Need some small patio ideas for your balcony or other outdoor space? Do you imagine it as a calm spot to sip your coffee in the morning and a welcoming retreat to come home to at the end of your day?
Here’s a few ways to help you bring that image to life.
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Small Patio Ideas
1. Have a purpose.
Before deciding what to do with your little outdoor space, think about how you will use it. Do you dine out there and entertain guests or is it a spot just to sit and relax with a beverage? Maybe you want it to be your own private sanctuary where you paint, write music, or meditate.
However you use it, let that determine how you furnish and decorate it. For example, there’s no reason to buy an outdoor table big enough to have a meal on if you won’t be dining there.
In the small patio below, this homeowner decided it was more comfortable for guests to kick back on pillows instead of chairs and this gives the space a charming, relaxed feel.
2. Think about your outdoor space as an extension of your home.
A patio or balcony can add some real usable square footage to your small space. Decorate it in the same style and color scheme as your home so it feels like another room and is cohesive with the rest of your decor.
3. Don’t discount your small patio because it’s too small.
Even a tiny outdoor balcony can be utilized as additional living space. This homeowner obviously wanted an outdoor nap spot and their dinky balcony did not deter them from getting it. The hammock gives their space a laid back, Jamaican vibe. For a similar look, here’s a highly rated hammock that comes in different colors.
4. Keep it clear of clutter.
Clutter makes any space look tiny and disorganized and it’s no different with an outdoor space. Have a spot to hide unsightly clutter and make sure the things you place on your patio are intentional and add to the beauty of the space. (Like the side table in the photo below? You can find a similar one here, with a removable top for storage!)
5. Get creative with the floor.
There are many ways to make the floor of your outdoor retreat not look like a sidewalk. Peel and stick linoleum, interlocking floor mats, or even painting the floor (if you’re not in a rental) will make it feel finished and more like another room.
Here’s a few product ideas to help you create a more beautiful patio floor:
6. Use rugs.
Rugs are one of the easiest small patio ideas to implement. They are an inexpensive way to give an outdoor floor a makeover and add warmth and texture to your little space.
For a really inexpensive and outdoor friendly rug, try making a painted dropcloth rug. This video shows how to do it. The patio in the video is large, but if you’re making a rug for a small patio, this is a quick and easy project.
7. Add potted plants and flowers.
The best thing about the outdoors is fresh air and greenery. Plants add life and charm to balconies and patios and if you can remember to water them, will really enhance your outdoor space.
Even the tiniest of balconies, like this one, can be a lovely spot to have morning coffee and it’s more than just having a table and chair on it. The little corner of green gives it a cheerier ambiance without which it just wouldn’t be the same.
8. Go vertical.
If you need all the floor space you can get for seating, go vertical with your plants and accessories. Either use a tall outdoor shelf to arrange them (this one would work), like the one below…
Or use painted cans and hang your greenery on the wall or fence.
9. Install Bench seating.
Bench seating is practical on a small patio because it’s narrower than chairs and utilizes corner space. It’s especially useful in a narrow patio space. In the picture below, they’ve used built in benches on one side of a rectangular table and nixed chairs on the opposite side so there’s plenty of room for traffic flow.
10. Make bench seating out of milk crates.
If rental restrictions prohibit built-in bench seating, make your own out of milk crates. You can make these as long or short as you like and you get bonus storage underneath for gardening supplies, or a place to store outdoor pillows or candles when it’s windy. For the instructions to build one, click the pin.
11. Get a folding table shelf.
This folding deck table is one of the best small patio ideas I’ve seen! Pull it out when you need a place to set drinks, and fold it down when you don’t need it.
12. Use furniture of the right scale.
Just like your indoor small space, you want to use furniture that’s the proper scale for your outdoor space so as not to overwhelm it.
13. Use multifunctional furniture.
Choose patio furniture with more than one use, such as a bench that contains storage, like the one below.
Speaking of benches, small ones like the one below are perfect on a small patio because they pull double duty as both a table and seating. They’re usually inexpensive and you might even be able to pick one up from a yard sale or thrift shop.
Garden stools are another practical addition to your patio for the same reason – they’re both chair and table in one. Plus, you can find them to match any decor. Here’s a couple we like:
14. Use furniture that’s visually light.
Patio furniture with open legs tends to make a small outdoor space look less cramped. The ability to see through the legs makes the area appear larger.
The set below is a great choice for a small patio bistro set. It’s lightweight and folds up and out of the way when you’re not using it. Plus, it comes in several colors!
15. Make a terrarium coffee table.
Add an interesting piece of furniture to your outside room with this beautiful terrarium coffee table that you can make yourself surprisingly easily. Watch the video to see how.
16. Transform your patio with wood pallets.
It’s amazing what you can do with an outdoor space even if you’re renting. The renters below came up with this small patio idea and renovated their patio using pallets. It’s all temporary and can be taken down when they move out. Click the pin to see the details of how they did it. It looks fantastic!
17. Make a drop front bar or drink server.
Furniture that folds out and back up again is perfect for a small space and when you can build it yourself, even better! This drop front bar can be installed on the wall and turns any space into an entertaining hot spot. Watch this video to see how to make one.
18. Add a portable bar.
Speaking of bars, here’s a fun addition to your patio or balconey – a patio table and cooler all in one!
19. Add privacy with greenery.
Create “walls” for your outdoor space using greenery, like these tall bamboo shoots.
20. Or add privacy with curtains.
Use curtains hung from a closet rod or tension rod. You might want to check with your apartment manager or HOA regarding hanging fabric on your balcony.
You can make some DIY curtains for your patio, like these, from cheap dropcloths. Click the pin for the tutorial.
21. Hang some lights
Twinkle lights make any space more beautiful and we just have to include them in our small patio ideas. Add them to your outside room for a romantic and festive atmosphere.
Use some icicle lights and a hula hoop to make this adorable outdoor chandelier.
22. Add a mirror.
Mirrors visually expand any space, indoor or outdoor. Put one one your patio to make it feel bigger and add glimmer and sophistication at the same time.
23. Hang some art.
Your walls outdoors need some adornment, just like they do indoors. Look around your house for art you’re not using and if it can fare well in weather, then try hanging it outside. Framed posters, wrought iron, or wood signs are good choices. Even some empty painted frames add an interesting element.
Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
The blogger below shows how to make this cute outdoor sign from a piece of wood. Click the pin for the tutorial.
This blogger painted a rubber doormat and hung it up for a wrought iron look without the weight. We’ve seen these painted in everything from neon to shabby chic and they look fantastic!
24. Make a fairy garden.
If you don’t have room for a garden or as many plants as you’d like, make a fairy garden. You can use a basket, box, pot, or planter tray and turn it into a tiny version of your ideal garden space. Add some lights and you have a whimsical piece of garden art for your patio or balcony.
25. Use textures and layers.
Don’t forget about the little touches of pillows, throws, and rugs over rugs to add some warmth to your outside room. These touches truly make a difference in the whole look and feel of a space and make it a more enticing spot in which to relax.
We hope with these small patio ideas, you can transform your little outdoor space into something that makes your home a little more sweet.
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