Before and After: Color, Pattern, and DIY Flower Boxes Totally Transform This Dingy Balcony

published Sep 11, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Outdoor Spaces
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Rental Friendly
Before: an empty balcony with a white wall

Looking for a spot to grow flowers (or even food) as a renter? Consider your balcony! Even though balconies are tiny, it’s still possible to maximize space and make room for a planter or two.

Take it from Shannon Bowen (@themodernspeakeasy), whose wine-crates-turned-floating flower boxes are just one cool DIY in her balcony transformation.

Before, the balcony, located off Shannon and her partner Sean’s bedroom, “was a drab, dingy, dirty space that was forgotten and avoided,” she says. “The spiders lived on the balcony; we did not.” She especially didn’t like that you could see the drab, dingy, dirtiness (not to mention the arachnids) from the bedroom’s sliding glass door.

The one thing the space did have going for it was that it got a lot of direct sunlight, so Shannon and Sean decided to spruce it up and add a garden. “It took about a month of hard work and patience to make over the space,” she says, and her project total was about $500.

Her first step was cleaning the balcony — no small feat due to the layers of mildew that had accumulated over the years. Shannon used a combo of water and vinegar to get the job done.

Once the balcony was completely clean and dry, she primed and painted the walls and floors white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace.) To add a bit of visual interest and to mimic the look of tile for much less, Shannon stenciled a blue-gray pattern on the floor using a geometric stencil and Benjamin Moore’s Atomospheric paint. “The end result was so chic,” Shannon says.

Her next DIY was her flower boxes, made from wine crates she got from a local wine group she’s a part of. “I primed them and painted a fun modern design in four colors with layers of paint and tape,” she explains. She also drilled drainage holes and covered those holes on the inside with mesh to optimize them for holding plants. To affix them to the balcony walls, she and Sean nailed them using L-shaped brackets (painted to match the boxes) to the inside of the balcony walls. The last step? Filling them with soil, beautiful flowers, and herbs.

Shannon and Sean also painted their patio furniture to match their now-color-filled setup. Shannon’s pro tip? “If the plant stand isn’t the color you’re looking for, a little spray paint does the trick to make it match,” she says.

“The final touches were to add pots of varying heights, plant stands, and decorative tables to bring the space to life,” she adds. Now she has a vibrant, plant-filled space that she can step out onto right after she wakes up.

“I wake up each day to my lush oasis bursting with color right outside my balcony door,” Shannon says. “We often drink our morning coffee or evening cocktails on the beautiful balcony and watch the hummingbirds enjoy our garden.” You can’t beat that!