Many homes and apartments come with one or more balconies, but far too often these spaces go underappreciated. You may be using your balcony to store a bike or extra boxes. Maybe you have a plastic chair or two, or a single potted plant. Maybe your balcony is completely empty.
No worries! I’ve gathered some of the best balcony ideas so that you can make full use of this outdoor space. Whether your balcony is covered or open, whether you live somewhere hot or cold, you’re bound to find an idea or two in the list below.
Say goodbye to an empty, sad balcony, and say hello to your new favorite place to read, talk, or even eat. A balcony can be so much more! Take advantage of this outdoor space by implementing some of the ideas I’ve gathered.
Elements of Balcony Design
What goes into making a balcony great? Here are a few important elements to consider.
If your balcony doesn’t have its own lighting, you’re going to want some lights. This allows you to sit outside in early mornings or late at night. You can use string lights, lamps, or even lanterns.
No matter what style of lighting you use, I suggest using yellow lights as much as possible. Warmer shades are less attractive to bugs than bright white lights, and I’m guessing you don’t want to share your balcony with the bugs.
No matter which of the below ideas you choose, you probably want a space to sit. Think through the reasons you’ll be outside. Do you plan to eat on the balcony? If so, you should get a table and chair set. If you mainly expect to cozy up with a book, you’ll want more comfortable seating, like a couch, a comfortable chair, or even a hammock.
No matter where you live, plants are a great addition to a balcony. Do some research to find out which type of plant will thrive in your environment. You can get a few tasteful plants, or you can line the railing with flowers. The choice is yours, but plants are a quick way to liven up the space.
Complete your balcony design with a few strategic decorations. We don’t expect you to cover your balcony in art, but a carefully chosen wall hanging, a brightly colored pillow, or a fancy light can all help personalize this outdoor space.
You may want to start by choosing a theme, like retro, vintage, southwest, modern… anything to showcase your personality and style.
Balcony Design Ideas
Alright, now it’s time to get into some of the best ideas for making your balcony stand out.
1. Cactus Balcony Garden
Cacti are easy to take care of and look great.
One of the easiest ways to spruce up a balcony is to add plants. If you don’t have a green thumb or are new to plant care, I suggest using cacti and succulents. These plants don’t need a lot of water or care, and they can handle harsh sunlight.
Try to vary the height and size of your plants. This will give your balcony dimension and character. I especially love the classic look of cacti in terracotta plants against a white wall, but you can absolutely experiment with colors here!
2. Work Space
Mix up work from home by turning your balcony into a mini-office.
One way to use your balcony is to convert it into a part-time office. I don’t expect you to spend all day working outside, but working on the balcony can be a great way to change up your environment and get some fresh air.
You can create a DIY desk by using a small table. Make sure your chair is the right height so that you aren’t hurting your back, and add some cushions for comfort. If the sun hits your balcony too directly, you can add a curtain to block some of the sunlight so you can work more easily.
One tip for working on the balcony: bring a damp cloth with you. Before setting down your computer or notebook, give the table and chair a quick wipe down. This will help prevent dust from getting into your computer.
3. Mediterranean Balcony
A mediterranean look will bring you to paradise whether or not you live anywhere near the beach.
White walls, smooth angles, and bright flowers are all you need to begin a mediterranean-themed balcony. If you have a white wall already, you can paint the railings of your balcony white as well for a clean look that will have you feeling at peace and relaxed.
Add some bright flowers like bugambilia or roses and a couple of wooden lounge chairs. This balcony setup will transport you out of the city and toward your dream vacation.
4. Wicker Chairs
Easy, cheap, and weatherproof, wicker chairs are an excellent choice for the outdoors.
If you want to keep things simple, adding a couple of chairs is the easiest way to upgrade a balcony. When choosing chairs for your balcony, it’s important to make sure that they can withstand the weather.
Wicker chairs can stand up to rain and humidity, and a good wicker chair can last for years. They’re also a great option because they’re light and can easily be moved around the balcony to accommodate whatever activity you have planned.
5. Wooden Benches
Wooden benches are a unique way to bring personality to your porch.
If you want to combine your balcony upgrade with a fun DIY project, why not try making your own wooden benches?
One of the best things about using wood for an outdoor setup is that it can fit with a lot of themes. You can create a rustic feeling (logs around a bonfire anyone?) or you can bring in seashells and rope for a beach vibe.
Rough wooden seating will hold up against the weather. In fact, a wooden bench may even look better after a few months in the wind and rain.
6. Outdoor Hot Tub
Turn your balcony into the ultimate spa experience with a hot tub!
A jacuzzi isn’t the most practical option for an apartment balcony. However, if you live in a home with a large porch or balcony area, this is an opportune spot for a hot tub. This is especially true if you live somewhere with a view.
If your home isn’t super remote, you can use curtains to add a little privacy to your hot tub experience. You’ll still get the benefit of fresh air and won’t need to worry about dripping in the house.
7. Cast Iron and Mosaics
Your outdoor furniture should be able to withstand the weather without looking bad.
One of the best materials for outdoor furniture is metal. Metal chairs, especially ones made with wrought-iron, can hold up to the intense conditions of the outdoors. For added comfort, you can make or buy removable cushions which you can bring inside or store in a box when not in use.
Mosaics are also a great choice for an outdoor table. They look beautiful and add a pop of brightness to an otherwise boring balcony. Mosaics tables are surprisingly easy to make, so you can personalize it yourself!
8. Drying Rack
A balcony can be beautiful… or practical.
Most of these ideas feature pretty decorations and creative themes. However, I also wanted to include a mention of some of the more practical features of a balcony.
On warm days, you can use a balcony to support a drying rack. The sun will dry the clothes, saving you electricity from the dryer and adding freshness and crispness to your clothes.
You can also use this outdoor space to dry paintings and other art projects. In addition, you can work on crafts outside on the balcony, where you don’t need to worry as much about the mess.
9. Lounge Chair
Use your balcony as a place to rest and relax.
Whether you live in the city, the country, the mountains, or the beach, there’s something about stepping outside that can be extremely relaxing. Even in my downtown city apartment, I can always hear birds when I sit on the balcony.
A lounge chair is the perfect tool for using your balcony as a place to relax. Get a beach chair or a canvas rocker and include a side table to hold your drink of choice. While a balcony can be useful, it can also just be a quiet place where you can get away from the obligations of daily life.
10. Porch Swing
There’s nothing like a porch swing to make you feel at home.
Porch swings are a porch staple, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also work for balconies. Of course, for a porch swing you’ll probably have an easier time installing one if your balcony is covered. Alternatively, you could find a self-standing swing that doesn’t need to be screwed into the ceiling.
Porch swings are fun and comfortable and will create the perfect place for evening conversations and late night storytelling. Just make sure you have enough room that the swing isn’t hitting the wall or railing.
11. Outdoor Daybed
Change things up by spending a night outdoors–right from your own home.
If you’re looking for a way to change up your routine without leaving your house, consider bringing your bed to your balcony. This could be a temporary thing. Use an air mattress for a super portable bed and watch the stars right from your balcony.
You could also create a more portable daybed by building a wooden frame that can stay outside long term. When you want to get cozy, just bring out a foam pad and plenty of blankets to turn the frame into a bed.
A futon is also a great idea for this, since it can be used as a couch most of the time while transforming into the ultimate date night or staycation.
12. Metal Furniture
Your own balcony can be just as fancy as a restaurant with the right setup.
If you want to eat meals on the balcony, you’ll need a reliable table and chairs. We already talked about wrought iron, but a simple stainless steel table set can also be a great option. These chairs are highly portable and easy to clean. You can make removable cushions for added comfort.
If you want to make your balcony feel like an upscale restaurant, just add romantic lighting such as string lights or lanterns. A few plants can also elevate the space. When you’re ready to eat, play some romantic music and enjoy the view.
13. Classic Whites
Believe it or not, white is one of the best balcony colors.
Color is an important element in balcony design. For a fresh, classic color, consider adding elements of white. You may think this is crazy advice, since white is also a color that can show dirt more. However, when done well, it can also be one of the cleanest colors.
If you want to incorporate whites, I suggest avoiding fabrics which will get dirty and show stains. Instead, opt for metal and plastics that can be easily cleaned. You can install white tiles, paint the railing white, and purchase white furniture. Add an accent color or leave the look clean and simple.
14. Oversized Plants
Plants can fill a balcony and bring the tropics right to your home.
If you don’t plan to spend a lot of time on the balcony, you can still use the space for more than storage. Bring in large plants like palms, monstera plants, ferns, or philodendrons. These plants will fill the unused space and add an element of freshness and beauty.
By keeping these plants on your balcony, you’ll be able to enjoy the growth without sacrificing indoor space. You’ll still be able to enjoy the fresh air when you step out to water your plants, and you’ll be able to see your little garden through the window or from the street outside.
15. Splash of Color
If you’re all about color, make sure your balcony reflects that!
I love houses that tastefully bring in pops of color. One of the easiest ways to bring some color to your home is to paint the railings of your balcony.
As long as the exterior of your house isn’t already a bright or unique color, you’ll be able to choose almost anything for this accent color. This is your opportunity to add some turquoise or bright purple to your home!
16. Shade Umbrellas
Too much direct sunlight? Umbrellas are both useful and pretty decorations.
When it comes to spending time outside, sometimes the barrier is too much sunlight. It’s not always pleasant to be eating or working in direct sunlight. Thankfully, there are some easy fixes to that problem.
You can use umbrellas or parasols to create shade. These can also be brightly patterned or simple to match with the rest of your patio decoration. Another easy fix is to install curtains around the edge of the balcony. This will block sunlight, and you’ll be able to move the curtains throughout the day as the sunlight moves.
17. Elements of Glass
Glass elements create a sleek and modern look for your home.
If you want a DIY project, you can upgrade your balcony by installing glass walls instead of the normal railings. Pair the glass wall with a glass-top table or clear furniture for a sleek look your neighbors will be jealous of.
Glass is easy to clean with some window cleaner or vinegar, and it has a modern feel that wood and plastic just can’t compete with.
18. Stargazing Opportunity
Your balcony can become your own personal astronomer’s tower.
If you live somewhere where the stars are visible at night, a telescope is all you need to begin the transformation from balcony to observatory. Because you aren’t using the balcony all the time, you can leave the telescope set up to view your favorite stars and planets.
Add a comfy chair or two and bring out some star-themed decorations for a special night-time hideaway where you can forget about normal life and lose yourself in the heavens.
19. Balcony Couch
Why not get fresh air and be comfortable? An outdoor couch is the perfect solution.
If your balcony is uncovered, a couch may not be the best idea, unless you’re willing to bring the cushions in with you after use. However, if your balcony has some protection from the elements, you can make canvas cushions that can withstand the wear-and-tear of being outdoors.
I love the look of this bamboo couch, but a simple wooden couch will also create a similar effect. Add tons of throw pillows and a blanket or two, and you’ll have the perfect outdoor reading nook or cuddling couch.
20. Tiles and Porcelain
Many cultures have a unique style of porcelain, so this look is highly customizable.
Another option for making the most use out of your balcony is to focus on decorations. I love the porcelain porch pictured above. Porcelain won’t be ruined by rain or snow, so it’s an excellent choice for outdoor art.
Cover the walls and railing with pots and plates as in the photo, or bring out fun sculptures to display on the balcony. Either way, your balcony will be sure to turn some heads.
21. Hanging Couch
A porch swing is great, but what if you add cushions and pillows? Even better.
If you already have a porch swing, or aren’t sure if you really want to get one, consider this. A foam cushion and a couple of pillows can turn your porch swing into a porch couch.
This set-up is a great place to read, work, sip your morning coffee, or even just take a quick nap. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Your balcony could probable benefit from a hanging couch.
22. Flower Display
Flowers can brighten up even the most boring city balcony.
You may live deep in the city and ignore your balcony because there is no view outside. If you don’t have nearby mountains or trees, it can feel useless to spend some time outside.
However, flowers can change this! We’ve already talked about some other plants, but flowers are an especially good choice for balconies that aren’t particularly beautiful on their own. You can include flowers by setting out pots or you can make box planters and line the railings with brightly colored petals.
23. Cozy Seating Area
There’s no reason your balcony can’t be considered another room of the house.
If you have a covered balcony that is protected from the elements, take advantage of it! A couch, futon, or chairs can all provide seating for you and your guests. Include a side table so you can bring out drinks or snacks.
If your balcony is protected, you can even lay out a rug or floor cushion to make the space feel cozy. Add some plants, get warm yellow lighting, and watch this space turn into your favorite room of the house.
24. Plant Wall
There are so many ways to incorporate plants into an outdoor display.
If you want more than a flower box on the railing or a potted cactus in the corner of your patio, consider creating a plant wall.
There are a few ways to go about this. I love the potted display shown above. You can vary the types of plant and use matching pots for consistency.
You can also create a plant wall by planting succulents into a wall display. Air plants also make a great choice for a plant wall, since they require minimum care.
25. Rocking Chairs
Bring back memories of the good ol’ days with a rocking chair or two.
I realize that a balcony is not exactly the same as a porch, but it can capture the same feeling. If you want to make your balcony feel bigger and lose yourself in nostalgia, a rocking chair is the quickest way to do so.
A simple, wooden rocking chair will hold up to weather and last a long time. You can really amp up the nostalgia by including vintage decorations and focusing on a rustic look.
Here are several ideas for balcony decoration. Which one is your favorite? What does your balcony look like right now? I hope you love these ideas and are inspired to give your outdoor space an upgrade.