Small houses and apartments are great, but they don't always offer us the most outdoor entertaining (and relaxing) space. Balconies aren't necessarily inferior to backyards, though – they're cute, functional and easy to decorate if you know what you're doing. With the right outdoor furniture and accessories, you can create the most intimate and cozy balcony ever. Need a few tips to get you started?
Divide and conquer
Small spaces need a little more structure than larger ones, as you really have to maximize each square foot. The best way to do this? Take a look at your balcony and create a few zones. If you're working with a long and narrow space, try using one side for comfy seating and the other for dining. If it's shorter and more squared off, try combining both.
Find its function
What do you primarily do on your balcony? Do you spend time reading with a great book and a glass of wine? Or do you frequently find yourself eating at the patio dining table with friends? Your layout should be determined by what you actually do. Think of it like a formal living room – if you're not going to spend time on the balcony, what's the point of decorating?
Do not disturb
Want to spend time with friends outside but don't want your neighbors watching your every move? Invest in a privacy screen on one or both sides of the balcony. The higher walls create a more intimate space while creating the illusion that the space outside your building is all yours.
Don't ditch your green thumb
You might not be able to grow a full-sized garden on a smaller patio, but that doesn't mean you can't keep any plants. Many people hang flowers on their balcony rails, while others use container gardens to add a little life to their space. You can grow fresh herbs, succulents, vertical gardens and more – the key is simply thinking of small vessels to keep all your plants in.
The smallest of balconies pose one major challenge: Offering both seating and dining space. In situations like this, you can opt for furniture with multiple functions. Outdoor sofas and coffee tables can be the main dining table when you have outdoor placemats and dinnerware, while bistro tables with throws and seat cushions are just as good for reading and relaxing as they are for eating.
Keep it cozy
On that note, making your balcony cozy is crucial toward its functionality. If yours is covered, try adding a few throws in the mix, plus plenty of pillows (and comfy sofa cushions). Smaller areas are inherently more intimate, and the more you play this up, the happier you'll be having a little balcony.
One important thing about decorating any outdoor space? It's not number the square feet you have, but the friends and family you fill them with. Late-night glasses of wine with friends on the balcony will be just as memorable as dinner on the patio.