If you have a house or flat with a balcony, you will really want to make the most of it over the next few months. And, with a few small tweaks, you can turn it into a relaxing summer retreat, which will hopefully help to soften the blow if you’ve been forced to cancel your summer holiday this year.
Of course, most balconies in the UK are quite small, which means you might not have a great deal of space to work with, but there are still lots of tips and tricks you can use to transform the area you do have.
We spoke to Nick Acaster, managing director of the home décor brand, Rugs Direct who shares his top five tips for transforming your balcony into a lovely spot where you can make the most of the summer sun.
Add furniture that suits your needs
If you don’t yet have anywhere to sit and relax on your balcony, think about what kind of furniture is going to suit both your needs and style. For example, if your taste in décor is quite minimal, you might be thinking about adding a small cast iron bistro set, but this won’t necessarily be functional if you tend to have a lot of guests round, or you plan to sit on your chairs for hours on end.
Think about how many chairs you ideally need, and then compare this with how many will comfortably fit in the space you have. You might be able to make the numbers up with beanbags and garden cushions if you need to add extra seating options on the odd occasion. These are also ideal for adding some colour and personality to your balcony.
Add soft furnishings for a homely feel
Other soft furnishings can be used to make your balcony feel cosier, too. For example, an outdoor rug will create a soft landing for your feet. And, if you pick one that complements the décor of your interior, it will help your balcony to feel like a true extension of the rest of your home. They are available in so many different styles, and many can be left outdoors as long as the weather doesn’t get too wet or windy.
While you’re creating a space you can enjoy in the sun, you also need to remember that the UK weather can be unpredictable, and evenings tend to be chilly. So, you could also add a basket full of colourful throws that people can grab if they are starting to feel slightly cold.
Adding cushions to your balcony chairs, and possibly even a new curtain around your external door, can also go a long way towards making your balcony feel more welcoming, as well as giving it some stylish finishing touches.
Add some greenery
An easy and effective way of bringing some more colour and interest to your balcony is with some outdoor plants. If your balcony is quite large, you could add planters or pots but, if you have a smaller space to work with, why not create a vertical garden? You could add some shelving to your walls, and then balance potted plants on top. Or you could even attach your favourite planters directly to your external wall. Hanging baskets can be great for adding some flowers to your space, too.
Illuminate your balcony with some outdoor lighting
If you would like to make the most of your balcony on an evening, you are going to need some outdoor lighting. I’m not talking about harsh security lighting, instead, you should add some stylish and warm-toned lights that are going to provide you with a relaxing ambience.
Bright fairy lights are perfect for this, you could wind them around the railings of your balcony or attach them to the outside of your door frame. Candles and electric lanterns can also add a nice warm glow to your space, which will be especially lovely if you are planning a romantic meal out on the balcony.
Give yourself some privacy
If you live in a flat or on a busy street, you might feel like your balcony is not as private as you would like, which might deter you from using it as much. But there are some simple steps you can take to afford yourself some privacy. For example, many people choose to put screens up on either side of their balcony to prevent neighbours from being able to see in. These screens do not have to be unsightly, either — some bamboo panels will obscure the view of your outdoor space, while also adding an extra dash of style to it.
You could add climbing plants to your screens or encourage them to grow around your balcony railings for even more privacy. You should feel at home in your outdoor space, so it is important that you are comfortable and don’t have to worry about having an audience when you are reading a book or enjoying a meal outside.
These five tips will go a long way towards helping you to create a balcony you love spending time on. So, take them on board, and you will feel like you are on holiday whenever you step foot out of your balcony doors.