The perfect design is fun and functional: it draws people to a space and invites them to stay. Here are a few design ideas to turn any small balcony or patio into a casual and inviting place. It’s as simple as A,B,C . . .
Add Purpose. Get the most from your outdoor space by filling it with things you need: is it your place to wake up to morning coffee, an afternoon work space, the perfect siesta spot, or an evening hot spot? It can be all these things, with some thoughtful outdoor furniture and a few double-duty furniture pieces. Storage benches and tables are a great example. If you are worried about outdoor critters lurking inside, keep it open below or use stacking tables. A multi-purpose Sun Station can hold your drinks, plants, umbrella, or become a stool for extra seating. When your railing doubles as a bar or holds a workstation like the Balkonzept, a stool is the perfect space-saver. Multi-purpose with plants too; a combination of herbs, lettuces, lemon or olive trees and marigolds creates edible and beautiful privacy.
Beyond the Bistro. A simple bistro set is a great way to start, as long as the chairs feel comfortable. Find two comfortable, proportionate chairs. If seating is not comfortable or functional, you will never use this great space. To effortlessly entertain (relax or work), you also need a variety of occasional tables to accommodate food and drink (iPads, books, etc). If you make furniture the most interesting part of an outdoor space; it will draw visitors outside.
Color Your Space. This is where your personality comes in! Color invokes the mood of your space. As a general rule, reds and yellows are energetic, warm, nurturing and fun. Blues, greens and grays offer tranquility and serenity. Combine these palettes for a more dynamic feel. Try covering the floor with fake grass or a rug. With more effort you could paint a bench or chair. Changing pillows, rugs, paintings and pots when the mood strikes keeps the space feeling fresh with little effort.
Design to Scale. Scale and proportion are everything in a small space. Whether you are designing for a patio or balcony, 70 ft or 270 ft, using the right-sized furniture makes all the difference. Leave space to walk to the chairs and water the plants; a seating arrangement should not overwhelm the area in such a way that you cannot see the floor.
Elevate Your Thinking. Think vertically with a living wall or outdoor art. No wall space? Swing plants on shepherd hooks or hang a sheer curtain. Layering your space with a foreground and background gives the illusion of space without adding clutter.
Even the smallest spaces can become your favorite hangout – just make sure you have at least two places to sit – your private balcony is about to become the best kept secret you’ll want to share.