11+ Ways to Decorate Your Small Balcony or Patio
When you have a small balcony or patio, it’s easy to think that there’s simply no way you can make it a usable space. You look at all the beautiful (and expensive!) balconies, roof terraces and patios featured on Instagram, and decide that your dream balcony will just have to wait. While you may have to wait a little until you land that dream home, there is so much you can do with a small balcony or patio, even if you have neighbours either side.
Ready to give your balcony or patio a makeover? Let’s dive into the tips and tricks.
11+ Ways to Style Your Small Balcony or Patio
1. Utilise the Wall Space – Planters
When you’re working with a small space, whether inside or outside the home, you need to think vertically. The more you can add to your wall space, the cosier the space will feel, and you’ll bypass that cramped feeling we often get when all the furniture is low to the ground, even in a large, open room. The aim here is to make practical and stylish choices that space-save and draw the eye up higher, as this will help make the space feel bigger, even if the footprint of the space is very small.
Planters are a great way to do this, because you can avoid big, bulky planters, cover boring walls, and add interest and texture higher up in the space. For small balconies and patios, using artificial plants will be your best move. A lot of plants will quickly outgrow small wall planters and plant pots if they’re in a good position, but the truth is that most small balconies and patios just aren’t suitable for most plants, unless you have a green thumb.
Here in the UK, the weather throughout the year is often too volatile to maintain healthy plants, especially on balconies that are either sun traps or too shaded. While both can be incredibly enjoyable for us humans, plants in pots can only take what you and nature gives them, so it’s all too easy to end up with a dried up twig before you’ve noticed the plant died!
Here are some of the best wall planter ideas:
- Metal Grid with Pots – you can find these kinds of metal planters in all kinds of different styles, from small squares to diamonds and triangle shapes. Make sure you hang your chosen grid planter high enough up – think of it like a piece of art. Fill the plant pots with artificial vine plants, artificial trailing plants, artificial cacti and succulents, or anything else that calls to you.
- Hanging Planting Bags – these look a little like hanging shoe tidies, but they are a great way to give you a green-wall effect. You could even use a shoe tidy if you’re using it in a sheltered area of a balcony. Fill each of the slots with artificial foliage, using different colours and textures according to your personal preferences.
- Hanging Baskets – hanging baskets of live flowers are difficult to care for and only look good for a limited part of the year, but an artificial hanging basket will look lush year-round and you won’t have to worry about getting up there to water them a couple of times a day in hot weather.
- Standing Balcony Garden – you can buy “balcony gardens” ready-made with tiered planters, but you can get the same effect with outdoor shelving. Simply fill the shelves or planters with your preferred artificial plants and enjoy the look.
- Use a Multi-Tiered Plant Stand – These are often surprisingly affordable and give a modern or bohemian look when finished, depending on how you style it. If you’re short on space, consider only filling some of the shelves with artificial plants and use any that are at table height as a place to put drinks and other things when you sit nearby.
2. Utilise the Wall Space – Practical Solutions
Wall planters are a beautiful way to decorate your balcony or patio, and if you’re limited on space, you’ll need to be savvy about your furniture and other accessories, too. Here are some smart and stylish ideas for your patio or balcony:
- Use a Manual Balcony Awning – if your patio or balcony is small and you don’t have enough room for a table or umbrella to protect you from the sun, try a wind-out balcony awning. You can attach these to the wall anywhere and simply hand-wind them out into place when you need to use them, and they lie flat against the wall the rest of the time. You can find them in stylish neutrals, so you can easily avoid that store-front look.
- Folding Balcony Table – use a folding balcony table to save space. This works like a leaf table (the table top folds down) and you hang the table from the edge of your balcony. There are a huge number of styles available, so you have plenty of choice to choose from.
- Use Bench Seating for Versatility – if you’re happy to keep your seating outside year-round, consider building or using benches instead of chairs against the walls. Add some stylish cushions and you’ll be able to stretch out alone or seat your entire family. If you have the budget, consider getting benches with a lift-up top so you can have additional storage inside.
3. Put Down “Decking”
Have you ever seen those wooden bath mats? If not, they’re essentially small square tiles of decking, and whether you like them in the bathroom or not, they’re the perfect way to hide a flat, ugly concrete balcony or patio. They’ll with stand the weather because they’re designed for the bathroom and they instantly transform the look of a dingy balcony or patio. The only caveat is you need to be working with a completely flat surface. (You can see an example of how one blogger did this here.)
If you floor isn’t flat enough, consider painting it instead. This is only going to be a good option if you own your home, but with the right stencil, you can make your floor look as though it’s tiled like a Spanish villa. (See how a blogger did this with great results here.)
Another option if you have an uneven balcony floor is to use artificial grass – it looks modern and adds plenty of colour just outside your door.
4. Use Beautiful Privacy Screening
Small spaces often equal a lack of privacy, as you often have close or overlooking neighbours. If you’re reluctant to use your outside space because you don’t like the idea of having to be stared at by your neighbours or chat every time you go outside, put up privacy screening. The key here is to select the right screening – it needs to elevate the space, not look offensive to your neighbours, while providing you with enough cover to feel comfortable. You’ll need to tailor what you choose to your space and needs, but here are some of the best options:
- Use a Planter with a High Trellis Back – you can find planters with a high trellis back that will provide you with privacy, without fully blocking out the light. Place artificial plants in the planter depending on your style and if the trellis is particularly large and open in style, wrap artificial vine plants around it to give you more cover.
- Use Hanging Baskets – if you’re styling a small balcony with a roof overhead, and open sides to your neighbours, try hanging artificial hanging baskets from the roof above with hooks. They’ll break up the line of sight and give you additional privacy.
- Cable-Tie Privacy Screening to your Railings – You can add privacy to your balcony, and additional safety for pets and small children, by adding privacy screening to your railings. This comes in a roll and you simply cable tie it to the railings, which makes it extremely renter-friendly. Wicker or bamboo looks natural, but if you want full privacy choose a PVC option.
- Trellis Covered with Artificial Foliage – fix trellis to your balcony or fence and tie artificial foliage to it to give you more privacy, and add more greenery to your space. You can also buy ready-made artificial green wall panels. This is also a great way to disguise dividers between your balcony and your neighbour’s.
5. Add a Mirror
If your balcony or patio has a wall you face when you sit outside, consider adding a mirror to increase the light and make the space look bigger. If you don’t like the look of a mirror outside, drape hanging plants around it so you get that “secret garden” look.
6. Hide Industrial Features with Artificial Vines
Many small balconies and patios will have exposed pipes or industrial railings that aren’t all that stylish to look at. If you want to hide them, consider wrapping vine plants around them to soften the look – you can also add fairy lights to give it an ethereal look at night.
7. Add Softness and Texture with a Rug
Adding a rug to your outside space is transformative, making your balcony or patio feel like an extension of your home. You can buy outdoor rugs that can withstand the elements, but if you’re on a budget simply have a rug you put outside when the weather’s good, and roll up and put away the rest of the time.
8. Use Outdoor Lighting
If your balcony or patio is just a dark space beyond your windows once the sun sets in the summer, invest in the right lighting. Here are some creative lighting ideas:
- Use lanterns
- Wrap fairy lights around the balcony railing
- Use solar-powered lightbulbs and fix overhead in a covered area to mimic a hanging light, with a little DIY, you can use a beautiful lightshade too
- Use hanging fairy lights from your artificial hanging baskets
- Hide solar-powered lighting in your wall planters
- Drape fairy lights around your wall planters
9. Avoid Bulky Furniture
Big, bulky furniture will make the space feel even smaller, so choose lighter pieces for anything other than your bench seating. Rattan and wicker furniture always looks good, while being comfortable, and classic bistro-style fold-out chairs and tables are cute and practical.
10. Hang Hanging Baskets in Front of Your Window
If you have a window that looks out onto your balcony or patio which is a little less stylish than you’d like, hang artificial hanging baskets in front of the window to draw the eye away from the window itself. If there’s a ledge on the outside in your seating space, place a few small artificial succulents and other plants and place some coasters to decorate the space and make it more useful. You can even hang fairy lights between the planters behind to create ambiance whether you’re inside or out.
11. Frame the External Door with Plants
One of the best ways to make a small balcony or patio feel bigger is to “start” the balcony inside, just inside the doors. If you have artificial hanging baskets just outside the door, add some large artificial plants or some plants on plant stands just inside the door so to create a sense of flow. With the door open and plenty of greenery inside and out, you’ll forget about how small your outside space is!
A small balcony or patio doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful outside space to enjoy, you just need to be savvy about how you decorate it and make sure it’s a place you can feel comfortable. Cover the glass front of a balcony if you don’t like the idea of people seeing you from the street below, add an awning so your upstairs neighbours can’t look down on you, and hang those baskets and put up that trellis on either side so you have your own little haven! To surround yourself with greenery, explore our range of artificial plants here.