How to Make the Most Out of Your Apartment Balcony

A grill. A comfy hammock. A string of lights. All of the above! When you moved in, you had big plans for your little apartment balcony, but in the hustle and bustle of life, those plans got shoved to the bottom of your to-do list. But hey—there’s no better time than the present! Use this step-by-step guide to turn your apartment balcony ideas into a cozy hangout for reading, writing, socializing, and maybe even a candlelit dinner.

1. Add seating.

If you’re going to create an inviting outdoor space, the first thing you need is somewhere to sit down and kick your feet up. To start, find patio furniture that suits the size of your balcony, as well as your lifestyle needs. No space for a full dining table and big chairs? Opt for a small bistro set instead (or better yet, a set that folds up for storage when it’s not in use). Looking to create a private hideaway for one? Choose an oversized comfy chair rather than group-friendly seating. Need more budget-friendly seating ideas? Check out the patio furniture for rent from CORT.

2. Treat your feet with an outdoor rug.

When you’re searching the web for apartment balcony ideas, keep in mind that your goal is to add extra living space to your apartment. This means you can (and should!) bring some comforts from your home’s interior to your outdoor space. You can cozy up your balcony with an outdoor rug, which also adds visual interest and color. If a large outdoor rug is out-of-budget, layer multiple small rugs or get creative with a few floor mats for a customizable, eclectic feel.

3. Get cushy with it.

If your apartment patio is too small even for the tiniest of furniture, don’t worry! Try floor cushions instead. Purchase a few oversized pillows and layer them on top of your rug. Ta-dah! You’ve got yourself a plush outdoor nook where you and your friends can plop down and enjoy a drink.

4. Light up the night.

Whether you’re using your apartment patio for entertaining or just as a space to unwind after a long day of work, you’ll want lighting options that allow you to enjoy it after sunset. Holiday light strands are a great option on a budget, but if you can splurge a little, choose string lights with replaceable bulbs. These strands tend to last longer (and look a bit more upscale). If you have space for small tables, add outdoor lamps on top of them to create even more ambiance. Also, consider solar-powered paper lanterns for the ultimate shabby chic aesthetic.

5. Keep your furry family members safe.

Your apartment balcony feels like a safe haven to you, but it’s a bit of a safety hazard for your pets. Playful kittens and squirrel-chasing pups can slip and fall through the railings if left unattended.

Make sure to supervise your furry friends if and when you let them out on the balcony. You can be extra safe by lining the railings with a balcony fence, plexiglass, or even chicken wire. Don’t forget to keep patio chairs and tables away from the railings to keep your pet from climbing over.

6. Keep other critters outside.

The only animals you want inside your apartment are your pets—not mosquitos! A magnetic screen door is an inexpensive way to let the air in while keeping the creepy-crawlies out. If you’re spending time on the balcony and the skeeters won’t bug off, lighting a citronella candle or turning on a fan may help.

7. Add a little something green (or a lot of something green!).

Nothing makes a space feel homey like plants—and that includes both indoor and outdoor spaces. Perch planters on your patio furniture for a lively centerpiece. Then, revel in your classy little dining spot, you plant-parenting adult!

Even if you think you have a black thumb, you’ll have a thriving garden in no time if you choose plants that work well for apartment balconies. Limited on floor space? Make use of planters that are designed to hang on your apartment balcony railing, or use damage-free hanging hardware to hang planters from a wall or ceiling.

8. Try a balcony privacy screen.

Nosy neighbors? No thanks. Shield all your apartment patio shenanigans from wandering eyes with a balcony privacy screen. Purchase an inexpensive fabric screen online, or bring in a few tall plants (like bamboo or a small potted tree) to create a privacy barrier that’s both beautiful and functional.

Are you inspired yet?

If you’ve got an apartment balcony already, what are you waiting for? Use these apartment patio ideas to create the space of your dreams! Don’t have a balcony, but wish you did? Check out the selection of apartments with balconies on ApartmentSearch, and find the perfect place to bring all your outdoor décor ideas to life.