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  • Writer's pictureNina Melillo

How To Decorate A Balcony – Tips For Beginners

Updated: Nov 13, 2023


A comfortable L shaped couch surrounded by soothing plants

Everyone is looking for their own outdoor space. Calm and serenity settles in when you’re sitting on a balcony overlooking a beautiful vista. But what if you don’t have a beautiful vista? Here are some ways to spruce up a balcony and make it your perfect hideaway oasis. Learn how to decorate a balcony using plants, flowers and so much more.


(Some of the links within this post are affiliate links on which I receive a small compensation from the sale of certain items.)


Repurpose Your Space – Decide How You’d Like To Use It


If you’re one of the lucky ones who live in an apartment and have a balcony, I’m sure you’ll want to create the perfect escape for yourself. But first you have to decide what the space will be used for. Would you like an area for meditation, yoga, dining and/or sipping that cup of coffee or glass of wine, or just need a space for a quiet read? Or perhaps you want it for all those purposes! Whatever your objectives, you have to consider a few things.


Sun Orientation


Before you do anything, determine the orientation of your balcony and then decide when you get direct sunlight. Refer to Gardening Ideas For Beginners to understand sun orientation. Once that is decided, consider what type of sun block you will need, if any. Choose plants, curtains, or trellises if you need to block direct sunlight. Select plants according to the sun requirements on the tag of the plant and match them to the orientation of your balcony.

Size – Measure the Area and Consider These Ideas


How big is your balcony? Can you comfortably fit a bistro table with 2 chairs, a larger table for 4, or perhaps a small couch for lounging? The size of your area will dictate the kind of space you can create. If your area seems small, don’t despair. There are ways to fit a few themes or groupings into a small area. You just have to use your imagination and repurpose your items.


For instance, a small coffee table can be used for a cozy seating area or substituted for a dining table. An old trunk protected with polyurethane can be repurposed and used as a table and/or a container for cushions or garden tools. Extra large throw pillows are great for relaxing or having a picnic meal on the floor.


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A U shaped counter attached to a balcony railing

Install a U – shaped ledge over the railing and use it as a bar, table for eating, or to support pots of flowers to cover an unsightly view. Perhaps you can use a hanging folding table (Amazon) over your railing to maximize your space.


Once you have decided what large pieces you’d like to add to your balcony, create a rough drawing using grid paper. Each square can represent a half a foot or a foot depending on the size of the area. Sketch the objects onto the paper and see which sizes will fit in the space. From there, you can begin purchasing some items.


View


Do you have a pleasant view? If yes, that’s wonderful! If not, you may want to consider ways to create a view. You may not be able to change what you see as you look out from your balcony, but you can add things to the side or ceilings (if you have one) to distract you from the unchangeable view.


Some suggestions include adding a trellis or lattice to the sides of the balcony. A typical white lattice can be bought from Home Depot, or you can also purchase a wooden or metal trellis. Then add some climbing plants in pots beneath the lattice and train your plants to climb by gently attaching the tiny tendrils to the lattice. Once the plant attaches to the lattice, you will not have to guide it any more.


Some climbing plants for a sunny area are clematis (hide their roots from the sun), bougainvillea, Virginia creeper (fast growing with pretty red foliage in the fall), Mandevilla, black eyed Susan vine and nasturtium. For a shaded balcony, try a climbing hydrangea or a false hydrangea vine.


Other ideas


hanging flower stands


A fiddle leaf plant placed on a U shaped ledge to block an unsightly view

If you don’t want to use lattice, you can use hooks with hanging flower stands and, in a random order, add flowers onto the trellis.


ledges over railings


Place a U-shaped ledge over the railing and put large, heavy pots (so they won’t blow away) on the ledge filled with tall plants. Be sure your railing will support the weight of the pots. A bird of paradise flanked with fiddle leaf fig plants (Fast Growing Trees) would block an unsightly view. They also make balcony railing plant boxes for multiple plants if you do not want to place them on the railing.


hanging flower stands


You can also purchase hanging flower stands for the railings. I suggest planting tall flowering plants; either all of the same kind or a variety. Be sure you choose a color palette that complements your decor.


arbors


Another choice is to use a minimal arched arbor the width of your balcony, placed from the exterior wall of the living space to the opposite railing or wall of the balcony. Pot some fast growing, climbing vines and place them where they’ll creep up the arbor. Trumpet vines, climbing roses and star jasmine fit the bill. If your climate is conducive to grapes, how about some grape vines!


Think Floor, Walls, Ceiling


Floors


Moroccan tile covering a concrete floor

To liven up a drab concrete floor, place a weather resistant rug that would cover at least most of the balcony floor to hide the unsightly area. This softer feel is conducive to yoga and meditation and nice on the toes too!


Adding tiles (I really like Moroccan tiles) to a concrete floor is always a pretty addition. However, this is not as easy as it looks. Below is a video explaining 5 important tips when tiling an exterior balcony, including the correct type of tile to use. I highly recommend you watch the video if you’re planning on tiling a balcony, and hire a professional for the installation.



Interlocking deck tiles (Amazon) are another option to upgrade the look of your balcony floor. They are usually made of either a composite of wood and plastic or a durable wood, like teak. They can be applied directly to the floor of the balcony. They are relatively easy to install, easily removeable for rental properties, and cost effective. Here is another video on how to install these types of tiles. They are much easier to install than ceramic tiles and, depending on the size of your balcony, the installation could be accomplished in a few hours. These can be purchased at Home Depot, Ikea, and Lowes.



Painting the floor using a stencil pattern is another option to decorate your floor. However, this is a permanent change unless you’re willing to repaint once you leave if you’re renting.


Walls


Leaning lattice for trailing flowers

Walls can be decorated with lattice and hanging flower pots, outside ornaments, or pots with climbing vines. You can also decorate them with fairy or twinkle lights.


I’ve seen walls of plants in Spain that are also very appealing but be careful of a possible mold build up. You may be better off just hanging a trellis and work from there.

Sheer, flowing curtains made of waterproof textiles add a whimsical feel to the exterior balcony.


Ceiling


If you have a ceiling over your balcony, hang deck lighting or small twinkle lights (solar would be ideal) to create a peaceful mood in the evening. Try attaching hooks and hang some plants from the ceiling. Again, be aware of your sun exposures to determine which plant will thrive under those conditions.


If there is no ceiling, an umbrella equipped with twinkle lights inserted into a stand or a small table is quite nice. As an alternative you might consider adding a fabric canopy to block the wind by attaching it to hooks.


Multiple pots hanging on a wall

Furniture Choices – Think Waterproof


There are a few good choices to choose from when selecting outdoor, weather resistant furniture.


Wood


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Teak, cedar, acacia or redwood are good choices for outdoor furniture. (Amazon) They are naturally resistant to rot and usually come with a waterproof sealer which enhances their weather resistant properties and helps prevent graying of the wood.


Synthetic Wicker


This is a faux wicker made of weatherproof polypropylene. The plastic will stand up to extreme temperatures and moisture.


Furniture Covers


These are good to have regardless of what your furniture is made from. They are water repellent and will protect your furniture year round.


Garden Tower Project to grow herbs or flowers

Other Decorative Ideas


Here are some other items you can add to your balcony if the space allows and they enhance the theme or purpose of your balcony..

  • Faux firepit – wrap a solar string of lights around wood in a fire pit

  • Hang a hammock for restful afternoons or evenings

  • Add chicken wire to the railing of your balcony if it is not solid to keep pets safe, then add metal decorative items with hooks

  • Large plant stands that house multiple plants

  • Small Fountain – (Amazon) if there is an outlet, these are simple to install

  • Garden Tower 2(Garden Tower Project) there are many mini garden trays/ pots that you can purchase for either flowers or vegetables.

  • Whatever you decide, remember to use weatherproof materials and furniture to preserve your beautiful oasis.

Conclusion – How To Decorate A Balcony


There are many ways to decorate a balcony and make it your own. Be sure to begin with a plan and a rough drawing before you purchase anything. And remember to MEASURE everything – TWICE! Otherwise you may regret buying some items.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and learned something. Please share your before and after photos of your beautiful balcony with me. Also, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you.


Happy gardening and decorating!


Nina


bestgardeningforbeginners@gmail.com


www.bestgardeningforbeginners.com

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