For most people living in apartment buildings - apart from the daily ‘escape’ to a park whether it’s for a gentle walk or something more strenuous in these social distancing times – the only place to enjoy time outdoors is from their balcony, or if living on the ground floor, a small terraced area. For those of you who want to make the most of your outdoor space, but are unsure how to create the ultimate hang-out as the weather gets warmer, here are a few ideas:
Bring in greenery
A little greenery goes a long way but it is important to find plants that will adapt to the temperature and the light of your specific space.
If you want something easy to start with, choose robust plants that will do well in both sunshine and shade but can also survive the cold. Try Impatiens, also known as Busy Lizzies, if you like a bit of colour - they can survive in shady balconies but also tend to grow well in partial sun. If you would rather stick to the green tones and tropical vibes, a Hardy Palm Tree will do the job.
Top tip: if the space you are working with is really small, stack the plants – think nesting tables and hanging planters - to create a vertical garden rather than using up all the space by spreading them around on the ground. You can even craft your own creations; check out this handy guide to making affordable DIY hanging planters.
Add a sitting area
All you need to enjoy your morning coffee or an al fresco feast on your balcony is a small table and a couple of chairs.
Make sure you choose furniture that will compliment your interiors – bringing the inside out and vice versa - and that will last a long while. Aluminium, for instance, is a popular contemporary outdoor furniture material as it doesn’t rust or rot. Folding furniture can also become your ally as it can be safely tucked to one side when you’re not using it. Check out this quirky, bold table and chairs set by interior designer and sourcing expert Laura James for some inspiration.
Add a bit of pattern
Whoever said rugs belong indoors was wrong.
Ramp up the look of your balcony with a patterned rug. There are plenty that are built to endure all weathers and create the comfortable and cosy atmosphere of a living room outside. If you like brightly coloured furniture, what better way to accentuate and compliment the colour than with a brightly patterned rug.
Top tip: don’t forget to keep the colour combo going on the chair cushions too.
Light it up
Give yourself plenty of light for late-night hangouts, evening reading or before-bed yoga sessions. Fairy lights wrapped around your balcony or pinned around the roof of the balcony above will not only provide plenty of extra light – as well as adding a touch of romance. If you’re putting a hurricane lamp on the table, just don’t forget to blow those candles out when you go inside!
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