How to Make a Small Balcony Look Bigger in 9 Easy Steps

man sitting on a small balcony

Having a balcony is one of the biggest perks of living in an apartment. It can make your apartment feel twice as big to have an outdoor space attached to your living space. But what do you do when your balcony is very small?

To make your small balcony look bigger, you can use a few tricks. Building custom furniture for your space like a snug corner bench or a shelf that runs along your railing will make the most of your small space. Other visual tricks include using colors to create depth and drawing your eyes upward.

In this article, we will provide a step by step guide on how to make your small balcony look bigger. We will utilize visual tricks like colors, space, and styles of furniture.

1. Create Custom Furniture for Your Space

One of the best ways to make your small balcony look bigger is through the use of custom furniture. If you are able to, building custom furniture lets you make the perfect pieces for your place. You can build something that is functional, without taking up too much space.

Two of the best pieces you can build for your patio are a custom bench or a railing-top counter.

A custom bench can be used as the main seating in your outdoor space. A bench that runs along the wall can be topped with a cushion, and maximize the seating on the patio. Building a bench with open shelves beneath the seating also opens up the space and allows the bench to serve another purpose.

If you install a countertop that sits on your railing, you can use it as a table. All you have to do is add some stools and you have your own coffee nook, no extra furniture necessary. 

2. Install Multi-Use Furniture

Using furniture that serves multiple functions will allow you to have less furniture on the patio altogether. If you install a bench, make sure it has some storage underneath it. This can be in the form of shelves or a hidden compartment under the bench seat. You can use this to store blankets or your bench cushions if it rains.

3. Utilize Your Wall Space

wall shelf on balcony

If you don’t have much real estate on your patio, then you need to maximize all of it. This includes using your outdoor walls. Mount things on your walls, or even lean things against it. 

Install a trellis in one wall and use it to hang plants. This can free up deck space, and brighten up the space, all at once. Studies have found that access to outdoor space can lower stress and increase your mental health.

You can also lean tall things against the wall if you aren’t allowed to drill into your outdoor walls. Lean a tall ladder against one wall, and hang some cozy throws on it to create a blanket ladder. 

4. Draw the Eyes Upwards

cozy balcony with artificial grass

One classic trick of interior design is to move the eyes around the room. Spreading visual focus around a space instead of having one main focus makes you more aware of the entire space. On your patio, you can draw the eyes upward and make the space feel more open by hanging something around the top of your patio.

This is the ideal place to hang some twinkling lights for year-round ambiance. It will draw your eyes up and outward to the expansive sky. It will also create a warm atmosphere and can allow you to enjoy your patio to its fullest extent.

You could also hang some lanterns, plants, or even train some ivy to trail around the enclosure. The importance of plants for your mental health is huge. Hanging some greenery around the top of your balcony will not only make it look bigger, but it could allow you to reap some of the scientific benefits of plants:

  • Better sleep
  • Decreased diabetes
  • Decreased ocular discomfort
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Improved rehabilitation
  • Lower cardiovascular disease and blood pressure
  • Decreased mortality
  • Obesity reduction
  • Positive cognitive development

5. Lay Down a Carpet With Stripes

Another way to trick your mind into thinking that your balcony is bigger than it is is to use leading lines. Leading lines are used in photography and film to point the viewers’ attention to something in the frame. You can use these same principles when expanding your balcony- visually.

If you lay down an outdoor rug with stripes that point towards your railing, your eye will naturally be led towards the edge of the deck and beyond. You will look forward into space, and into the view beyond your deck, and the deck will feel bigger because of this.

6. Combine Very Bright and Very Dark Colors

dark balcony with breakfast set

When you’re decorating your balcony, try to use a combination of very light and very dark colors. The combination of the extreme shades will create depth and encourage your eye to move around the space.

You may think that you should decorate everything in one similar shade to make the space look bigger, but this tends to wash a space out and make it all appear flat. To add depth, layer the light colors and the dark colors, and have fun with it.

7. Use Furniture With Legs

balcony chair and table set with legs

The best furniture to use on a small deck is furniture with legs. This means furniture that has pieces you can see through, like a classic four-legged wooden stool, instead of a bulky woven chair that has a full back you can’t see through. Solid furniture takes up more visual space, while furniture with legs allows more space to be seen.

READ ALSO: 8 Best Chairs for a Small Balcony

8. Buy a Glass Table

If you need a table on your patio at all, and depending on your uses, you may not get a glass table. As with the legged furniture, having a glass table will allow you to have a functional piece of furniture, without clogging up the space. You’ll be able to have coffee and see the view all at once.

9. De-clutter the Space

The final, and possibly most important step in creating a larger-looking balcony is declaring the space. Clean every surface, corner, and storage shelf on the balcony. Remove everything, and only add back those items that fall into the following criteria:

  • Items that are useful
  • Items that add depth
  • Items that you love

Once you’ve sorted through these items, try and place them in areas that will encourage the eye to move around. Utilize the walls in your outdoor space, or store unattractive things in your hidden bench compartment.

It’s good practice to regularly clean every room in your house, especially the crowded ones. Try and tidy your deck every time you use it, and perform a weekly clean of some heavier chores. Sweep your balcony, clean the glass of your railings and new table, and water your plants. Caring for your small space will make it more enjoyable.

Summing Up

These are the 9 simple steps you can take to make your small balcony look bigger. Most of them use visual tricks to make the mind perceive the space as larger than it is. Some of these tricks are common in interior design, and some are borrowed from other practices, like photography.

By following all of the steps in this guide, you will create a custom balcony experience that allows you to make the most of your precious outdoor space while being functional. Don’t be afraid of small spaces, lean into the coziness of them instead.

LaShawn Toyoda

I love home decor, DIY, and gardening. During my free time I enjoy looking for new ways to improve my home so that it's more organized, comfortable, and relaxing. My apartment in Japan has a small balcony with a great view. I created this site to share and get ideas for how to decorate and better utilize my balcony space.

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