It only took 10 years to get here, but we made it friends! I’ve been living in my high rise condo for a LONG time and although every corner is decorated exactly how I want it, my apartment patio has been a lost cause. I stare at it every spring once the weather gets nice and always want to transform it. There was this tragic attempt a few years back which was just a hard no. Something clicked this year though. As in, I knocked this project out in a matter of days and never looked back. Decorating an apartment patio can be so fun, but I just kept putting it off!
I headed to Pinterest as I seem to do every spring to look for patio decorating tips. Time and time again I kept seeing one major common thread, flooring. Something I considered last year. But I set the goal too high. I wanted to PAINT THE FLOORS. WHAT. No. I wanted to do a tile stencil to make it look similar to this spectacular outdoor space from the interior design genius, Emily Henderson. But I’m not crafty. So alas, I waited another year. Then I realized I could use these incredibly affordable and easy to install IKEA outdoor flooring tiles. It was a game changer for this space. They truly took no time at all to install as they click together. I love how it transformed the space in no time.
The other major change was the black partition that I have little control over. I thought of doing a boxwood hedge there (faux obviously) but that also seemed like a ton of work and I own zero tools except for a hammer. So instead, I painted it the same Valspar Royal Navy that my bedroom wall is. I went with a flat finish in an outdoor paint formula to withstand the weather and the metal material. Even though it’s a subtle color change, it was the pop of color this space truly needed. Plus, the black bench now pops against it much better than the black on black.
The slight color change and the flooring totally transformed this space. I was able to keep my current furniture, which are actually decent pieces, and just zhush up the rest. With some easy to care for plants in beautiful affordable planters and a fun light, this space was complete in pretty much under $500. Here’s a look at my new apartment balcony just in time for spring and summer!
Such an incredible difference from the before and after. And YES that is the same table. It was completely covered in pollen. If you live in Atlanta, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It blankets the city for about 2 weeks every spring and there’s just no reason to attack it until after. Once I scrubbed down the entire patio including the furniture, it was time to get started!
How To Decorate Your Apartment Balcony
Come Up With A Vibe & Color Palette
Just like you would start with an inspiration board, or concept for a room in your home, do the same for your patio. Gather decorating ideas and even specifically balcony ideas, to help hone in on the vibe you want. I wanted the space to reflect my home as it’s something you can see clearly from the living room and bedroom. I went with navy (duh) and lots of warm neutrals like peaches and tans with lots of natural texture and greenery.
Add Conversational Seating
All outdoor spaces should have some sort of conversational seating to invite guests in and feel at ease. Depending on the square footage of your space, this will determine what you end up going with in terms of seating options. For smaller quarters, definitely opt for smaller seating like a simple bistro set like this. For larger spaces, opt for seating that can include more friends for more fun which can even include a coffee table. I’m loving this one for its compact size. You can even add a small bench for extra seating if space allows. I do always recommend having some sort of small table accessible for placing your afternoon Aperol Spritz on.
Anchor The Space With Greenery
Whether you choose to do faux or real potted plants, anchoring the entire space with greenery helps to define the patio and also keep things cozy. It helps to make the small balcony feel like it’s own separate room too. By flanking either side, you’ll create a true outdoor oasis. And if you have a decent green thumb, a balcony garden is always a fun addition. I personally have some basil and mint on my patio to add to recipes and cocktails!
Mix In Color, Pattern & Texture With Textiles
You don’t have to go crazy with color as first of all, this will likely fade over time with the sun and weather. I always think it’s smart to choose neutral seat cushions and instead play with colors elsewhere. From pattern and texture with pillows to a simple outdoor throw that can keep you cozy at night.
Don’t Forget About The Floors
The single thing that made the space totally transform was covering the grey cement floor. There are LOTS of options to choose from but I opted for the tiled outdoor flooring from Ikea. It was so easy to install and fairly affordable considering the impact it had. But if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can always just add an outdoor rug. There are tons of options to choose from these days. Classic jute or sisil rug is also always a simple, durable and affordable choice.
Choose Smart Lighting
My apartment patio didn’t have any outdoor lighting. Zero. Not even a plug! I had to get creative here. I ended up going with what is so not an outdoor chandelier, but it’s easy to remove during bad weather (plus it’s a covered patio and rarely gets really that gross). I hung it by gluing these hooks to the ceiling with Gorilla Glue. I just keep the extension cord in a basket by my couch to grab when I want to plug it in. It’s so not a big deal and was the lighting I desperately needed to utilize this space past sunset.
Lighting is always ideal so that you can enjoy your outdoor space even in the evenings. It also creates a warm and inviting ambient light to really set the mood! String lights are a super simple and affordable way to do this that takes all of $30. Some are solar powered, battery powered or can be plugged in.
Patio Decorating Tips
Keep It Simple
Most apartment patios and balconies are quite small. With that being said, don’t go too crazy with these small spaces. You want apartment patio to be an extension of your home, so keep it simple. Don’t go crazy with too much furniture, too many accessories and so on. You want to be able to relax out there after-all!
Take Your Cushions In At Night Or When It Storms
An obvious one, but one I tend to forget until it seems to storm like crazy. It’s good to get in the habit of pulling in your cushions at night or at least when you know the weather will be bad. I try to do this especially when I’m heading out of town. It’ll not only keep your pieces looking great, but they’ll last longer too.
Protect Against The Bugs
Whether you use citronella candles or a spray, keep in mind that bugs will still find you even on your freshly decorated patio! I like to use a couple of citronella tea candles around the area. And yes, even in my high-rise condo, we still get mosquitos a solid dozen floors up.
Keep Small Animals & Children Safe
With Pork being able to stick her head through the patio, I wanted to make sure I could protect her from falling down a dozen stories. In the before photo, you’ll see some plexiglass that was a terrible DIY. The zip-ties were drying out and the pieces were starting to fall right off on its own. I pulled it all off and replaced it with this black mesh that’s designed for baby-proofing. It was super inexpensive and easy to install. Just zip-tie it to the railing and you’re good to go!
Photos by Hannah Michelle