outdoor furniture for outdoor space

How to Live Big in a Small Outdoor Space

After a long winter of confinement, spring – and the chance to get outside and expand our living area—is especially refreshing this year. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that outdoor space is a gift… even if we’re talking about a small and seemingly underwhelming patio or balcony. 

Add the right design choices, and your tiny balcony or awkward patch of yard can be turned into a practical and stylish haven! Consider these simple tips and start enjoying your outdoors to the fullest.

Avoid boxy furniture on small balconies

outdoor furniture for outdoor space

If you’re working with a small balcony, nothing eats up space like big and boxy patio furniture. Avoid boxy framing and ample plush seating. Instead, choose chairs and tables with slim legs and a small footprint; this will maximize your floor space both visually and spatially. Modern designs tend to fit the bill, though if you prefer a classic look, a small bistro set is compact as well as charming.

If you opt for a boxier piece, make it a bench or a sectional that will hug the walls for a built-in look (the slimmer the profile, the less it will weigh down the overall design).

Choose double-duty items

Put hybrid items to work! How great would it be if that bench was also a storage chest for cushions and throws? When space is limited, pieces that fulfill multiple purposes – or can be easily rearranged to fit your needs— are a huge asset. Consider items with hidden storage or versatile pieces such as stools used as seating, small coffee tables/end-tables, or plant stands.

Trend alert: the Japanese garden stool is a stylish and versatile piece that can be easily moved around and put to multiple uses!

Get grilling with compact barbecues

couple barbecuing in their outdoor space.

You don’t need a big backyard to enjoy outdoor cooking! There are compact barbecue options to suit any small space. Small kettle charcoal grills fit nicely on a balcony or small patio. They are often permitted in condo/apartment buildings that forbid gas/propane barbecues. The incomparable Big Green Egg also has a Mini Egg that is perfect for tight spaces!

If gas-fueled grills are permitted, consider a portable option. You can leave a portable gas grill on the balcony (on a compact table) as a permanent setup or store it indoors and bring it out whenever you need it. 

Lastly, if gas and charcoal combustion is not permitted, a portable electric grill might be your sweet spot. If you don’t have an outdoor outlet, you’ll just need an extension cord when you want to cook. That is a small price to pay to enjoy versatile grilling in your beautifully designed balcony oasis!

All of these options are compact and convenient and allow you to have a cooking corner in addition to a small dining table, a cozy sectional, or a peaceful balcony garden.  

Divide and conquer—dividers for townhouses or attached balconies

A divider on balcony for outdoor space.

No matter how beautiful your balcony setup is, it’s hard to kick back and enjoy it if you feel too exposed to neighbours and passers-by. Whether you want to shield your balcony from the street or distinguish your space from your neighbours’, you can create peace and privacy for yourself with any of these genius ideas

There’s a beautiful and practical solution for every style, from growing tall plants or installing lattices to hanging curtains or upcycling old pallets.

Make it yours with details

Treat your outdoor space like anywhere else in your home and personalize it. There are so many clever ways to turn blah to wow!

Use your walls. Decorating your balcony walls with plants or styled shelving will have a significant impact! Floating shelves or planters are a great idea, as is a small leaning shelf. 

Spruce the floor! Underwhelmed by what’s underfoot? There’s no rule against putting down a bold carpet or installing outdoor flooring. A concrete floor can also be painted with a fun pattern!

Go green. In exchange for a bit of care, plants can do most of the decorating for you! Whether you opt for lots of blooms, trailing greenery, or herbs and veggies, a balcony teeming with flora makes for a beautiful and inviting sanctuary. If space is tight, choose planters that don’t take up too much (or any) floorspace, such as over-the-banister flower boxes and hanging planters.

Want inspiration? Check out these lovely balcony garden ideas.

Light it up! Hang string lights or arrange solar-powered lanterns to create ambiance. Pair these with some citronella candles, and you’ll surely want to stay out on the balcony well into the evening.

Throw shade. If your balcony gets too much sun, consider investing in a retractable awning or in a pivoting parasol so that you can catch rays on your own terms. See some of our shade options here. 

Your Fireplace, BBQ & Patio Experts Since 1952

The Fireplace Center and Patio Shop is your one-stop shop for all your indoor and outdoor essentials. With one of Canada’s largest showrooms, we have over 200 fireplaces on display. With extensive knowledge in BBQs, heating and cooling, and patio furniture, you can trust our team to provide expert advice, quality assembly and installation. Call us today.


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