Before and After: This Small Balcony Was Turned into a $700 Second Living Room

updated May 3, 2019
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When you live with four other people in a three-bedroom apartment, you might need to occasionally—or frequently—escape the close quarters. This group of roommates decided to make the most of their small balcony and transform it into another living space.

These were the outdoor area’s strengths and weaknesses:

My apartment has a relatively small patio (8′ x 14′) right off the living room. Before we started the project, it was fairly empty with just a grill and a couple of tomato plants. The brick is white washed but the flooring and railing is a dark greenish taupe so it felt a little dark and dreary. However, we love the location because the patio faces a long line of greenery and feels really private!

That sounds like a lot of potential. And the whitewashed bricks are especially nice.

This is so fun. The predominantly beige space has been enlivened with blue, green, yellow, and a variety of textures. The blue furniture pieces and the rug are particularly fetching—I could even see them being used well indoors—and that hue is perfect with the flooring color. Jessica Elyse of Jessica Elyse Photography (and roommates) executed this makeover smashingly. There’s a generous amount of seating, and the abundance of plants adds to the feeling of privacy.

Here we have the aforementioned grill, as well as what looks like an air conditioner and perhaps some recycling? This is a nice long space, that glimpse of green across the way is indeed attractive, and that grill is an admirable beast.

I live in a three-bedroom apartment with four people. Space is limited and our patio was only being used for grilling. My roommates and I wanted to extend the living space out to the patio and enjoy the warm summer months!

A screen now hides the air conditioner, and along with the other white elements—blanket, flowering tree, plant pot, throw pillow, flowers on wreath, rug—they unify the space. The beautiful string lights contribute to the feeling of privacy, and they move the eye upward with help from the hanging plants. In a small space that vertical emphasis can make such a difference.

Here’s what it took to transform this patio from a neglected space to a second living room:

It took us about a month to complete the patio as we had a lot to buy. The project cost was relatively high as we did not spend any time at thrift stores, garage sales, or estate sales. We purchased everything directly from stores which greatly increased the cost.

  • Furniture (Chair: $50, Bench: $100, Ottoman: $50, Rug: $40) — $240
  • Pillow and Blanket — $52
  • Lights — $51
  • Plants and Paneling — $312
  • Hooks and various hanging implements — $23
  • Succulents, extra plant pots, floral stems — $30
  • Total Cost $708

There is so much I love about the finished patio. I love that we were able to hide the air conditioning unit behind the white Lowe’s paneling. Having so many plants makes the space feel private and natural. I love having a comfortable place outside to eat breakfast in the morning and enjoy some wine at the end of the night.

I wish we had had more time to find thrifty deals! Target has these cute little patio fire pits, but our budget ran out and we had to cut them from the plan!

Thank you, Jessica Elyse!

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