Designing A Tiny Balcony? – The Post That Mallory Wishes She Had Read Before She Started

Do you have a balcony that’s so small you can hardly fit any people or normal-sized furniture on it? I’ve lived with these awkward spaces before (and usually just never get around to designing them) and now I’m dealing with it again, but this time is different. Now, if you’re lucky enough to have one of these spaces, they can be very useful, but designing it for function (well, and fashion, of course) is the tricky part. Let’s be honest, balconies are hard to design when they are small, but I’m a firm believer that if you do it right, it can be an outdoor oasis, morning coffee-spot, or the ultimate small entertaining space. If you’re part of the “unused, undesigned, small-balcony” club, don’t worry –– so am I and I’m going to tell you what I wish I had known thus far into the designing process (plus I want your input, so wait ’til the end)…

So, my studio starter apartment design saga continues as I attempt to figure out how to design our teeny-tiny balcony (If you missed the first two posts, you can check out my apartment plan here and feature wall ideas here). I’m really lucky to have a little outdoor space like this in a studio, and I’m desperate to use it to its fullest potential. When I first started this balcony design process, as a beginner, I was lost and really needed someone to tell me where to start and what to do. Every article I found on designing balconies had the same problem: they were real size balconies and my space was so much smaller that it just felt unrelatable. So, I thought I’d use the power of being on the EHD team to write the kind of blog post that I wish I had when first attempting to design my balcony from scratch (no seriously, I had no furniture to start with). I studied up on this “how to design any room” blog post (which you should definitely check out), and I’m going to show you how a beginner is actually implementing these steps & applying them. So consider this a step-by-step guide showing you exactly where to start when designing a small balcony (since that can feel like the hardest part) –– plus I’ll show you what I’m doing and where I’m at in the process. Let’s begin!

My balcony space is a 3 x 7 ft rectangle that fits 2-4 people max (and that’s without furniture). Well, even without furniture 4 people might be pushing it…I’m telling you guys this space is very small. So knowing this information, I took to Pinterest to see what sort of things I could do that would fit the space. This brings me to my first step in this process…

FIND INSPIRATION PHOTOS

Top row from left to right: Image Source | Unknown Image Source | Image Source
Bottom row from left to right: Image Source| Image Source| Image Source

P.S. if you haven’t gotten our obvious secret, we ALWAYS start with finding inspiration photos. Even if our final designs look NOTHING like them.

Now, I love all of these above photos and their fun vibes, but the same problem kept occurring, when I was looking for inspiration…these balconies are double if not triple the size of my own. Seriously, they could swallow my balcony whole and would definitely win in a fistfight with their non-dominant hand. However, these photos are an excellent starting point and are helpful to reference, so now I just need to figure out what elements to pull from them. Which leads to the next big question:

WHAT FUNCTION SHOULD IT SERVE?

This is the first big question we asked ourselves. Do we want to use this space as an outdoor dining area? Should we make it a lounge? OR do we set up a bar cart and entertain 3 friends? I think what we want is a little bit of everything (which makes things hard) SO…our MAIN priority is to make it loungey. We want it to be a place where we can comfortably sit and chat, maybe read a book, or have a glass of wine. We want it to be the “chillin” spot in our apartment. Our little hang. We felt that was the best option because, this really has the coolest view in the house, so we want to be able to relax and enjoy it.

MEASURE YOUR SPACE…IMMEDIATELY

I made the most classic beginner mistake here. We moved into our apartment and I took no measurements. Surely I could eyeball anything that came my way at the thrift store, right? Wrong. I was driving and came across a Goodwill, and at this point I still only had a mattress to my name, so I figured I’d stop by to see if I could find any good furniture deals since we were in great need for anything to sit on that wasn’t our floor. I strolled in and went straight for the furniture section and…DID MY EYES DECEIVE ME? TWO BRAND NEW OUTDOOR TARGET CHAIRS? STILL IN THE PLASTIC?? FOR $89 EACH?? These chairs are any outdoor space’s dream you guys. Emily has them at the mountain house and we’ve used them in Target shoots before, so I spotted them instantly. I quickly impulse bought them because wow they were a good deal. I then shoved one chair at a time into my VW bug (I had to make two trips), and drove slowly to my apartment with my trunk wide open and hazards on. I had a feeling when I couldn’t fit them in my car that they definitely wouldn’t fit all that great on my balcony (which ended up being true), see for yourself…

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