!

The more use this space gets, the more likely you are to keep it clean, tidy and inviting – and the less likely you’ll start storing the mop out there again. Invite friends over to celebrate your new outdoor room in alfresco style.

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