One of the biggest decorating challenges for an apartment dweller is what to do with a small patio or balcony. While difficult, it is possible to make the most of your space and stay within your budget.
Furniture is one of the most expensive things you’ll need to purchase for your space. A good bet is to pick a few nice pieces that you love instead of cluttering up the area and making it appear even smaller than it is. Some vintage or used furniture items can be found at flea markets or rummage sales and can be restored with simply some spray pain or a new cushion. A popular option for cramped outdoor quarters is a bistro set. A bistro set usually consists of a small table and two chairs and is named for the informal French restaurants that feature such tables and chairs for outdoor dining. While it may sound expensive, some inexpensive bistro sets can be found. Www.target.com sells a number of bistro sets in wicker, metal, or wood, and even has some table tops with attractive mosaic designs. The sets are affordable, too, with most under $200.
A relaxing touch to any outdoor environment is water. The sound of running water is soothing and can provide a great deal of atmosphere for a small amount of money. While a small pond may not be possible if you are only dealing with a balcony or small patio, a compact standing fountain or table fountain will provide the same effect for a fraction of the cost. These fountains come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. My favorite is sold by Target and is available online called the Water Bell Fountain. It produces not only the sound of water, but also of softly chiming bells. It sounded to me like a mix between a fountain and a beautiful wind chime. Its copper-colored bowl was neutral and sure to fit the theme of any patio or balcony; and at $135, it’s a steal.
The center and most functional piece on any balcony or patio tends to be the barbeque grill. Warm weather and entertaining family and friends have become synonymous with barbequing. However, it is oftentimes an impossible task to fit a functional grill into a cramped patio or balcony without taking up all of the free space. The best option we found was Char-Broil’s Electric Patio Caddie. This particular grill was designed specifically for a tiny patio or balcony so it takes up only 187 square inches of precious space. Better yet, it’s electric! It still provides all the benefits of barbeque taste, but there is no empting coals at the end of the day, which can be a Godsend if you are in a high-rise apartment building a few floors up. The Patio Caddie is also available in a gas grill version for those who can’t bear the thought of grilling with electric and the retail for under $150 on www.target.com.