Making the Most of Your Condo Balcony
See how you can make your balcony your own little outdoor oasis.
Many people are choosing to stay home and enjoy the summer months from the comfort of their home, whether it be in their backyard on or on their condo balcony. Balconies are typically a little smaller in size, so a little creativity goes a long way when deciding what to do with your space.
If you’re in search of a little inspiration, take a look at our tips on turning that building-issued balcony into your personal slice of heaven.
Think about how you’ll use the space
First, define your balcony’s purpose. Do you want your balcony to host outdoor dinners? Or would you rather a garden, and greenery-filled oasis? The furniture and its arrangement will likely change, depending on how you want to use the space. Weather conditions can also have an impact, so ask yourself the following:
Does my balcony get a lot of direct sunlight?
Is my neighbourhood windy, or does it get a lot of rainfall?
Will my furniture be outside all year-round, or only during the summer months?
Once you’ve figured out how your balcony will function, you can begin the design process.
Determine what look you’re going for
Outdoor furniture usually comes in teak or synthetic resin. These two materials have very different styles, so decide which aesthetic you prefer. You’ll often find balcony furniture in fun, colourful hues, so don’t feel restricted to beige wicker or natural wood tones.
If you’re worried about getting too trendy, opt for traditional finishes. You can add splashes of colour using decorative accents when you want to brighten things up, and trade them in for neutrals when you’re not feeling it anymore. You can soften up hard pieces with textured cushions and lush throws; woven placemats and pretty lanterns can also liven up neutral furniture.
Lay some groundwork
Start by giving your flooring a facelift. Most balconies are made of plain concrete, which isn’t very inviting. If you have a larger space, consider laying down wooden tiles to give it that deck-like feel. For smaller spaces, throw down an area rug with fun geometric shapes. If you want some ‘green space’, look for a high-quality grass mat that looks like the real thing.
Subscribe & get more from Onlia
Want to escape the concrete jungle? Incorporate nature’s beauty with potted plants and seasonal flowers in bold summertime hues. And just because you don’t have a garden, doesn’t mean you can’t grow herbs, berries and even vegetables. Put a raised garden bed in a sunny spot, and plant some of your favourite veggies.
You can also use flora to create privacy between you and your neighbours. Bamboo, Japanese box and Indian hawthorn can keep prying eyes at bay.
Keep fire hazards in check
Be mindful of fire hazards when designing your balcony, as flames can spread even faster in small spaces. Some items you’ll want to keep an eye on include:
Before you invest in a BBQ for your balcony, check with your building and local bylaws to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.
But, if your building allows BBQ’s look for models designed for smaller spaces. Reliable safety features include a stable base, built-in heat shields, and an automatic shut-off function.
Citronella candles and wax torches can fight off mosquitos. However, these products can easily become a fire hazard. Always place candles on non-flammable surfaces, such as brick or concrete. Make sure the flame is fully extinguished after use, and keep the wicks trimmed to avoid flare-ups.
Toronto officials say careless smokers are responsible for a rising number of building fires. Cigarette butts have been tossed from balconies, igniting combustible materials on units below. And with Canada’s new cannabis laws, there’s a lot more smoking going on in general.
If you want to smoke on your balcony, make sure to:
Use a sturdy ashtray with a wide base
Check for cigarette butts under cushions, which are highly flammable
Never throw ashes in the trash or off your balcony
Treat yourself to a slice of nature
Even in the city, you can stay safe without sacrificing your access to the great outdoors. Iced coffees in the sun and gourmet dinners under the stars are entirely possible, just steps from your living room! With some extra love and attention, you could transform your condo balcony into the outdoor oasis of your dreams.