In partnership withAt Home

A Chicago Balcony Gets a Sweet Summer Makeover

published Jul 6, 2021
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Credit: Paul Glinski

Johanna Beach is an interior designer and serious DIY expert (we’ve previously consulted with her for expert cloffice tips) who lives in the Windy City and is lucky enough to have a small but beautiful balcony with cascading ivy and an exposed brick wall. Given that Chicago balconies aren’t exactly year-round spaces, Johanna wanted to give hers a refresh to be sure it could meet its full potential and get more use than ever this summer. So she turned to her local At Home, and in a single trip was able to completely transform her outdoor space with furniture and accessories that fit her summer style but could stand up to Chicago’s cold and windy winters. Let’s see what she picked up!

Johanna’s style is classic and earthy, and she favors a natural (but not always neutral) color palette. She wanted her balcony to be warm and inviting, which meant making it look as much like a cozy indoor space as possible. But she also had the challenge of finding furniture and decor that could stand up to harsh outdoor elements. With At Home’s big selection of furniture and decor in lots of different styles, she was able to pull it all off.

Credit: Paul Glinski

Smart solutions for outdoor design

A rug was key in laying the foundation for the space so she went with this durable outdoor rug in inviting tones of cream and gray, which also helped set the color palette for the rest of the balcony. As a pro designer, she knew finding furniture would be a challenge. Using metal as a primary material would be ideal for standing up the Chicago’s harsh winters, but so often it makes a space feel cold. This wicker loveseat from the Tracey Boyd Collection has a sturdy steel frame, but its sinuous curves soften it up and its all-weather wicker back and arms lend an earthy touch. Plush, removable cushions in a water-resistant fabric make it as comfy as an indoor loveseat, so it was a total win!

Mix materials for an inviting feel

She finished the seating with an equally curvy and inviting side chair, also from the Tracey Boyd collab, and accented it with throw pillows in warm colors and natural textures. Now, the really fun part: plants! Even though her balcony has an entire dreamy green wall of ivy, Johanna wanted at least a few plant friends to liven up the space a bit more. At Home is a go-to source for planters, so she was able to find sturdy cement planters in various heights as well as some smaller ceramic pots for plants that could easily work indoors as well. She discovered a few small accessories she wasn’t expecting to fall in love with, including a boho lantern that gave the balcony one final warm, organic touch.