Before and After: A Small, Boring Balcony Becomes a Charming, Café-Inspired Oasis for $600

published Sep 25, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
House
Project Type
Outdoor Spaces
Style
Parisian
Skill Level
DIY
Rental Friendly
Yes
Before: Small balcony off side of blue house
Credit: Liz Ferguson

Great balconies are a treat to have, especially in the cooler days of late summer and early fall. Even the smallest ones are ripe for clever DIYs and furniture workarounds that’ll result in awesome outdoor hangout spots.

When Liz Ferguson moved into her home, her 4-by-12-foot balcony was good but not great. “It was clear the previous owners thought of the space as an afterthought and only had the occasional meal outdoors,” Liz says. Even though it was tiny, it had multi-use potential, and it wasn’t being maximized.

Credit: Liz Ferguson

“The balcony faces a neighboring apartment building, so I imagine they felt overexposed when using it,” Liz adds. “I knew part of my challenge was to build in some privacy.” In addition, she wanted to add distinct dining and lounging areas despite the small square footage.

Credit: Liz Ferguson

Liz managed to pull off distinct dining and lounging spaces by hanging a faux chandelier (star ornaments from HomeGoods hung with clear wire) to define the dining area. Her words of wisdom? “Don’t settle on one function if you really need the space to do two things. You can make the smallest spaces multi-functional and beautiful!”

Credit: Liz Ferguson

Liz used CB2 flower boxes that can slide in any direction to create more division between her balcony and the neighbors’ nearby space. Paying attention to the smallest details, she even spray-painted the flower box black to match the railing to give the whole space a more complete look.

Her quick project was all about using the right pieces, she says. Her French café-inspired dining setup is from Target, and at $180, is less than half the price of some designer versions. Her rocking chairs are from Amazon, as are her string lights. In the future, she plans to add more vintage pieces to make the whole space feel more collected.

Credit: Liz Ferguson

“I love designing small spaces, as you can engage every surface and wall rather quickly!” Liz says. One of her favorite parts of the refresh is how she used the vertical space. The faux chandelier, lights, and hanging planters all draw the eye upward.

Credit: Liz Ferguson

There are two more pro-tips from Liz that are worth stealing for future outdoor projects: If your outdoor area is shady, you’ll want to opt for battery-powered lights as opposed to any solar-powered options. This was the best solution for Liz, as her setup is shaded by a giant Japanese maple. And if your outdoor area sees a lot of pollen and leaves from any nearby trees, skip the outdoor rug.

Liz is proud of how well she maximized her small outdoor space. “It feels pretty special to step outside into this little oasis,” she says.