How to decorate a small balcony

DIY, Outdoor

In this episode, see how to decorate a small balcony to add livable square footage to your apartment by installing a reed fence, an outdoor rug and making a bench out of a few plastic storage containers and plywood.

There’s even room to include a balcony garden with a raised planter. These balcony decorating ideas can also be used for small patios and decks and will inspire you to create your very own outdoor oasis!

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42 Comments

  1. What a beautiful transformation!

    I’d love to know the latin name of the vine you used there. An ivy?

  2. I love the reed fencing! I have cement block walls, can you suggest a way to attach it?
    Thanks
    Renee

    • It’s hard to say what would work without seeing the wall, but maybe concrete wire clips like these could work: http://www.satpro.tv/single-rg6-cable-clip-concrete-nail.aspx ? Another idea would be to screw in place a piece of wood on top of the reed fencing, like a furring strip, horizontally across the top and bottom of the reed fence, so it holds it in place.

  3. Hi! The deck is gorgeous! Does the vine attract OR repel insects?

    • Thanks! I didn’t see any more or less insects on my balcony with the vine, but that’s probably due to the fact that it’s located on the 12th floor of a highrise in Manhattan…not much insect activity up there 🙂

  4. I love your balcony! I want to install a reed fence on my balcony in LA, but my balcony is stucco. What do you think the best way to affix it is?

    • Now that I’ve moved to LA, I have a similar issue with my balcony – I’m working on a solution so stay tuned!

  5. This is awesome! any tips for a place like Toronto where we get snow? I live on the top floor and there’s no roof on my balcony, what suggestion can you give for balcony storage? Thanks!

  6. This is amazing! I’m absolutely in love with your website/ videos. You are amazing and so creative, you’ve defiantly helped me so much!

    • Thank you so much! So happy to hear I was able to help!

  7. I am curious if you have figured out what to do with your stucco balcony? I am in the same situation with my current apartment, but I have to say this has inspired me to build a custom bench. I’m east facing so in the hot Texas summer my balcony is enjoyable after midday. I’ll try just a sheet of plywood with 4×4 legs enclosed with that awesome reed fencing and of course a custom made pad for it.
    I’m super excited to stumble across your site! I made a daybed many years ago when I was poor out of my plastic tubs and an air mattress. I was lacking guest bedding and a sofa. It worked like a charm. I loved how you incorporated the tubs in your bench.

    • I’m working on my plan for the balcony and it’s slowly coming together so stay tuned for that coming soon! I think your idea for the bench sounds great and I love your idea for a day bed with the plastic bins – it’s amazing what you can create out of necessity!

  8. Hey Isabelle,

    Fantastic video. I am moving into a studio apartment with a balcony and will definitely do this. One question! Are the plastic tubs strong enough as a base to hold 3-4 visitors?

    • Hi Keryn, Thanks, glad you like it! I’ve had 2-3 average sized people sit on the bench and had no problems but it’s hard to say what the weight capacity is when you repurpose something like bins into a bench.

  9. I love what you did to your balcony!
    Do you have any suggestions for the seat to hold someone that weighs more than those plastic containers can hold?

  10. Wonderful job Isabelle… I am inspired to decorate my balcony and create a cozy place just like you said in video…. My balcony is same like the one in video but here I my place it rains almost every evening for 5 to 6 month.. you please suggest something for preventing this beautiful balcony decoration from rain nuisance…

    • Thanks Anji! I always use outdoor fabrics and items that can take the rain when I decorate balconies. If you want to keep your cushions from getting wet, I would use extra-large ziplock bags or rubbermaid plastic bins.

  11. I love this idea so much! i have been looking for a cute way to store some outdoor items on my patio, in my apartment. Do you have any ideas for making this a tad easier to get in and out of the storage containers? Or I may have it wrong where these pretty easy to get into?

    Thanks and love your ideas!!!

    • Thank you , glad you like this project! I only used the containers for things I didn’t need to get to often, because it was somewhat cumbersome to get to the containers. For my LA apartment, I built a simple lounging bench that has a top with a door to get to the containers. That might be a better solution for you. Here’s the link: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/how-to-decorate-a-balcony-la-edition-part-2/. Hope this helps and thanks for watching! Isabelle

  12. I’m going to do this project this weekend! What size plastic storage bins did you use? I can’t tell from the video. Thanks!

  13. I enjoyed your video. You explain the steps so clearly! How sturdy have you found your bench to be? I’m concerned for my guests. What alternatives do you suggest for an easy base of the bench? Thank you!

  14. I have been watching your videos and l must say that they are truly inspiring. I am trying to create a beautiful patio space that will be functional and stand out. I absolutely love the other video you made with the wood panels but being that l am NOT the handiest person l have decided to try recreating this one Instead.

    I would like to know if the container seating is able to hold a lot of weight?

    Also if at all possible can you do another video or do a photo tag of ideas covering the bins without ususing the reed fencing.

    I am personally thinking to use fabric and create a nail head trim.

    I have some great ideas but execution is my problem. Things never turn out as l envision them.

    • Thank you Sasha! I found the bench made with the bins to be very sturdy but it’s hard to say exactly how much weight they can hold. You could use lattice (http://www.lowes.com/pd_602652-67197-148261_1z0wg4n__?productId=50280313&pl=1) to cover the bins instead of the reed fencing. Fabric and nail trim would look nice but they might not do so well in the rain over time. Good luck with your project and I hope you’ll share pics when you’re done! Isabelle

  15. Is it easy to access the storage bins? I noticed you stapled/glued the side panels to the plywood. Do you just lift the plywood, with the side panels attached, to access the bins? Thank you!

    • Hi Karla,
      Yes, you’re correct, the side panels are attached to the plywood so it is somewhat cumbersome to get to the items in the bins. I only stored things there that I rarely needed to access so this wasn’t a problem for me. If you want an idea for a storage bench with easier access to things, you can take a look at this bench that I built for my LA balcony: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/diy-outdoor-storage-bench/

    • The side panels are attached to the plywood so it is somewhat cumbersome to get to the items in the bins. I only stored things there that I rarely needed to access so this wasn’t a problem for me. If you want an idea for a storage bench with easier access to things, you can take a look at this bench that I built for my LA balcony: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/diy-outdoor-storage-bench/

  16. BRILLIANT. Love this inexpensive creative idea. Going to build it this weekend if weather permits. Still snowing here today. Good ol Canada eyh…

    • Thanks! Oh boy, I certainly don’t miss the snow haha!

  17. I live in western Canada and live in a rental apt. I want some privacy on my balcony
    and have found a roll of plastic bamboo fencing to use. Do you know if this type of
    fencing is difficult to cut? I just want to attach it to my railing.

    Thank you

  18. Love your creativity! I am totally inspired by your work. I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks and keep sharing.

    • Thanks Amanda!

  19. I love this balcony makeover. I’m thinking to do this for my own. I’m concerned, will the reed fence be able to withstand rain and snow?

    • I had the reed fencing up for 3 years in NYC so it had to endure rain and snow – it did get weathered a bit but for the price, I think it held up great.

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