When size doesn't matter...

When size doesn't matter...

In today’s times of severe space crunch, high-density, space-challenged apartment living is here to stay. In many cities, living in small apartments is already a norm as opposed to a standalone exception, which often makes it difficult for city-dwellers to fulfil their creative plans. Thankfully, there is still hope. Just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you need to be short on inspiration or ideas!

Whether you’re eyeing a cosy space to unwind after a long day’s work, or a sacred corner to delight your friends and colleagues — testing your IQ (and by that, we mean implementation quotient!) can spruce up your hand-woven, love-infused sacred haven.

Here is an assortment of options to help you make the most of your available balcony space:

Figure out the purpose

Are you planning to apportion a private zone where you can plan out your weekly schedule, practise yoga, or have your morning coffee? Or convert it into your personal garden, maybe? Among other things, using your balcony to host pleasant dinners is something that you may want to consider going forward.

Whatever be your purpose, defining it is the first step towards dressing up a dream balcony that makes you proud. Once you’re able to envision its look and feel, you shouldn’t have too much trouble deciding your next step.

Ensure a proper seating setup

When it comes to optimising your apartment’s outdoor space, comfort is the king. And it’s a no-brainer that a functional seating arrangement is vital to making your balcony comfortable. If you’re experiencing a modicum of discomfort trying to adjust yourself into a seat, something is wrong and it needs to be looked into.

Since space comes at a premium now, you may want to select your furniture wisely. Some worthwhile options include loveseats, chairs or benches, especially if you want to accommodate them into the corner of your balcony. The great thing about balconies is that they tend to go well with pretty much everything — stools, swings, rocking chairs or even a fainting couch — depending on how much space you can work with.

That being said, it is best to choose items that are waterproof, sturdy and most importantly, easy to maintain. In case your balcony is really small, try using tables and folding seats.

For that ideal garden

Contrary to popular belief, transforming your balcony into a green powerhouse is not only eminently possible but also strongly recommended. The celebrated author of The Balcony Gardener, Isabelle Palmer, says, “Not only is balcony gardening relaxing and often therapeutic (particularly after a gruelling day at work!), it’s a wonderful way to enliven your city living space.”

By incorporating the right accessories, your balcony garden can strike the perfect balance between nature, beauty and practicality. From inviting potted plants to space-enhancing vertical planters to hanging planters that can be fitted on balcony railings — the choices are practically limitless.

In the parlance of balcony gardening, the most important rule is to select the ideal plant for the ideal spot. Pay close attention to how much sun the balcony soaks in, and how frequently or diligently you water your plants. For example, petunias, geraniums and marigold herbs love the sun in its full glory. Other varieties such as hostas, hydrangeas and amethyst flowers prefer filtered sunshine.

When confronted with small spaces, the key is to mix and match plants with different styles of containers to draw attention to the right spots against the overarching theme of a soothing, green ambience. As an add-on, consider using snapdragons, which are as famous for the lovely fragrance they emit as they as are for their attractive colours.

Colour codes that matter

According to Parul Amla, interior designer, Antrik Design Studio, Delhi, “Bold palettes have a penchant for breathing life into the drabbest of rooms. If that is the case, why should a balcony be any different? Bright, vibrant colours can elevate its look from mediocre to spectacular within no time. Ideally, you may want to opt for a colour scheme that is in sync with your apartment’s overall design”.

In outdoor spaces such as balconies, it is often a good idea to use lots of light shades such as pink, white and soft blue because they make space feel bigger and airier. Using very dark colours can make an already small space appear even more cramped.

If you prefer a muted tone, try and be consistent with two neutral colours that can be accentuated via decorative pillows or strategic lighting.

Light it up

Talking of lighting, keep in mind that both open and enclosed balconies need adequate lighting fixtures. Thankfully, there are plenty of options that you can explore to make your outdoor space exude panache and serenity. Try hanging sconces or light strings to add spark to your private corner. Cosy lights tend to work like a charm and provide the ideal backdrop for afternoon brunches, romantic dinners or after-work drinks.

Besides, you always have the option of opening the doors and amplifying your space for bigger home parties.

Rug it in

Designing apartment balconies is essentially about harmonising internal and external elements. Incorporating rugs lets you do that with great efficiency. If you want your balcony to exude a homely look, simply cover it with soft, functional rugs. When choosing a rug for an outdoor space, ensure that it is weather-resistant; else, it might lose its imperviousness to water retention.

Safeguarding privacy

With shrinking apartment sizes, the concept of privacy is increasingly taking a backseat. With even smaller balconies, privacy has almost become non-existent, which is never a good feeling.

Luckily, there are aesthetic ways of creating privacy. One viable option is to buy tall plants and line them up (atop pots) on your balcony edges. You could also attach small-sized pots with a trellis to build a ‘vertical garden’ that blocks out the view from the other side.

For seriously space-challenged apartments, consider using daybeds or benches and stack pillows on top of them. Then, put them on the side (or the front) of the apartment wall in order to create a subtle division.

The beauty of apartment balcony decoration is that you can tilt the tide of spacing constraints in your favour. Through creative embellishments that not only enhance its visual charm but also maximise its storage capacity, you will soon find yourself a cosy little home within a home!

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