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Pro Tips

How to transform a small balcony

If you live in a small condo or apartment like me, you will know that the little space you have is precious. Having an outdoor space, no matter how small, is a huge bonus. In this article, I’m sharing my tips to transform this space into an outdoor room with dining, lounging and gardening functions. The best part? You can have them all done in only one weekend and make the most of your outdoor space!

Tiffany Leigh
Interior designer

Paint the Checkerboard Floor

We had basic dark brown wooden patio tiles left behind by the previous tenant. Although we liked the function of them, I wasn’t crazy about the look. So, I used some deck paint to give them a makeover. Here are the steps to achieve this project:

  1. Wash down your deck tiles with warm, soapy water.
  2. Lightly sand your wooden tiles with a sander.
  3. Select two colours from SICO’s line and have them mixed into SICO Latex Paint and Primer exterior paint in satin finish. For this project, we used SICO colours Pale Birch and Fine Faience.
  4. Paint row by row, alternating colours with good quality brushes.
  5. Wait the drying time specified on the paint can, and apply a second coat.
  6. Allow to dry fully before moving anything onto the patio, and protect your paint job by adding felt pads to your furniture legs.

(Project cost approx. $150)


Paint the Patio Furniture

We also had previously purchased a small, patio sized sofa from the balcony, but it came in the same dark brown finish which I didn’t love. Cue the magic of paint to transform the sofa for a more resort style look. I used the same SICO exterior deck paint in Pale Birch to give the sofa fresh makeover. We used the same steps for the furniture as we did for the floor tiles! Since we already had the sander, brushes and paint for the floors, this project didn’t cost us anything!

Build a Privacy Wall

Another DIY project we undertook is our privacy trellis. Before, there was a frosted glass screen separating us from our neighbour, but it felt too cold and modern, and didn’t feel wholly private. Here are the steps to achieve this project:

  1. Premeasure the area you would like to cover (width and height).
  2. Head to your local Rona lumber yard and purchase 20 pieces of 1 in x 3 in lumber.
  3. Cut two pieces to your premeasured height and the remaining 18 pieces to your premeasured width.
  4. Lay the 2 vertical pieces down, and screw the horizontal pieces down the back, leaving about 1.5 in between the slats.
  5. Paint two coats of SICO Latex Paint and Primer exterior paint in satin finish.
  6. Secure to the existing dividing screen using twist ties or twine.

(Project cost approx. $40, not including paint and screws).


Create a Balcony Herb Garden

Even a small balcony can be a green space. We love fresh herbs to add to salads all summer long. Here are the steps to achieve this project:

  1. We used a foldable patio bar cart and we love it! It folds up nicely for off season, a key in small spaces!
  2. Head to your local Rona garden centre and select a variety of pots. I love terra cotta pots and neutral-toned planters.
  3. Select a variety of herbs and veggies to plant. We chose: mint, basil, sage, chives, oregano, thyme and tomatoes.
  4. Don’t forget to pick up your potting soil and a garden trowel.
  5. Move your plants into the new pots and arrange on the bar cart. Give everything a good drink of water!

(Project cost approx. $170)


Decorate the Balcony

We finished off our outdoor space with some vintage and second-hand patio furniture, and we’ve been busy enjoying the space ever since. We live in a very small condo, and being able to transform this space into an outdoor room with dining, lounging and gardening functions has made our place feel so much bigger! I look forward to many evenings out here with good food and close friends.

To check out the behind the scenes and step-by-step of this project, head to Tiffany’s Instagram where she’s saved her patio makeover to her story highlights!

Tiffany Leigh
Interior designer
Tiffany Piotrowski is the founder and principal designer of Tiffany Leigh Design, a Toronto based interior design firm specializing in renovation and decoration. Tiffany lives with her partner Luke in a small downtown condo and loves tackling DIY projects to make their rental feel like home.

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