Before and After: $35 IKEA Floor Tiles and a Bold Paint Color Rescue This Once-Dull Balcony

published Aug 3, 2022
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Before: Mismatched chairs on balcony
Credit: Nikki Fein

‘Tis the season to get outside, even if that space is small — like Nikki Fein’s 75-square-foot balcony.

“My balcony is essentially two small spaces,” she explains. “The door to get outside opens in between the two… One is much more narrow. I think most people in the building find it unusable.” But Nikki was determined to make both sides of her balcony usable and a bit more beautiful, too.

Credit: Nikki Fein

Before, the balcony had mismatched seating and dirty square pavers; Nikki has spent the past few springs and summers refreshing the space, doing a little bit to spruce it up each time. “It doesn’t all need to be redone, but it’s my one space that I can have fun constantly changing,” Nikki says.

Credit: Nikki Fein

In the first iteration, Nikki added new patio furniture and IKEA RUNNEN decking (about $35 for 9 square feet, so a little under $300 to cover this space) to make the space a bit cozier.

“It was much easier than expected, but the challenge is how to cover the edges of the tiles,” Nikki says. She used small stones from the hardware store to fill in any gaps.

Another challenge, Nikki says, was weatherproofing the tiles. “Unfortunately there is no balcony above me to protect it from the elements,” she says. “The original wood tile floor was not standing up to the elements, so my first attempt was to paint the floor and then use a weather resistant boat varnish, which got me another year out of the floor.”

Credit: Nikki Fein

Nikki says the teal paint was a fun addition to the balcony. “The turquoise floor balcony has a fun South Beach vibe,” she says. Her paint and weatherproofer were about $110 total.

Credit: Nikki Fein

Finally, in the most recent redo, Nikki completed her space with faux plants. “I have southern exposure, which makes it difficult to keep plants and flowers alive because there is so much sun,” she says. “The first few years I maintained all real plants and flowers, but this year I worked hard to find real-looking faux plants and flowers to lessen the upkeep.”

Nikki says the most fun part is rearranging the balcony a bit each season. “There are no rules when decorating a balcony,” she says. “Make it your own space.” (With such small square footage, it’s easy to experiment while keeping costs low!)

Not only was the balcony a fun project, it’s also a fun, serene escape. “I feel like I am escaping the city and have a relaxing space away from the hustle down below,” Nikki says.