Just move into a new apartment? Maybe you're looking to improve your current apartment balcony? We've got a great guide for you to help you turn a boring, dirty balcony into your favorite place!
Measuring your Apartment Balcony
First things first, you should get good measurements for your balcony.
Knowing the dimensions of your balcony is going to make it much easier when it comes time to buy furniture, lighting, and rugs. Balconies come in all different shapes and sizes, so it's important to have your measurements on hand.
The best way to do it is with a tape measure, but you may not have that on hand when you're moving in somewhere.
Instead, you can use your iPhone to take measurements instead. I've found that my iPhone app is remarkably accurate at measuring distances, even up to 10 feet long! Use what you've got.
Make sure you store your dimensions somewhere handy, maybe in your notes app or on a sticky note that you can get to easily.
Cleaning Your BalconyIf you've just moved in, chances are your balcony is probably pretty gross.
When I moved into my apartment, the leasing office had done a pretty poor job of cleaning up after the previous tenant. It was fully of crunchy leaves, caked on dirt, and windows that hadn't been cleaned in months.
Depending on the apartment, some balconies will get dirtier than others. Mine, for instance, is right below another balcony, and dirt and debris fell down from above. You may not have this issue, so you might have less scrubbing to do.
Now, it's time to clean. Here are the key areas you want to make sure you cover:
FloorYou probably actually want to clean the flooring last. As you clean railings, windows, and trim, dirt is going to fall down and to the floor. Don't make yourself clean twice!
Figure out what kind of floor you have. I have a type of pressure treated pine and had to scrub pretty hard to get the dirt out of the cracks.
For nearly all floors though, soap and warm water are going to be your best option. My balcony floor was actually so dirty that I cut up some old T-shirts and use them as rags because I knew whatever I used would be destroyed!
WindowsYour windows probably have a nasty film on them if they weren't cleaned previously. I used warm soap and water to loosen it up, then cleaned them again using Windex and a paper towel once they had dried.
Trim & RailingOnce again, soap and warm water will be your friend here. Try to get all the leaves and other debris out now. It may take a couple of washes before you get everything.
Your Balcony's Strengths and WeaknessesNow that you've got a nice, clean balcony, it's time to figure out what parts of your balcony you love and which you need to do some work on. This step is important because you want to tailor your purchases to your balcony.
Here are some questions to think about:
- Which direction does your balcony face? If you can, try to pick a south-facing apartment. The direction of your balcony will affect how much and what kind of sunlight it receives throughout the day.
- Is your balcony open? Does it have overhead cover?
- Is your balcony well lit? Or are there dark spots?
- How private is your balcony? Do you have any privacy walls or are you directly next to your neighbor?
- What times of the year can you use your balcony? Is it okay to leave your furniture out year-round, or do you need to take your rugs and plants inside during the winter?
- How is the floor? Is it comfortable to stand on? do you need to add decking to it?
- Is your balcony big or small?
Now that you've figured out what the best features of your balcony are, it's time to get shopping.
Balcony Decking & Rugs
Not all balconies need decking — in fact, most probably won't. If you do feel that your balcony would be better off with some new flooring, you can find some affordable piece-by-piece options on Ikea's website. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to maintain.
As far as rugs go, you'll want to choose a rug that can stand up to the weather. I've found that it's best to look for dedicated outdoor rugs, like you can find online or in stores like Lowe's or Home Depot.
I love going for a neutral-colored rug like this one from Lowe's:
You may also want to consider a rougher "Welcome" mat to keep dirt and debris out of your apartment.
Apartment Balcony Furniture
You can't go wrong with some nice adirondack chairs.
Make sure you take into account the height of your railing. Monarch Patio sells both classic and high adirondacks, so if you have a high railing with a solid base, you may want to opt for an elevated version so you have an unobstructed view.
For classic adirondacks, choose the style that best fits your balcony. You can't go wrong with the Heritage Adirondack from Wildridge. If you have a more modern aesthetic, check out the Contemporary Adirondack from Wildridge.
Rockers & GlidersIf you have room, a rocker or glider are also be great options. We have both single and double rockers and gliders.
The Skyline Rocking Bench from Breezesta is a great choice and will fit on most apartment balconies (be sure to check the dimensions on any piece of furniture you buy!)
A dining set is really the perfect choice for an apartment balcony. One of the best things about summer and warm weather is being able to start your day with breakfast on your balcony.
We have many options for poly dining sets and each of them include free shipping.
Our favorite option is the Wildridge Heritage Patio Table. It includes two high chairs and a table that won't fade or rot.
Check out the rest of our recommendations for the best apartment balcony dining sets.
Monarch Patio specializes in selling poly furniture and ships completely FREE anywhere in the continental United States. If you'd like personalized recommendations, shoot us an email at email@example.com or text us at (330) 227-8373.
Lights for your Balcony
The right lighting can take your balcony from good to great. I think the best option for apartment balconies is a great set of string lights.
String lights are able to be spread apart so that your whole balcony receives a soft, warm glow that isn't too harsh at night.
When looking for string lights, you want to make sure that you don't buy a pair that's bright white. Instead look for a pair with a warm, yellow glow. If you can find some that can be dimmed, even better! Amazon has some great options, and they even have a few vintage-looking bulbs if that's your style.
Probably the easiest way to hang up your lights is to use command strips. This kind is best for outdoor lighting as it's easier to keep the cord in the hooks. If your apartment complex allows, you can also drape the lights over nails, but it's probably a more difficult and dangerous option (they can blow off the nails in heavy wind).
Another option is to wrap your lights around your railing. If you go this route, just make sure that the lights aren't too bright. They'll be at eye level and can make it hard to see if they are too strong.
If you’re in a pinch, you can also wrap white or yellow Christmas lights around your railing! They look great with string lights and can provide a nice accent light to your balcony.
Plants for your Balcony
Once you've figured out lighting, the next step is getting some plants for your balcony. There are a few great reasons to add a couple of nice plants to your balcony. First, they'll bring a nice, natural, green accent to your space. There are lots of scientific studies showing the benefits that plants can have on our moods and wellbeing. Second, they can provide privacy and shade in a natural way.
Now, what plants to buy?
Depending on your balcony's size, you'll probably want 1-2 larger plants and a few smaller plants.
Of course, you'll want to look for plants that can do well in your area of the country. Your best bet is to go to your local garden shop or Lowe's and see what's in stock. Local nurseries and garden stores usually have knowledgeable staff who can help you figure out what will be the best fit for you.
I love growing herbs on my balcony. Basil is a great choice and it's awesome to have fresh basil on hand for cooking (it smells great too!).