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How to Make the Most of Your Apartment Balcony: 15 Decorating Ideas for Renters & Homeowners

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Will Southall

Will Southall

5 months ago - 7 minute read

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Warm weather, weekends, and days off work are ideal times to enjoy your apartment balcony. But when you make it the haven it should be, the possibilities are endless! Few people know what to do with their balcony to make the most of it.

Weekends with no plans can be filled with reading, morning yoga or a spot of gardening. In summer, you can enjoy an evening dinner or drinks with a friend in the warm air.

Even if you rent your apartment from a strict landlord, there are still so many ways to get creative and style your balcony to make it your own (without losing your deposit!).

If you need inspiration about how to make the most of your balcony, here are 15 decorating ideas you’ll love – no matter how big or small your outdoor space is!

7 Dazzling Balcony Decorating Ideas to Help You Make the Most of Your Balcony

To enjoy your apartment balcony in style, here are 7 awesome decorating ideas that can help you fall in love with your outdoor space!

  1. Jazz Up the Flooring

Balcony flooring isn’t usually very snazzy. Grey concrete can make an entire balcony look dull and boring – no matter how nicely you’ve furnished it!

Banish those bad vibes and find ways to jazz up your floor space. Add composite decking, tiles, or just an outdoor rug to make it feel livelier and more upbeat.

  1. Fit a Privacy Screen

If your apartment balcony has railings or shares a low wall with your neighbours, making it more private can make the space feel like your own.

Privacy screens come in all kinds of designs to match your ideal aesthetic. Choose something like faux Ivy if you like greenery or bamboo panels if you prefer a woodland vibe. For something more elegant and flexible, go for sheer outdoor curtains that you can open and close as you desire.

  1. Add a Hammock

Save space on your balcony and skip the outdoor furniture. Go floating instead! Hang a hammock from your balcony ceiling or between two railings.

If your ceiling isn’t strong enough (or you don’t want to take the risk!), opt for a freestanding hammock chair instead. It’ll create space to sit and swing – without taking up all your valuable floor space.

  1. Invite Wildlife

Provided you create the right conditions, you can enjoy tweeting birds on your balcony just like you can in a garden – even if you’re in a high rise!

Freestanding bird feeders, bowls that attach to your railings, or a suction-cup feeder that sticks to your patio doors can help attract wildlife to your balcony.

If your flat is on the 10th floor and above, you may need to give the birds some extra encouragement to make the trip.

Add real plants, colourful items, and a place for them to drink. The scent and mix of colours can help them notice your balcony and find it a pleasant place to visit.

  1. Light it Up

Most balconies have a boring ceiling light in the centre. But these lampshades rarely make an outdoor space feel warm and cosy.

Lighting things up with cute and dangly solar lights is a great way to spruce up the aesthetic.

You can hang a string of solar light on the railing or across the ceilings, get solar posts for your plant pots, or buy a freestanding patio lantern for a lonely corner.

  1. Add Plants

Just because you don’t have a garden, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the therapeutic benefits of gardening!

Adding plants and flowers to your balcony can make it a more peaceful, eco-friendly place that both you and the local wildlife can enjoy.

Even if your balcony is high up, bees and other bugs can still find the flowers they love. To encourage bees to find your balcony, choose plants like pansies, bluebells, lavender, or witch hazel.

If you don’t get enough sunlight on your balcony, choose shade-loving outdoor plants instead, like Ivy or Dryopteris.

Related article: How to style houseplants in a living room

  1. Paint

Most balconies have dull, concrete walls and flooring. But another way to make it look fab is with a lick of paint! You can add a splash of colour through your accessories.

Add colour to the walls or use stencils to create an eclectic tile pattern on the floor. It’ll look fab, and your bank account will like it more than investing in composite decking or privacy screens!

Just make sure you check your lease first to see if any restrictions apply – which is particularly important if you rent.

Painting without your landlord’s permission could lose your deposit, so read the lease or ask your letting agent if you’re unsure.

Related article: Tips to ensure you get your rent deposit back in full

Top Tips to Maximise Space on a Small Apartment Balcony

Small balconies don’t have to be bare to look good. There are some tricks to utilise the space and make it look bigger than it really is.

If you have a small balcony, here are our top tips to help you maximise floor space and make it feel less cramped and more fab!

  1. Use the Wall

When we think about decorating a balcony, we often just think about what we can put on the floor.

But one of the most under-utilised spaces on a balcony is its walls. You can hang shelves, planter palettes, a trellis, hanging planters or solar string lights.

Look online for some inspo wall accessories for balconies and make it part of your overall aesthetic.

  1. Go Minimalist

Less is always more! To maximise space on your balcony, go minimalist. There’s a common misconception that minimalist means having small things or lots of empty spaces.

But that’s not always true. It’s usually more about having 1-2 statement pieces that are large and/or bold in colour.

For example, choose 2-3 big plants for each corner or in a cluster instead of having lots of little plant pots.

Or, instead of having a table with lots of chairs, choose a wooden bench. It’ll be simple, practical and aesthetically pleasing.

  1. Install Custom-Built Furniture

Another excellent way to maximise space on a small balcony is to invest in custom-made furniture. Installing a bench or corner seating area that fits perfectly saves so much more space than a regular table.

If you build it right, it could even double up as storage space, too. For example, the chairs could lift on hinges to store your cushions or gardening tools inside.

Remember, if you rent, investing in built-in furniture may not be worthwhile financially, especially if your landlord makes you remove it before you leave.

It could also be a breach of lease since installing the built-in design could class as damage to the property or decorating without your landlords’ permission.

Related article: How to extend or renew your tenancy agreement

  1. Choose Thin Furniture

If you don’t want to invest in custom-built furniture (or your landlord doesn’t allow built-in furnishings), another way to save space is to simply opt for thin furniture.

For example, instead of block, rattan chairs that take up a lot of eye space, choose wooden or metal chairs with thin legs. Even if they are the same size in dimensions, thin furniture won’t draw as much attention as a rattan chair.

Related article: Renting furnished vs unfurnished: What are the pros & cons?

Rent-Friendly Tips for Decorating a Balcony

Decorating a balcony in a rental comes with slightly different rules than if you’re a homeowner. Most landlords don’t like tenants decorating – no matter what your style is. Thankfully, there are workarounds.

Rent-friendly decorating is a hot trend, so there are ways to get creative and spruce up your outdoor living space without upsetting your landlord.

If you’re renting your apartment, here are our top tips to help you decorate your flat’s balcony in a rent-friendly way.

  1. Check First

Firstly, make sure you check what you are and aren’t allowed to do when it comes to decorating your balcony. Your landlord should have been very specific about the boundaries for furnishing the rental in the lease.

If the limits around decorating the balcony are unclear, don’t go ahead with painting and drilling anyway. Check with your letting agent to ensure you won’t be breaching your lease.

If your landlord has said no to decorating, you can still make a specific request during your tenancy. They may not accept, but if you give them details about what you’d like to do, they may be on board.

If they still decline, it may not be their decision. Sometimes the leaseholder of a high-rise building will have restrictions over how you can decorate and style a balcony which will be outside of the landlords’ control.

Remember, if your landlord says yes to decorating your balcony (and it’s not in the lease), make sure you get it in writing that they’ve granted permission. Otherwise, they could dispute they allowed it when it comes to getting your deposit back in future.

Related article: A renters’ checklist: First things to do when you move into a property

  1. Avoid Drilling

Choosing freestanding items is always more ideal than fixing things to the walls. If freestanding pots look just as good on your balcony as hanging planters, choose the freestanding items every time.

While you can patch up drill holes inside the flat before you leave (without your landlord knowing you ever drilled into it), it isn’t always as easy to do this on the exterior of a building.

Drilling too deep into your balcony walls can damage the interior of a property. Depending on what material has been used for the wall, drilling can also cause water damage inside the apartment if the holes are left unsealed.

Unless you know what material has been used on the balcony walls and you’re confident you can drill into it without causing damage (or breaching your lease), stick to freestanding furnishings wherever you can.

Related article: How to deal with black mould in a rental

  1. Choose Removable Flooring

Some landlords don’t mind you decorating their apartment balconies – especially if it adds value to their property.

But just remember that if you invest in expensive tiles for the balcony, you’ll be investing money that you won’t see any financial return from.

If you’re renting, it’s best to stick to removable floorings, like composite decking that can be unclasped easily. You can then take it with you to your next rental or sell it to get your money back.

That way, you won’t be losing money or making your landlord extra cash when they sell.

Related article: Everything you need to know about end of tenancy cleaning

About to Rent a New Home?

If you’re preparing to move to a new rental, have you already started saving to pay for your tenancy deposit? At Fronted, we know that making an upfront cash payment can be tricky – especially if you have to pay your new deposit upfront before getting any of your old ones back.

Lifetime Deposits are a perfect solution for renters like you where your deposit moves home with you. Check out how our Lifetime Deposits work, or sign up to get yours.

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Will Southall

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Will Southall

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