This “Grimy” Balcony Looks Unrecognizable After a $523 Makeover

published Jun 5, 2024
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Apartment Therapy’s bread and butter is small-space makeovers — whether those are closets-turned-offices, tiny studio apartment kitchens, or even balconies that allow about 40 square feet of outdoor space. 

Samhita Pennathur’s balcony “was essentially a grimy storage unit,” about a year into living in her apartment, she explains. She invested most of her efforts into the interior of her apartment. 

“The view of this balcony was also over an outdoor parking lot, and it faced north, so with the indirect light I didn’t think it was worth my time to grow any plants or flowers,” she says. “I barely spent any time out here! …  I hadn’t really given this area much thought, but after some time on YouTube and Pinterest, I got inspired to tackle a new project.”

The first step was decluttering to make room for new furniture. 

Once I had a general idea of what I wanted the place to look like, the first step was decluttering everything,” Samhita says. “I gave the two chairs to my coworker, and went through and threw out or donated everything else there.”

After clearing the space, she deep-cleaned the floors, walls, and railing, and moved plants and plant stands she already owned to the balcony. Samritha says she usually shops her own home when it comes to projects, and she did a little bit of that — but she also bought new items, like a chair and ottoman set from Target and a basket from HomeGoods.

One of Samhita’s takeaways from redoing a small space like this is to make sure to measure. “I don’t really do a lot of measuring first before buying,” she says. “I had this vision for a cozy two-seater at the end of my balcony that ended up being way too big for the space and not working out. I couldn’t return this piece of furniture. Luckily, I was able to find someone in my apartment who was looking for something just like this and was able to recover my cost.”

About $170 worth of surface covers made the biggest difference.

Samhita says she was surprised by how much  wood floor tiles from Amazon and landscaping rocks from Home Depot elevated her space. “When I added the collapsible tiles, it was a very quick way to upgrade my balcony and completely changed the look and feel,” she says, adding, “I really think the rocks give this unique feel to the balcony.”
She also added a wrappable natural reed fence to make the railing a little more aesthetically pleasing.

Budget-friendly plants complete the project. 

Samhita used a couple of plants she already owned, some budget-friendly plants from Trader Joe’s, and some seed packs to start her balcony garden. 

I ended up planting seeds in the hanging pots,” she says. “Much cheaper, and also fun to watch grow over time!” 

Overall, this was a relatively fast project to pull together, Samhita says. “I learned how quickly you can transform and enjoy a space,” she says. “I probably was dragging my feet on this project for months because I was overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of me. But starting somewhere created momentum to keep going.”