27 Small Balcony Ideas For Apartment Living

September 19, 2022 by Martyna Stachowiak in Home Decor

Even in the notoriously tight confines of apartment balconies, there are ways to turn your neglected outdoor space into a cozy refuge for relaxing and entertaining. Here are 27 balcony ideas to help you up your balcony game with some easy upgrades and decor tips.

Balconies are to city dwellers what yards are to suburbanites and country folk. They’re a bite-size piece of outdoor living to decorate and call your own. And since they tend to have stellar views, these small spaces can be a major perk amid a busy urban landscape. And yet all too many homeowners use their balconies as glorified storage units or slap a couple of folding chairs on them and call it a day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little bit of creativity (and Instagram inspiration), you can transform your apartment balcony into a reading nook, a meditation corner, or even an extension of your office space. After all, what’s better than taking Zoom calls outside if you’re working from home on a sunny day?

Trust us when we say this: we have prowled the depths of the internet to bring you the most Instagrammable and stylish apartment balcony ideas out there. So whether you have a Juliet balcony or a rooftop deck, there’s sure to be an idea or two (or twenty) here that will inspire you. Enjoy!

And for more apartment decorating ideas, check out these 25 Low-Lift Apartment Decorating Ideas That Look Chic.

Add Privacy with Vines

Fast-growing vines can shield your balcony from unwanted sunlight and nosy neighbors. Just look at this lush, intimate corner from @aletuladnie! For a dramatic effect, get hold of several trailing plants and let them run wild around your space. A trellis or wire can help support them as they grow, and you can even use them to drape fairy lights around your space for a magical touch.

Entertain Al Fresco

If you’re lucky enough to have a rooftop balcony, make the most of it with a festive setup like this one from @parvinsharifi. The view is obviously the star of the show, but the string lights and garden furniture really elevate the space. And what about that sheer curtain billowing in the breeze? We’re totally stealing this idea for our next outdoor soiree!

Plant an Edible Garden

Is there anything more gratifying than being able to step outside and pluck your dinner ingredients straight from the source? We think not. This neat idea from @mika_lavien_home shows us that even the smallest balconies can accommodate an edible garden. All you need is a few lightweight pots, some good-quality soil, and your favorite herbs or veggies.

Light It Up!

You should never underestimate the power of ambient lighting—just ask @girlandtheword! Hers has to be the most reposted balcony on Instagram and for a good reason. Twinkling lights cascading down from the ceiling give the space an ethereal, dreamy quality, while the clear glass railing ensures that the luminous cityscape beyond is still very much in view.

Use Vertical Space

Even if your balcony doesn’t have a lot of square footage to work with, you can still decorate it to the nines by utilizing your vertical space. Hang plants and wind chimes from the ceiling or balcony railing, or prop up a mirror or piece of art against the wall. A disco ball? Why not! Just make sure to secure it properly so it doesn’t come crashing down on windy days!

Stock up on Textiles

How to turn a basic pallet bench into an outdoor oasis? Textiles, of course! @olaliving_home added plenty of comfy pillows and a throw to her balcony seating area for an instant boost of coziness. And we’re definitely feeling inspired! If cushions and blankets are what your balcony is missing, this is one of the easiest—and most affordable—ways to upgrade.

Set Up a Home Office

If you’re working from home, there’s no reason why your office space has to be confined to the indoors. Make the most of your balcony by setting up a makeshift workstation. Fresh air and natural light will do wonders for your productivity, not to mention the amazing views you’ll get to enjoy while you work! A folding table, a chair, and a cup of coffee are all you need to get started.

Bring the Indoors Out

One of the best things about balconies is that they blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. So why not make yours feel like an extension of your living room by bringing some of your favorite indoor pieces outside? A vase of fresh blooms, some cozy textiles, and a few well-placed candles are all you need to create a style that will flow through easily from inside to out.

Take Cover With Canopy

Canopies aren’t just for bedrooms—they can work on balconies, too! This dreamy example from @domatorka.blog proves that a few yards of fabric, some fairy lights, and a floor cushion can turn a small outdoor space into a private oasis. For those looking to unwind from the hectic city life without leaving home, this is the way to do it!

Go Bold with Color

Nothing says summer in the city quite like a balcony drenched in color. This cheerful space from @happyknoten packs a major punch with its red-and-white color scheme and bold, geometric patterned rug. We love how the colors reference the surrounding architecture—a pro tip if you’re ever feeling stuck on how to style your outdoor space!

Say Yes to Bamboo Screens

If privacy is a concern for you, consider adding bamboo screens around the perimeter of your space. @strefa.agnieszkachlebda used them to create a secluded corner where she can cozy up with a book and be mindful without distractions. Notice how the horizontal striped rug visually expands the space, too! Something to keep in mind if your balcony is narrow and long.

Pick a Statement Plant 

Choose one super-sized plant (perhaps even a tree) and use that as the visual centerpiece of your balcony design. It may sound counterintuitive, but a single big plant can actually make your small balcony feel larger, drawing the eye up and creating the illusion of more square footage. Tall plants help to create a sense of privacy, too. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Put a Lawn on It

Whether artificial turf or the real thing (like the lawn here from @re.dor), a patch of grass is a great way to create your own urban oasis—not to mention padding for all those bare feet. If you’re looking for DIY balcony ideas on a budget, this one should definitely be at the top of your list. Just add lush plants and some lighting, and enjoy going al fresco above the skyline.

Swing in a Hammock

Small balcony ideas don’t get much better (or more summery) than this! If your ceiling can support the weight, set up a hammock and enjoy some well-deserved R&R. Unlike a lounge chair or a pallet bed, it doesn’t take up any of that precious floor space and looks effortlessly chic. If you don’t have room for a full-size hammock, try hanging a macrame swing chair instead!

Opt for Folding Furniture

Choose furniture that can be stowed away when not in use. This way, you can have your cake and eat it too—a place to sit when you want it and more room to move around when you don’t. Think folding chairs, stools, and tables that can be tucked away when you don’t need them. Add a couple of seat cushions or a tablecloth to make them feel more like permanent fixtures.

Layer Your Lighting

With balcony ideas, the lighting is everything. It can completely change the vibe of your space and make it feel cozier, brighter, or more romantic. If you’re unsure where to start, try adding different levels of lighting to create a layered look. Lanterns, string lights, and floor lamps help create pockets of light that make your balcony feel warm and inviting.

Get Your DIY On

Outdoor furniture can be expensive, so if you’re looking for balcony ideas on a budget, try your hand at some DIY projects! This could mean revamping some old furniture that you have lying around or building something from scratch using recycled materials. Pallet beds, repurposed wooden crates, and upcycled coffee tables are all great options that won’t break the bank.

Introduce Curtains

For a private balcony that doubles as an outdoor lounge room, consider hanging a set of light and airy curtains. They’ll provide protection from wandering eyes (and the sun, if hung at the right angle) and instantly make the space feel cozier. If you want to take things one step further, string up some globe lights for extra ambiance.

Put up a Planter Wall

Speaking of balcony privacy ideas, try adding a vertical garden wall to create an intimate space that’s shielded from the outside world. Not only will it make for a dramatic backdrop to your seating area, but it’ll also give you a chance to show off your green thumb! Plant it with small, robust plants like succulents, herbs, or ferns that can tolerate being in direct sunlight.

Decorate Seasonally

Front porches and fireplace mantels aren’t the only places you can get creative with your seasonal decor. Your balcony is the perfect place to show off your holiday spirit! Deck it out with spooky Halloween decorations, or turn it into a winter wonderland with festive lights and greenery. Swapping things out a few times a year is a great way to keep your space feeling fresh and new.

Invest in a Plant Ladder

Balconies are made for vertical gardening, and a plant ladder can help you make the most of your limited space while letting your green thumb shine. Use it to display potted plants, herbs, or even miniature vegetables. Stacking your outdoor plants in tiers adds some dimension to your balcony. Plus, it’s the perfect way to show off your collection of pretty planters!

Lounge in an Egg Chair

Is there anything more dreamy than hanging out in an egg chair? If you’re looking for some cozy balcony ideas, this is definitely one to consider. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a good book or enjoy your morning coffee while soaking up some fresh air. Furnish it with some comfy throw pillows and a blanket, and you’ll never want to leave!

Hang a Decorative Mirror

If your outdoor area is feeling a little lackluster, adding a statement mirror is a great way to turn things around. @my_hygge_my_home chose a round mirror with a bamboo fringe and hung it on an accent wall to create a clear focal point. It adds so much to the boho vibe of the place and has the bonus of making it feel more open and airy.

Bring Out an Umbrella

It seems that the perfect outdoor dining setup is this: a pair of shabby chic chairs (and a coffee table to match), a pop of greenery, and a striped umbrella to keep the sun at bay. This is one of those balcony ideas that looks straight out of a catalog but is actually pretty easy to recreate with some secondhand furniture, a few flower boxes, and a vintage beach umbrella.

Dress up Your Walls

Dream catchers and macrame hangings aren’t the only things that can spruce up your balcony walls. Adding wall art is a simple way to make a big impact in your small space. And since your balcony is likely to be exposed to the elements, opt for something that can take a beating and still look great—like Displate metal posters! As sturdy as they are stylish, they’re perfect for outdoor spaces.

Lay an Outdoor Rug

If your concrete balcony feels more like a dungeon than an oasis, try cozying it up with an outdoor rug. Not only will it make the space feel more inviting, but it’ll also help define your seating area and give your feet something soft to land on when you’re sitting on the ground. To take things up a notch, try layering several rugs on top of each other for that bohemian look.

Jazz up Your Flooring

Instead of hiding it under a rug, why not make your balcony flooring part of the design? For an easy (and relatively inexpensive) update, try adding interlocking deck tiles. These snap-together tiles can be laid on top of just about any surface, giving your outdoor space an instant makeover. Plus, they’re easy to take with you when you move. Apartment renters, take note!

Over to You!

An apartment balcony is an often overlooked space, but with some creativity (and some elbow grease), it can transform into a stylish and functional oasis. These balcony ideas should give you plenty of inspiration to work on your own outdoor space. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your own Instagram-worthy balcony today!

Are there any apartment balcony ideas we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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