Balcony Makeover, Part Two

If you missed Part One, I decided to start using our balcony. The first step was to use deck tiles to cover up the concrete and make the space more inviting. I had an idea of what I wanted: a deck box to hide Roman’s volleyball and a sofa that I could sink into. We have sufficient space to entertain at least 4 people comfortably on the balcony. I just had to figure out how to make the space work for us.

I’ve had my eye on the Havsten love seat since it was released. I love how big the cushions are. Unfortunately, it was about 15 inches too big for my plans and I had to scrap that idea and start fresh. Once it was clear that we would be staying home for months due to COVID-19, it became imperative that I set this space up as soon as possible. I spent hours on Pinterest and Instagram trying to get a clear idea of what I wanted from this space.

As you can see from my saved pins, there’s lots of wood, white and greenery, with a touch of blue. Although I love the clean look and California cool vibes, it does not go with our home aesthetic. Our home is filled with blues and teals, pinks, purples and reds. Referring to the pins were a great starting point and helped me find the Ikea Äpplarö line of furniture which works very well for our space. Then I just had to add touches that make the transition from indoor to outdoor seamless.

Here is my Ikea-heavy mood board. I’m going to go into more detail below, but I wanted to give you an idea of how to plan for any space. You can do this on Photoshop or Microsoft Word or even Paint. Create a scaled down version of the empty space. For my 19ft by nearly 5ft balcony, I did a 19cm by 5cm rectangle. I then filled it with the pieces I thought I wanted to use and saved the images around my floor plan. I included some colour palette ideas and and image of what the space looked like to start to remind myself of what my goals were.

I found the deck box first. It’s a perfect fit on our balcony. I wanted to have the deck box on the wall that is to the left of the balcony door, because it’s much closer to the door. As I mentioned before, the deck box is mainly to house Roman’s volleyball equipment. The equipment used to be stored in our bedroom closest, because that’s the only place it would fit. Every weekend in the summer, sand would track from the door to the bedroom closet. This deck box is so large that there’s tons of space for pillows and throws to fit into the box along with the volleyball equipment! And it can double as seating or as a table top!

For the time being, I’ve moved the remaining tiles into the box. Please ignore the dirty tiles. I tried to mop the tiles up before I got started, but my mop was a disaster! The situation was remedied later on.

Once I had decided on my deck box, I had to figure out my seating. I was looking for something that I could lounge on, as well as being able to seat several people if we were entertaining on the balcony. Ideally I was looking for a small sectional. My balcony is 19′ 10″ x 4′ 6″, and most of the loveseats I liked were slightly too large to fit against a 55″ wall. So a sectional was highly improbably. Then I stumbled across this chair. Unfortunately the corner section chair, with the two backs, does not fit into my small space, but I was still able to create a sectional using these modular chairs.

Hack: If you’re even tighter on space, you can use coffee table/stool and if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to create sectional seating, look into Ikea hacks with the Lack table.

I bought the chairs that come prepacked with the back and seat cushions. I liked the Jarpön covers, but those would be difficult to keep clean. Instead I got the Frösön covers which are light and neutral.

Hack: During my search I came across a few vendors who create custom covers for the pillow. If you like Ikea prices, but want your furniture to look less like an Ikea catalogue, browse Etsy (and the Internet at large) for custom cushions and covers.

To complete this area of the balcony, I needed a little table. Somewhere to prop a laptop or a drink and some snacks. I searched endlessly to find the right piece. I wanted something circular to break up the rigidity of the tiles and seating. I wanted something that could tuck into and around the seating, but also be easy to move around the balcony. I found this side table and the whole balcony sort of clicked into place for me.

Hack (or just general life tip): If you’re looking to save a little money (who isn’t?) I would suggest spending some extra time searching websites. I wish I had looked at some other sites before I bought my table, because I later found a cheaper version elsewhere. I’m not about to try and return anything while we are all on quarantine, so going forward, I will be more diligent in my online browsing.

I’ve had the cart for several years. I love how versatile it is and the fun pop of colour. Ikea changes the colour selections up every year, and right now they are selling it in white, black, and a trendy grayish green. The cart actually lives in our bedroom, holding writing utensils, flash drives and a lot of clutter. If you know me, it’s not a surprise that I’ve been cleaning and de-cluttering a lot, and I was actually able to clear everything off. It’s perfect paired with the table and will be a great way to showcase plants, hold drinks, and store blankets.

I felt this armchair would be the perfect way to brighten up the other end of the balcony. It’s perfectly positioned so that conversations can flow on to the balcony from the living room. I got this gorgeous teal pouffe as well, which can be used as a foot rest or as additional seating if needed. If you’re keeping track, I can now seat roughly 8-10 people on the balcony now. That might seem crazy considering our entire apartment is under 500 sq ft, but, we entertain a lot and it’s crazy how we’ve neglected this outdoor space for so many years.

The pillows are Sunbrella pillows from Indigo. They were on our gift registry, and now seeing them in the space reminds us of our lovely friends. The bronze lantern was actually thrifted by my mom. It can hold a candle, but I’ll probably be using string lights (also remnants from our wedding celebration last year).

Beyond the finishing touches and greenery, there are two pieces left to tackle. The first is rugs. I have an idea of what I want, but the particular pieces I want are no longer available. I was planning on getting cotton rugs from H&M, because those are machine washable and extremely affordable. The other remaining element is the eyesore that is our A/C. I haven’t figured out what to do there yet. Originally I was thinking of a small dining table, but I think a small table won’t work because the A/C unit is so bulky — you need some space for your legs under a table! I’m now considering a custom A/C cover, maybe a DIY, so it’s not as hideous.

I thought I’d be done with the space in Part Two, but apparently not! Keep an eye out for Balcony Makeover, Part Three. Also, if you’re doing any home improvements, I’d love to hear about them!

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