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Credit: Laura Steffan, Laura Steffan, Winkie Visser, Jacqueline Marque

These 17 Pretty and Petite Balconies Prove You Don’t Need a Ton of Space to Enjoy the Outdoors

published May 31, 2022
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When the weather is nice outside, sneaking away to spend some time in your own outdoor oasis is a pleasure. But it can be easy to get discouraged about an outdoor area if it’s not expansive. The good news is that you don’t need a pool, a yard, or even a lot of square feet to enjoy your own piece of outdoor heaven — these 17 perfectly pretty and exceptionally petite balconies are proof you don’t need a ton of space to be able to enjoy the outdoors at home!

Balconies are a particularly delightful form of outdoor oasis. Perched high above the world, a balcony can feel like your own little private nest where you can drink your morning coffee, watch the sun rise or set, or just meditate in nature. Balconies are versatile blank canvases, no matter the size, and can be molded into whatever shape oasis you want. Small bistro sets, cozy lounge seating, container gardens — with the right creativity and ingenuity, even small balconies can be transformed into one-of-a-kind spaces to enjoy nature.

1. A Bistro-Inspired Balcony

Grace Zhang made the most of her Brooklyn condo’s small but mighty terrace with an aqua bistro set and a few well-placed plants. She chose light and airy furniture — slatted chairs and a leggy table, plus white ceramic footed planters — which helps to keep the space from looking visually closed-in.

Credit: Jason Rampe

2. Make It Modular

YouTuber and founder of the home decor shop Sticki Icki, Celia turned her Harlem terrace into a tiny outdoor oasis with a comfy, cozy IKEA outdoor couch. The cushy piece might be a little large for her space now, but she bought it with the intention of adding on other pieces to create more of a sectional setup later, if one day she has a larger area to furnish. It’s never a bad idea to invest in something that can grow alongside you — and your home.

3. Hello, Hygge!

Who says you can’t bring the indoors outside, even in a small apartment balcony? That’s exactly what Kathy Hao-Hsuan Chang did in her Norway apartment by draping a cozy blanket on a comfy chair and parking it right by their door. This spot is now the perfect place to get some fresh air and curl up to read a book.

Credit: Natalie Wong

4. Tile Style

The owner of this Koreatown, Los Angeles-based condo didn’t let less-than-appealing floor tile get in her way. “I created a trompe l’oeil effect with the flooring on my upstairs balcony by painting over the tile and stenciling it with a geometric pattern,” says Natalie Wong, a digital event producer for a major entertainment studio. “I did that over the course of a hot summer weekend in L.A. during wildfire season.” The result? A super-stylish, Morocco-meets-California outdoor oasis.

Credit: Franco Cheng

5. Tactile Touches

Franco Cheng‘s balcony functions like a bonus living room, thanks to a comfy memory foam lounger, a bean bag chair, and textiles like gauzy curtains and cushy pillows. With these furnishings and details, even the outdoor portion of his Toronto studio embodies his “unapologetically cozy” design philosophy.

6. Fancy Flourishes in the French Quarter

The stunning architectural details of Megan and Chris Olsen‘s French Quarter balcony —from the well-worn shutters on their brick facade to the lovely geometric railing — provide the perfect backdrop for a set of vintage peacock chairs, which the couple sourced at their own shop, Vice & Graft. Their view is the main attraction though, and bistro lights strung around the railing make this sitting spot great for nighttime people watching.

7. Plant Paradise

Erin Farrugia has turned her terrace into a place where she can experiment with plants. She packed as many green babies as she could into her Sydney apartment that it only made sense that she would start decking out her outdoor space in greenery, too. “Plants and flowers legitimately make me happy,” she says. “It sounds silly, but they bring me a lot of joy in my small apartment. I often have to stop myself from buying too many cause I’ve run out of spots to put them.”

Credit: Daryl Zamora

8. Foldable Furniture FTW

Daryl Zamora and his fiancée have cracked the code to furnishing a small outdoor space: foldable furniture! Pairing a folding chair with a traditional tray table means the balcony of their Philippines studio can transform into a corner for coffee instantly, and then pieces can be stashed away to keep things open when not in use.

9. Plants for Privacy

Artist Danielle Lindsey turned her New Orleans front porch balcony into a little urban jungle. “I started with just a few plants here and there, but then had the grand idea to turn it into a solid plant-filled patio for a little privacy and an outdoor escape,” says Lindsey. “Working on the balcony project became my meditation, my therapy, and many times my workout after long nights painting and running my small business.” To prevent the space from feeling too closed-in, she opted to place the plants on the perimeter of the porch, which is a great strategy when space is at a premium.

10. A Room With a View

Monica and Jordi’s Barcelona-based rental has maybe the best outdoor balcony setup possible; it’s right outside their bedroom window. The terrace’s red trim work provides a bold pop of color that also plays nicely with the lime green bedroom walls.

11. Boho Balcony

Danielle Peterson carried her warm bohemian decorating style right onto the balcony of her San Diego studio with painted peel-and-stick tile and rattan furnishings. That makes the transition from inside to outside feel seamless, which, in turn, helps her 380-foot-space look and feel larger than it actually is. 

Credit: Daria

12. Picture Perfect

Daria and husband, Faizal, have the most beautiful balcony in their Singapore apartment. Peranakan patterned cement tiles bring a touch of “old-school Singapore charm,” in Daria’s words, to the space, and the furnishings build off of their pretty blue colorway.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

13. Maximalist Montreal Jungle

Michelle Martel‘s entire Montreal home is beautiful, but the balcony holds special magic. And it was a particularly important space to Michelle and her husband; they had lived in the suburbs of Montreal for 20 years, where they raised their kids next to parks, large lawns, gardens, and more. So when they downsized and moved into the city, this small balcony became their way of staying close to nature.

14. Color and Contrast in The Netherlands

Roel Marius Brouwer might be a legal adviser by day, but his true passion is interiors. Well, and also exteriors, too, as this petite balcony in his glam home in The Netherlands proves. Bright yellow bistro furniture pairs with black-and-white patterns to create a vibrant and energetic exterior space.

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

15. Columns and Cozy Lounging

Melinda McSpadden‘s New Orleans apartment was already impossibly dreamy: It’s tucked away in a stylish attic at the top of a boutique hotel in the city’s Garden District. And her home’s balcony is the icing on the cake. Narrow but long, she was able to squeeze cozy lounge seating as well as dining furniture, plus plants and lots of color.

16. Benches and Rooftops

Kristine Claghorn and Mark Harrison‘s minimalist Los Angeles home technically features an outdoor area that’s a roof deck, but I can’t help but feel like it’s worthy of mentioning in a balcony round up thanks to its balcony-adjacent properties. Privacy is achieved thanks to the wood railings. And tons of inviting seating was created thanks to simple benches. It’s a reminder that you can do a lot with a little.

17. Simple and Sweet

Michelle is a landscape designer in California who shares her Small/Cool contest winning apartment with her partner, Antonio. The entire apartment features brilliant space-maximizing ideas, and one of the small outdoor spaces is evidence that a seat or two, lots of plants, and some string lights can be all you need to turn a blank balcony into a magical outdoor spot.