11 Ways to Elevate Your Boring Balcony

You can run, but you can’t hide from the dog days of summer. You can, however, camp out on your balcony to enjoy slightly deflected rays of sunlight while keeping all the cool comforts of home within arm's reach. Whether you have a traditional balcony that amply extends your living area, or a diminutive Juliet balcony, you can convert the bleakest outdoor space into a serene sanctuary. Just focus on adding a few of these 11 simple but striking garden features, architectural elements, textiles, or furnishings. With inspiration from our collection of favorite accents, your balcony can project an inviting style and ambience that you’ll want to bask in year-round.

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  1. Vine and Dine


    Create a lush, intimate corner in your balcony by adding a weatherproof trellis with climbers like black-eyed Susan vine, sweet pea, or cup and saucer plant. A space-saving trellis can convey the majesty of Mother Nature, even in the notoriously tight confines of apartment or condo balconies.

    Designed by Paul Gleicher, founding principal of Gleicher Design - Architecture & Interiors

  2. Go Out on a Limb


    Overgrowth causes some gardeners to go green at the gills. On a balcony, however, a restrained pruning strategy that encourages overgrowth can help create a protective canopy of foliage that offers shade and shields your balcony floor from heat-related damage. Pile in a few large potted plants, and you won't even miss the ground-floor garden.

    Modern House Architects

  3. Take Cover


    Transform your balcony from an austere space into a luxe extension of any room by draping curtains over the rails of the balcony. Choose rot-resistant curtains, whether in demure solids or fanciful tapestries, to lend longevity and a little bohemian charm—not to mention privacy—to your outdoor living.


  4. Cut a Rug


    Give your balcony floor the red-carpet treatment with textiles and rugs—modern motifs for a contemporary vibe, jute and sisal rugs for natural flair, or artificial grass rugs for vibrant verdure. Whether you choose flat-woven or plush, a textile will really warm the space. Just ensure that your covering dries out between rains to prevent water damage to your balcony floor.

    Related: 10 Doable Designs for a DIY Rug


  5. Color It Beautiful


    A balcony floor in wood or earthen tones has a disappearing effect, blending into your home’s surroundings. Embolden your balcony floor’s natural finish with anti-slip exterior paint in charismatic colors or playful patterns that command the space.

    Related: Refresh Your Home with 8 Outdoor Paint Projects


  6. Beam with Pride


    Dress your balcony from head to toe by appending a rustic pergola or arbor that creates the illusion that your balcony is a secluded passageway. The sturdy crossbeams of the pergola form an openwork roof that is ideal for both training climbing vines and blocking harsh sunlight.

    flickr.com /via Anne-Lise Heinrichs

  7. Aim High


    Do you have a cramped space that you're longing to grow? Take your garden to the next level by stacking pots on a tall shelving unit to establish your very own vertical container garden. Stick with neutral shelves to intensify the vibrant effect of the potted plants, whether delectable edibles like salad greens or beautiful blooms like zinnias.

    Related: Growing Up—10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens


  8. Return to the Fold


    Don't set limits on your balcony by designating it a sunroom or reading nook. Instead, convert your balcony into a multipurpose room by furnishing it with collapsible furniture that is as dynamic as your interests. Folding tables and chairs can create the impression of palatial dimensions in cozy quarters.

    Related: Buy or DIY—8 Instant Seating Ideas for a Full House


  9. Set Concrete Goals


    Transform a homely balcony into a homey hot spot by covering barren walls with lively textures and greenery. Overlaying concrete walls—or a wrought-iron railing, if you have that instead—with reed fencing will transport you and your guests to a tropical paradise that you can further soften and shade with lattice blinds. 


  10. Cleanse the Pallet


    Wooden shipping pallets are a DIYer's blank canvas; their durability and versatility encourage outside-the-box resourcefulness. Try using pallets in good condition to cover unsightly stains on stark concrete balcony walls and floors. Once you've achieved an allover rustic, reclaimed-wood finish, put extra pallets to work by constructing custom furnishings to match.


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