How to Create a Functional Balcony

Balconies are a great way to incorporate outdoor fun with indoor living. They add space to the home, and they have been found to increase the value of your home. A balcony that has been beautifully constructed will impact the home’s style and atmosphere, but to get to that point, there’s a lot you need to consider. 

To start, you need to take into account the purpose and function, the location and views, materials you’re using to create the balcony, and the style you’re after. The following tips will help you to create a balcony that is functional and inviting.

Define the purpose of the balcony

Think about why you want the balcony and what you’re planning to do with it. Do you want to sit there during the day to rest? Or will you invite your friends over and have drinks and dance there at night? By defining what you want it for, you’ll be able to come up with a quality design and size to suit. 

Ensure it works all year round

There’s no point in spending your hard-earned money on a new balcony if you’re only going to be able to use it for one season in the year. Take note of where the sun rises and sets so you can determine whether your balcony needs a roof or another source of shade. Choose durable fabrics that withstand all weather conditions for your furnishings and ensure you are getting enough airflow in the summer. 

Consider health and wellbeing

Your balcony is not only good for adding value to the home, but it’s also great for adding value to your life. Fresh air is great for your health, promoting healthy brain function, energy, and healing. A balcony provides a place where you can sit, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. It could be turned into a play area for the kids or an entertainment space where you can sit with friends and enjoy a feast and a glass of wine.

Add a balcony garden

A balcony garden is a great way to add color and greenery to your property. It can be any size, depending on what space permits. Think hanging flowers, vegetables, and herbs cascading over the balcony railings, just like you see in the postcards from Italy. Include railing baskets, large and small pots, vertical gardens over the walls. Tomatoes and rosemary, strawberries and carrots, squash and geraniums – these are all ideal plants to include in your balcony haven. Do your research, find out where the sun sits vs shade, and talk to someone at your local garden shop if you get stuck for ideas. 

Add lighting for your balcony

Given that balconies are generally quite small, you don’t want to overdo the lighting. String lights, including Christmas lights, are cheap and won’t take up any space – hang them from the roof or the railings and add some color to the mix as well. If you do have space on the floor or table, candle lanterns provide a romantic and relaxing ambiance, while modern lamps provide enough lighting for reading, eating, or entertaining. Looking for something different? Try pendant lighting or umbrella marquee lights. 

Add some furniture 

Depending on the amount of space you have, the options for furniture are endless. From large lounges to floor cushions, small side tables to large dining sets, chairs, and hammocks, or folding furniture that’s easy to remove and store. Start by taking a look at the space and deciding what you want to do with it, search online for ideas, and then start shopping. 

Think about noise and wind

You don’t want your balcony to be exposed to a lot of noise, so try not to build it on a busy street side. Consider the amount of wind the property gets and whether you need to reduce the impact with a recessed or cantilevered balcony. Ensure the balcony is big enough to fit everyone who needs to use it – you want at least three feet for two people, six feet for four people, and so on. And consider your privacy – do you want to be looking at your neighbors, or have them looking across at you? 

Take note of what’s underneath

From creating an intimate space to a place for entertainment, a balcony is the perfect outdoor space that’s an affordable addition to your home. Finally, it’s imperative that when planning your balcony, you also keep in mind that you not only have to take note of what goes on the balcony but also what lies underneath. Balcony leaks are common and are usually the result of lack of planning, no building maintenance, pooling rainwater, and lack of drainage. Don’t let your balcony create problems for your home’s foundations or your assets. 

Is it a rental property?

If you are a landlord who is considering creating a functional balcony in your home or apartment, there are a few more things to consider asides from the above. As the landlord, once constructed, you will be responsible for maintaining all common elements, including balconies. It is imperative that thought goes into the design and construction of your balcony, as without the proper grounding support and regular maintenance, bolts and nuts become rusty, and if they’re not replaced, they can become a safety concern. 

As people tend to lean on balconies, they can also suffer extreme levels of wear and tear. Keeping up with the maintenance of your property is therefore imperative. An increasing number of landlords are choosing modern property management software to keep up to speed on their property maintenance, with many software options allowing landlords to submit and complete maintenance requests online, and even allow tenants to submit maintenance requests too. You can set reminders to yourself for how often you should check on things in your rental like balcony safety and electrical appliances, and get notifications when you’re due a maintenance check. 

Ultimately, a balcony is a wonderful addition to a home or a rental property, simply make sure that you’ve defined its purpose, taken note of what’s underneath, thought about the elements, and considered your tenants if it’s a rental and the cost of regular checks and maintenance. 

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