19 Apartment Patio Ideas for Making Small Space Outdoor Living Possible

updated Apr 6, 2023
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After: Patio with wood-look floor, sectional seating, and lots of plants
Credit: Jen Robinson

Summer is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to fire up the grill and mix the mojitos! There’s no better way to spend time with friends and family than the great outdoors when the weather’s warm, so that means it’s time to spruce up your al fresco space! If you’re in need of apartment patio ideas, we’ve got you covered. In this round-up, you’ll find lots of ways to level up your outdoor living space just in time for summer’s approach. 

How to Decorate a Small Apartment Patio

A “less is more” mindset can be an asset when you’re trying to style a small outdoor space. Start by identifying your biggest needs: privacy, more seating, a safe place for a small grill. Then, use that as a jumping off point. If your apartment balcony or patio area lacks privacy, upright or voluminous plants (think: bamboo, shrubs, and decorative grasses) can create a more intimate area. Wall dividers, hanging planters, and umbrellas are also great apartment patio ideas if you’re looking to avoid nosy neighbors.

Get creative with seating by incorporating angular pieces that can be pushed against the wall or railing of your balcony, or encourage floor seating with poufs and pillows that can be stowed away when they’re not needed. 

When it comes to apartment patio ideas, it’s key to be savvy about the type of furniture you choose. Weather and other outdoor forces can wreak havoc on items that should really be kept indoors. Stick with materials like wicker, plastic, iron, and wood for furniture and synthetic materials for pillows and cushions to prevent premature wear and tear. 

Ahead, 19 apartment patio ideas that’ll help you craft a space that you’re sure to be proud of.

1. Small and White

This tiny Spanish apartment patio proves bigger doesn’t always mean better. Everything’s crisp and white here, with chairs that match the lattice work on the ledge, and a side table that’s just the right size for essentials. 

2. Natural Tones

How adorable is this boho-inspired apartment patio in Berlin, Germany? The owner has tossed down a jute rug and placed a throw pillow that coordinates perfectly thanks to the neutral tones. Breezy white pom-style string lights add a touch of whimsical beauty to this serene space. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

3. Open Air Space

You can tell it took a dose of ingenuity to turn a drab space into something fab. This platform-style patio in the UK features more than enough seating for both lounging and dining. Plus, it sports a super-fun umbrella to keep the sun’s rays at bay.

Credit: Elissa Poma

4. Travel-inspired Decor

Apartment patio ideas that incorporate your favorite places outside of your own home always make for a share-worthy space. To cop a look similar to this trendy Mediterranean patio, be on the lookout for decor and accessories that remind you of your favorite far-flung locale. Another excellent way to create the vibe is to use a certain paint color that calls to mind your favorite vacay spot.

5. Ample Seating

If you’re hoping to use your outdoor space to entertain, one of the best apartment patio ideas for you is to avoid going light on the seating. Despite having only 50 square feet to work with, Shruti Chopra has seating for at least four at her Toronto condo balcony. Add poufs and pillows for floor seating that’s easy to tuck away for smaller crowds.

Credit: Daria

6. Statement Tile Floors

The Peranakan-patterned cement tile floors installed on this Singaporean apartment balcony really make it feel like an extension of the home. Paired with plants and a hanging chair, this is one of our favorite apartment patio ideas for a fresh, new look.

Credit: Jen Robinson

7. Making Use of Every Inch 

Jen made such great use of her balcony’s space by adding a dining table and an outdoor sofa. She added inviting IKEA tile flooring and installed a bamboo screen for privacy. Adorable dog not included.

8. Stenciled Statement Wall

The stenciled statement wall on this balcony creates a tropical vibe for a fun space. Similar apartment patio ideas that would work include hanging posters (as long as the weather isn’t too harsh), painting the wall or adding sticker decals for an upgraded look. 

Credit: Friederike

9. Vacation-Inspired Patio

A cane papasan chair and a variety of plants turn this patio from Friederike into a mini escape. Trees and plants help add some privacy, but also give the boost of greenery that smaller spaces often lack.

10. A Splash of Color

Black and white patterns and bright pops of yellow give this pretty Dutch balcony an inviting, happy vibe that totally makes you forget how small it is.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

11. Elegant Bistro 

This spectacular terrace is all the more impressive since the couch, coffee table, and planters were built by homeowner Chris. With those pieces, cool string lights, and the sweet bistro table and chairs, this outdoor space becomes an additional living room and breakfast nook.

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

12. Keep it Simple

This modernized 1903 cabin proves it doesn’t take a full suite of furniture to create an inviting patio or porch; just a couple of chairs, a table or two, room to stretch your legs, and some plants to liven things up.

(Image credit: Submitted by Judit)

13. Itty-Bitty Balcony

This teeny-tiny balcony perfectly fits a proper table and chair, a plant wall, a curtain for privacy, and of course, some Astroturf for a hint of green.

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

14. Outdoor Dining Room

This outdoor table is Matt’s only dining space in Los Angeles—a brilliant solution to free up precious space in his 400-square-foot apartment.

15. Comfy Chairs and Plenty of Plants

Aisling Drennan utilizes her apartment patio for gardening and relaxing. If you’re a budding  horticulturist and are interested in growing things like produce and herbs, one of the best apartment patio ideas for you is to stick to nothing more than a couple of chairs, and turn your space into a working garden.

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

16. Bright and Colorful 

One of our favorite apartment patio ideas is to simply extend your indoor space outdoors. Karen does this by incorporating colors and textures into an eclectic patio design to match the interior of her home.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

17. Beach-Like Retreat

Adding a hammock to a patio shows you mean business: You take your relaxing seriously. For good measure, Trent added a couch, tiki torches, curtains, hanging candles, framed art, and a king’s ransom in cushions.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

18. Muted Modern Menagerie

Here we have a patio that has all the living room goodness: generously proportioned chairs, a couch, a coffee table, cozy cushions and throws, an ottoman, trees, herb planters, a light installation, and even a rug. Why would you go inside ever again?

19. Minimalist and Industrial 

If minimalist and industrial vibes are your thing, this balcony full of greens and stainless steel is a must-copy.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann