There’s nothing quite like relaxing on your patio or balcony at the end of a long day. No matter the size of your apartment, having a private outdoor space to decorate and call your own can be a major perk in the midst of a busy urban landscape.

If you are fortunate enough to have the outdoor square footage, invest some time to turn your balcony or patio into an outdoor oasis that you’ll want to visit throughout the year. You can think of your balcony as an extension of your living room, dining area or even office space. After all, what’s better than taking Zoom calls outside if you’re working from home on a beautiful day?

Read on for furniture advice, decoration ideas and other tips that will help you expand your living area and enjoy more of the outdoors. From the right seating to accessories that will liven up your patio, here’s how to make use of your balcony space.

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Balcony Space

  1. Check the rules. Most apartment communities have rules about outdoor decorations, including what can and can’t be displayed on your balcony or patio. Limit your balcony and patio furnishings to plants, outdoor furniture and décor intended for outside use such as string lights, lattice and wind chimes. When in doubt, review your lease or contact your property manager before starting your patio or balcony decoration project.
  2. Go green. Create your own lush patio or balcony space with potted and hanging plants. Save square footage and take advantage of height by adding a wall of greenery, such as a lattice or trellis covered with climbing vines, and hang small potted plants or herbs. A lattice or trellis will also provide some privacy and separation from your neighbors.
  3. Choose space-saving seating. One of the biggest perks of outdoor space is the extra seating room, so be sure to make use of your apartment balcony by adding comfortable seating. Whether you prefer floor pillows, chairs, a daybed or a lounger, measure your balcony to make sure everything will fit before committing to a purchase. To really maximize your square footage, consider an outdoor bench or coffee table with storage space. This will be a great spot to tuck away outdoor pillows, cushions and blankets when you aren’t using them.
  4. Select furniture that folds up. If you want to utilize your balcony space for hosting meals but don’t want permanent patio furniture, folding furniture is your best friend. A fold-down table can turn your balcony into a cozy breakfast nook. Foldable seating and side tables also allow you the flexibility to stow away patio or balcony furniture when not in use.
  5. Pick double-duty items. The key to saving space — and money — when decorating an apartment balcony is selecting pieces and furniture that serve multiple purposes. Try colorful nesting tables that double as stools for extra seating, a beverage cooler that also acts as an accent table or solar-powered planter pots that provide extra light in the evenings. You can even find benches equipped with planting accessories, so you don’t have to choose between seating and garden space.

Enclosing an Apartment Balcony for Winter

Looking for some winter apartment balcony ideas so that you don’t lose square footage for a quarter of the year? Look no further. An enclosed balcony will give you more space to work with in the winter, which can be particularly helpful when you work from home. Spending some time outside, especially on milder winter days, can help you keep your mood up even when the weather feels dreary and the temperature drops. 

There are a few different materials you can use to enclose your apartment for winter

  • Plastic is the easiest and most affordable option, but you’ll have to replace it yearly. 
  • PVC tarps work similarly, but don’t need to be replaced as often. 
  • Plexiglass is the most durable material for patio enclosures, but it’s also the most expensive to install. 
  • Heavy-duty curtains work well if you live in an area with relatively mild winters, but aren’t typically enough to keep out snow. 

Regardless of which material you choose, you’ll need to seal it carefully with weatherproof tape. However, make sure to leave some ventilation if you’re using tarps — otherwise, the balcony will start to fog up. 

Enclosing Your Balcony the Rest of the Year

While the above tips are designed for winter, they work just as well during the rest of the year. If having an enclosed balcony is your preference, just know that it will keep most precipitation out, but it’s not 100 percent foolproof. To protect your furniture, keep some weatherproof tarps on hand and cover your furniture when it’s not in use. This will prevent water damage, so you can continue to use your balcony for years to come. 

Decorating your Balcony for the Seasons

Seasonal decorations are a great way to liven up your balcony. Here are some apartment balcony decorating ideas you can try out: 

  • Use railings to hang lights, garlands and other holiday décor. 
  • Depending on the structure of your balcony, hang solar or USB-powered lights from above for a little sparkle. 
  • In the spring and summer, you can use the space to plant flowers, vegetables or other seasonal plants.
  • In the fall, this is the perfect place to carve a Halloween pumpkin or add other fall apartment balcony décor.

Balconies are also excellent for entertaining, whether that’s enjoying some after-work drinks in the summer or hosting a game-day party in the fall. However, it’s important to keep in mind that balconies aren’t soundproof, so you’ll need to be mindful of your neighbors. Balconies are also an excellent place to relax and watch sunsets or even summer thunderstorms. 

Make Use of Balcony Space at Southern Management

No matter how petite it is, an apartment balcony or patio has plenty of design potential. With the right decorations and multipurpose furniture, your outdoor space can be transformed into a tranquil retreat where you can read, garden, entertain guests or simply relax in the fresh air.

If you are looking for a new balcony or patio to decorate, let Southern Management help you find your dream home. With over 25,000 apartments across Maryland and Virginia, we offer beautiful living spaces of all sizes, many of which come with balconies and patios. Browse our apartment communities and talk to a leasing professional today to get started.