Living the city life doesn't necessarily mean giving up outdoor space. While a cosy apartment doesn't usually come with a big backyard or a lavish rooftop garden, there's no reason not to enjoy the outdoor space balconies have to offer.
In fact, a well-designed balcony could be a happy medium. You get a green, breezy place to enjoy your morning coffee without having to look after a high-maintenance garden.
How are you going to use it?
Before you can start designing your custom balcony, envision yourself on it. Are you looking to entertain friends there? Is it just a place to have your morning coffee? Or is it the place where you'll spend your evenings and weekends lounging with a book? Based on functionality, you can start accessorising.
For a cosy book nook for example, you could look at placing a bench on your balcony and covering it with pillows, cushions and throws. For a resort-worthy place to relax, you could even consider hanging a hammock. No matter the size of your balcony, there's always a way to turn it into an outdoor oasis.
Choose the right furniture
Choosing the right furniture will save you a lot of time and money. If you're looking at your balcony as a space for entertaining, it's smart to invest in some sturdy outdoor dining furniture. Remember to look at weather resistant materials, or incorporate a canopy or umbrella.
Try to think of your balcony as an extension of the adjacent room. A consistency in style makes for a beautiful, open space that's basically a part of your indoor apartment.
Create a garden retreat
A great way to really create that outdoor feeling is to add some green to your balcony. No matter the size, there's always a way to incorporate some plants. If you're limited in space, why not experiment with a vertical garden? You could even utilise this as a way to create more privacy.
If you have a fair bit of space, using plants of different sizes and heights can really create that feeling of sitting in a garden. However, it's important to be smart about going green. For example, it's probably best not to go for plants that need a lot of sunlight if your balcony is in the shade for most of the day – and while plants aren't as high-maintenance as a big backyard, they still need to be watered daily. For your shady spots, think foliage plants. Hart's tongue fern, ivies and aspidistra will instantly transport you to plant heaven.
Whether you're renting or buying an apartment, always consider the outdoor space. It can be picture perfect as well as functional – who needs a big backyard when you've got a custom balcony?