Apartment balconies and patios are covetable assets that allow you to expand your living space into the great outdoors. With the arrival of summer’s fine weather and the continuing work-from-home orders, a comfortable and stylish outdoor living space is even more important.

So how can you transform your apartment balcony or patio into your own outdoor oasis AND stick to a budget? Check out these cool balcony ideas and tips to get started!

Word to the wise: most apartment communities have rules about what can and can’t be displayed on your balcony or patio. A good rule of thumb is to limit your balcony and patio furnishings to plants, outdoor furniture, and décor intended for outside use such as string lights, lattice, wind chimes, etc. When in doubt, review your lease or contact your property manager before starting your patio or balcony decoration project.

Apartment Balcony Ideas on a Budget

No matter how big or small your space, you can put your small balcony ideas to work. By focusing on function and style you’ll be able to turn your balcony or patio into a chic, inviting outdoor space.

As with any space, a successful balcony or patio makeover starts with a plan. When brainstorming apartment balcony ideas, keep the following in mind, and you can’t go wrong:

  • Function: How will you use your outdoor space? Do you want to relax with a good book and a glass of wine, host parties and enjoy meals al fresco, or flex your green thumb and start a mini garden? Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. Putting some thought into how you will use the space will help you avoid wasting money on items you don’t need.
  • Style: What do you want your balcony or patio to look like? Are you thinking beach vibes with lots of pastel colors and nautical stripes? Maybe you want a bohemian look full of rich colors and textures? Or maybe you like a more modern feel with clean lines and simple, monochromatic colors? Regardless of the direction you choose, starting with a clear style in mind will guide your picks and purchases.
  • Budget: How much do you have available for this project? Establish a budget in advance, or things can get out of control, and quick. A budget will ensure that you make thoughtful purchases. Also, keep in mind you don’t have to buy everything at once. Save up for that special piece and add it to your space later.

Plan Your Space

When starting a new design project, whether inside or out, it’s crucial to plan. Measure your space, determine how you’d like to arrange it, and create a floor plan to incorporate your small balcony ideas. This will ensure your balcony decorations create a cohesive look, rather than a cluttered one.

You don’t need an architectural degree or fancy software to create a floorplan. You can sketch it on graph paper or use a free online room planner like Living Spaces. IKEA, and Wayfair also have 3D room planners that let you easily create a room using furniture from their collections.

How Can I Make My Apartment Balcony More Private?

Privacy is definitely a factor for apartment balconies or patios. Draperies or curtains can create separation from neighbors and provide some shade. Lattice or trellis panels are a sturdier option that will give you privacy while allowing for plenty of airflow. You can lace a lattice or trellis with strings of lights, hang small potted plants or herbs to take advantage of your balcony’s height, or create a wall of greenery with climbing vines.

Shopping for Outdoor Furniture and Accessories

Now for the fun part: shopping!

With your budget in hand, start looking online to get an idea of what items will cost and where you want to spend money. For example, if you dream of having an outdoor breakfast nook, you’ll just want to buy a cafe table and a couple of foldable chairs, a rug, and maybe a few plants.

If you want to create a chill hangout space outside, you might want to purchase an outdoor loveseat with lots of pillows, some floor cushions or poofs for extra seating, and lots of stringed solar lights and LED candles for ambiance.

Figure out how much you’re comfortable spending on each item and where you want to splurge. Then hit your favorite online or in-person retailers to make it happen!

Where to Buy Affordable Balcony Decorations

Thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets are all great places to find affordable outdoor furniture. Large building supply stores such as Home Depot and Lowes can be one-stop shops for all your plant and outdoor furniture needs.

If you can’t get out to shop in person, there are plenty of budget-friendly online stores with terrific outdoor furniture and trendy balcony decorations, including World Market,  Target, HomeGoods, IKEA, and don’t forget the perennial favorite, Amazon.

You can also look around your own apartment to see what pieces could be repurposed to use in your outdoor living space.

How Do You Decorate a Small Balcony on a Budget?

Now that you’ve made your plan and your purchases, it’s time to start decorating. Start from the floor up and layer to make the process easier and more organized.

  • Rugs & Flooring: Clear out the clutter, clean the space, and then position your rug or other flooring option.
  • Furniture: Arrange sofas, chairs, tables, and other furniture until you get the placement just right. Cool balcony ideas tend to center around a staple piece of furniture for seating.
  • Accessories: Finish up by adding in your accessories and balcony decorations, such as plants or greenery, pillows, lights, and wall hangings.

We Provide the Outdoor Space, You Add The Creativity

Thanks to these cool balcony ideas, you can turn your outdoor space into an area you’ll enjoy spending time in. From investing in greenery to adding twinkly lights, there are lots of easy ways to spruce up your apartment balcony or patio on a budget.

With over 25,000 apartments across Maryland and Virginia, Southern Management offers beautiful spaces of all sizes—balconies and patios included. Browse our apartment communities and talk to a property manager.