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Apartment Outdoors: Good Things Come in Small Packages

I have noticed that most outdoor design and living articles assume one has a big backyard, or at least some type of backyard. However there are a lot of people who live in small homes or apartments who are lucky to have a balcony. Does that mean they have to pack up and go to the park every time they get a jones for some outdoor relaxation or entertaining?

The smallest balcony, terrace, or patio can afford the opportunity to create an inviting outdoor space. Here are some ideas to maximize your minimal space:

1.  Look for furniture that serves double duty


Dijon Storage Box by Caluco
The Dijon storage chest by Caluco, for example, can double as storage and as a coffee table. 

Ocean Beach Stool by Zuo Modern
The all-weather wicker Ocean Beach stool by Zuo Modern can step in as an occasional table. 
Uptown Fire Pit Table - Black by Outdoor GreatRoom
The Uptown firepit by Outdoor Greatroom would add ambiance and sophistication to any space, while the ledge allows for glasses and plates. 
Bali Deep Seating by Woodard
This sweet synthetic wicker loveseat by Woodard has a coordinating ottoman that can double as extra seating.


Sherwood Bench by Hanamint
This simple bench by Hanamint can double as a coffee table.

Mirabella Wicker Chaise Lounge by Caluco

Consider a couple of cushion chaise lounges that lie flat. You can chill on this Mirabella Chaise by Caluco on Saturday and use it for bench-style seating for guests on Sunday.


2. Look for furniture that offers self-contained storage


Bay Shore Counter Height by Woodard

The Bay Shore Counter Height Dining by Woodard is designed so that the stools store underneath the table.

Seaside Bar Height Wicker by Leisure Select

Another version of this concept is the Seaside Counter Height Dining by Leisure Select.


3.  Small or adjustable sectionals are ideal for pint-sized spaces

The Metropolitan Sectional by Woodard is completely convertible to adjust to your unique situation.

Metropolis Sectional by Woodard

Caluco’s synthetic wicker sectional is another small option that provides plenty of seating in a not so big area.

10 Tierra Deep Seating by Caluco


4.  Think about traditional furniture in new ways

Two loveseats facing each other across a coffee table may fit better into your small space than a sofa, loveseat and chair combination.

Jax Deep Seating by Woodard

Jax Deep Seating by Woodard would look fabulous on an urban patio.


Dover Occasional Seating by Ebel

The Dover by Ebel would make a cozy spot to eat, read, and relax.

5.  Traditional pub tables and chairs are perfect for a balcony.

Pub tables are small and also allow you to see over the railing to take in the view.  The Island Breeze Pub Set by Panama Jack is fresh and functional. Tommy Bahama’s Tres Chic Bar Height set offers another upscale option.

Island Breeze 3-PC Slatted Pub Table Set by Panama Jack          Tres Chic Bar Height by Tommy Bahama


6. Accessorize with intent.

This baker’s rack or console table by Hanamint can serve up food and drinks at a buffet as well as display plants and pottery. 

Newport Bakers Rack by HanamintNewport Console Table by Hanamint

For a more simple take on the same idea, this buffet table by Berlin Gardens would also work and is available in a variety of colors. Also consider a tea cart, like the Chateau from Hanamint. Serve up tea, wine, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres; push the cart out of the way when it’s not in use.


Buffet Table by Berlin Gardens         Chateau Tea Cart by Hanamint


7. Pull it all together with an outdoor rug.

Rugs can anchor a space; make it feel cohesive and unified.  The right rug can add a splash of color and make an otherwise unfriendly space much more inviting.

Charleston Outdoor Rug - Henna by Treasure Garden                Lodge Outdoor Rug - Redwood by Treasure Garden   

You’re not finished yet! This is where the fun starts. After you have chosen your furnishings, it’s time to add some fun.

Whatever your style, add some interest with color; pillows, pottery, and outdoor wall art.

Outdoor lighting is always a great idea; those floodlights are only inviting to moths. There are many ways to add some attractive lighting to your patio; lanterns, candles, torches, outdoor lamps. A citronella torch will add a touch of class, discourage mosquitoes and provide some illumination.

One of the disadvantages of apartment living is that there usually isn’t the space for a garden. Potted plants, in varying heights and sizes will do much to make your outdoor space appealing. Also consider affixing a trellis to a wall for vining plants or start a vertical garden which is a cool look and a great use of space. Choose your plants with intent to attract certain types of wildlife to your outdoor space; attract hummingbirds with azaleas, bee balm, hostas, petunias and honeysuckle. Butterflies love violets, sunflowers and nasturtium. Or make your potted garden both beautiful and practical and plant dill, mint, parsley, sage, and oregano. A big pot of citronella or lemongrass will help ward off mosquitoes.

Don’t forget the grill! Grills are available in all sizes and styles; there is sure to be one that you can incorporate into your smaller space. This grill by Outdoor GreatRoom has a small profile and the handy shelves give you all the prep area you need.

Legacy Electric Grill


Do yourself a favor and get to work on that balcony, terrace or patio. You can relax, entertain, and enjoy the great outdoors in any space, no matter how small.


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