How to create an outdoor balcony dining area

DIY, Outdoor

Looking for something different than the average café table with a couple of chairs for your rental apartment balcony? Make the most of it for outside living by creating a truly cozy and private outdoor eating area with DIY wood privacy panels and DIY outdoor wood benches that maximize seating on a small balcony. It’s outside living at its best: you’ll be expanding your usable square footage by adding an outdoor room perfect to entertain friends on a hot summer night. Not to mention you’ll be the envy of all your neighbors!

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56 Comments

  1. this is soo cool… thanks

  2. i loved your work its so simple and amazing ….
    simplicity at its best… u inspire me tx.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words – glad to hear you enjoyed this project!

  3. OMG!!!! You’re a genius! Simply amazing! Definitely doing this to my bacolny! Thank you so much Isabelle! ^_^

    • Thanks so much Jenn and you’re welcome – glad you like it!

  4. This is a great tutorial! I just moved into a new studio apartment and I have been looking for ideas for my balcony, since the space gets a lot of through traffic being on the 2nd floor. 🙂

    • Thanks! Glad my idea is helpful 🙂

  5. Hey Isabelle – thanks for the great idea. I’m making the benches, and I found that when putting the 1×4 slats onto the frame, the outermost screws can’t screw into the frame because 2″ screws are too long and will run into the screws that are holding the frame together.. Did you use a different length screw there? Thanks!

    • Hi Jeanie, I used 1 1/4″ screws for the frame and to secure the top slats to the frame. The pine boards are 3/4″ thick so when you screw the top slats in place, the screws will go about 1/2″ into the frame. So as long as you leave a 1/2″ space from the edge of the frame , there should be any problem with screws running into each other. The 2″ screws are only for the legs. Hope this helps! Isabelle

  6. This is a really smart idea!

  7. Hi Isabelle, thanks for the great idea! We built our bench all thanks to your tutorial! Now we are trying to find a table like yours, can you tell me where it is from?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Teresa, That’s great to hear! I don’t have a source for the table because I ended up having to make it. I wanted a pedestal table but couldn’t find any that was the right size, so I made one from a wood pedestal which was a curbside find and I just added a plywood top, and painted the whole thing. Sorry to say I don’t have any pics of that process. I would love to see pics of you bench so I hope you’ll upload some here! Isabelle

  8. hi isabelle! i want to recreate your balcony idea, just want to ask you what were the dimension of that balcony because i think it is similar to mine. thank you so much!!!! cant wait to get started!!!!

    • Hi Chiara, My NYC balcony was 5ft x 9 ft. I would love to see pictures of your balcony when you’re done. Have fun with the project!

  9. I have completely fallen in love with the way you approach these projects! Simple, stylish and inexpensive. YOU, young lady, are going places. I’ve dabbled with these concepts forever without knowing how to pull them off. It is in the simple explanation of the heretofore ‘difficult’ concepts that set you above the rest. Kudos! Out of 5 stars, you get 10!

    • Thank you so much for your message and your kind words Kyril! That’s exactly what I try to do with all my projects, make them affordable and explain them in a way that makes it easy for anyone to understand and replicate, so it really makes my day to hear that this comes across!

  10. Hey Isabel I am absolutely in love with their website and as a person that has moved around town almost every year for the past 15 years your ideas of giving me so much inspiration! I absolutely love the deck video and I’m hoping that you will do more videos of other apartment decks that you decorated to give people ideas of different kinds of options that they can do. Would love to see how you can repurpose things from craigslist or other secondhand stores like Goodwill and thrift shops to get people thinking creatively about how to reuse and recycle materials when they decorate as opposed to buying everything new.

    Thanks again for all the work you’ve done and you truly are an inspiration I look forward to following you and your site!
    Alyssa

    • Hi Alyssa, Thank you so much for your kind words and your suggestions! You’ll be happy to know that I’m working on my LA apartment balcony which is very different than my NYC apartment balcony so that will many new ideas. And I’ll definitely keep in mind repurposing or reusing thrift store finds – it’s a great way of helping reducing what goes in landfills. Thanks for watching! Isabelle

  11. Hi Isabelle,

    I am building my benches to your specs, and it’s going well (I’love post pics if ya wanna see them). Question: Where did you get that pedestal table? I want one like it that telescopes for adjustable height so it can double as a dining table or a lower ‘coffee table’ type deal. Any thoughts? You rock!

    • Hi Kyril! I would love to see pics of your benches – please share! I couldn’t find a pedestal table that fit my small balcony so I ended up making it from a wood pedestal I had found on the curb and a sheet of plywood and some molding. If I come across something that might work, I’ll pass it along!

  12. Hello Isabelle,

    I am so happy that I found your channel on youtube. You are soooo creative and it is great because I found that some of the things that I need to do in my apartment, someone already did it and they look great. You are an inspiration!!

    I have a question about your balcony. Is it winter friendly/proof? I live in Boston and I am a renter too, so I want to make sure I invest in the right solution for my balcony.

    Best,

    Alma

    • Hi Alma, Thank you so much, glad you’re finding some ideas that are helpful to you! As long as you weatherproof the wood with outdoor stain, it will hold up in the winter. Hope that helps, Isabelle

      • Thank you very much Isabelle. I will try that 😉

  13. Hi Isabelle, its really amazing what you have done to a balcony which is 45 sq ft.
    I am from India and I have always admired your work and the DIY stuff that you post.
    I have a balcony which is 3ft X 9ft. This is really small when compared to yours. Are there any tips that you can provide for such a small balcony.

    • Hi Kiran, Thank you so much, happy to hear you like my work 🙂 I’m working on my LA balcony now which is a similar size to yours (42″ x 9ft) so stay tuned for that episode which will be out shortly and hopefully you’ll find some ideas that you can use for your balcony! Isabelle

  14. Hi Isabelle, thanks so much for the great idea! I have a second floor balcony facing a backyard and the back if an apartment building. I’ve now turned the space into a private outdoor room. Thanks again!

    • Hi Jose! I just saw your comment/picture, beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your project with me, I love it and I would love to share it with others too, is that OK with you? Thanks again for sharing and thanks for watching 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for your videos. I tried to take your ideas in creating
    My deck , and it has become a favrout hangout place for my friends and family
    I would like you to see how your idea progressed from your New York balcony
    To my deck in Georgia.
    I can’t thank you enough

    • Wow, thank you so much for sharing what you did, it made my day 🙂 Looks amazing and I’m so happy to hear that it’s now a favorite place to hang out with your family and friends! Do you mind if I share your picture on facebook? It’s so inspiring, I know others would love to see it! Thanks again for sharing 🙂

  16. Ofcourse please go ahead and share, after all it’s inspired by your original idea

    • Thank you! Can’t wait to show off your project!

  17. Here is a better click of my deck.

    • Thanks! Will use this pic – it looks great 🙂

  18. Hi this is fantastic!! Do you have any recommendations on how to adjust the panel when the balcony corners are slightly curved?

    • Thanks! I can’t think of anything at the moment but if I come up with something I’ll let you know!

  19. Isabelle,

    Great plans and very approachable. I plan on doing this for my deck, just curious if you’ve kept these privacy screens up during high winds weather?

    How do the ties hold up or is there a better way to fasten the screens to existing railing?

    Thanks again!

  20. Hello Isabelle,

    Great approachable plans to custom privacy screens.

    Any idea if the twist garden ties are enough to hold these against the railing during inclement/windy weather conditions?

    I will attempt this on my deck, but not sure if the ties are secure enough to prevent accidents/screens from snapping.

    Thanks!

    • It help up fine on my 12th floor balcony with normal winds. You could also use zip ties for a more secure hold or build the panels with more spacing in between the boards to let the air flow through more easily. Hope this helps and I hope you’ll share pics of your project!

  21. Where are the bench cushions from? Thanks!

  22. Hi Isabelle, how has the Behr semi-transparent wood stain held up over time/winter? I’m currently looking to get some to try this project but have read a lot of negative reviews from deck owners. Recognizing that this would never be walked on top of, I’d prefer to go with what you used but just curious if you have seen any issues.

    • Hi Ashley, I didn’t see any issues with it but I moved about 6 months after I did the project so I can’t really say for sure how it looks now.

  23. I can’t wait to get started on this project but being a newbie and from UK I’m soooo confused with your measurements could you help me out.x

    • That’s great! Don’t get intimidated by measurements – every project will have different measurements depending on the balcony and its dimensions so you’ll want to customize this project to fit your balcony. My measurements won’t necessarily work for your balcony. Here’s an example of someone that customized my project to fit their balcony: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/209206345167249362/. You can do it and I can’t wait to see how yours turns out! Isabelle

  24. We relatively easily created the same Outdoor Balcony Dining area by following your video and instructions (a 3 weekend project all in all). This expanded our living space and we made the most of it by having all our summer evening dinners outside. Our friends and family enjoyed it just as much! We even went a step further after learning these new skills and built our own table.

    Thanks Isabelle!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your project!! I love hearing how you were able to enjoy it all summer with your friends and family. You did an amazing job and love the table too! Thanks again for sharing!

  25. Hello Isabelle! I have been following you on youtube trying to do your DIY projects. I am an architect by profession but was not able to practice it since I chose to stay at home and take care of my 2 children. I am so impressed with how you do your projects with so much ease and amazed by how it turned out once finished. I am planning to do some of it once I get the materials and spare time to do it (without my tots playing with the screws and all :P).
    I hope I’d be able to share the picture with you and your million followers.

    Thanks for being an inspiration.

    Cheers
    Emi from the Philippines

    • Hello Emi, Thank you so much for your message and your kind words! Hearing how my work inspires someone like you to DIY is why I continue to do what I do 🙂 How amazing that you are an architect! I love architecture and considered studying that myself but I ended up getting a building engineering degree instead. While I don’t do that type of work anymore, what I learned continues to serve me well in many ways, like problem solving and breaking down projects into manageable steps.

      Thanks so much for being part of the EYS community and all the best with your DIY adventures – I can only imagine how challenging it must be to DIY with little ones around but I can’t wait to see what you make when you find the time!

      Isabelle

  26. Isabelle, I finally got the long bench done tonight. Project took forever. I tried the Behr semi-transparent stain but didn’t like the look, so I stained it with Minwax Red Mahogany and sealed it with outdoor urethane. Still have to submit proposal to the condo board to build and add privacy fence on our balcony. But having the bench out there is an excellent add. Thanks so much for the video! V-

    • That’s great news Davida! That finish for the bench sounds really nice – can you share a picture of it? Would love to see it. Good luck the condo board – hope they vote in your favor! Isabelle

  27. This might be a little difficult for me since I am a beginner. But it is extremely impressive to me. I am wondering where I can purchase the finished wood panel and bench so I only need to assemble them. haha

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  7. Thanks to T. Harvey for posting this gorgeous photo of their new outdoor balcony... - All About Balcony - […] Thanks to T. Harvey for posting this gorgeous photo of their new outdoor balcony dining area! Inspired by this…
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  11. Thanks to T. Harvey for posting this gorgeous photo of their new outdoor balcony... - Modern - […] Thanks to T. Harvey for posting this gorgeous photo of their new outdoor balcony dining area! Inspired by this…
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  13. Absolutely stunning small balcony transformation by Adam and Magda in Ireland. I... - All About Balcony - […] Absolutely stunning small balcony transformation by Adam and Magda in Ireland. Inspired by this NYC balcony: www.engineeryours… […]
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