Amid the lockdown, most of us have come to realise that we have some favourite corners in the house where we like (or end up) to spend most of our time, whether it is reading, writing, working, making calls or just spending some ‘me time’. For many of us that space is the balcony. So why not use the time on your hands to add some life to your little corner and transform it?
Pankaj Poddar, co-founder of Hipcouch shares, “With musical concerts, socialising, flash mobs, dancing, and exercising happening on balconies, they are slowly turning into venues of entertainment and ‘get-togethers’ across the world. In India, balconies never really got their due. For some, it is a dump yard, and for others, a place to dry their clothes. Now that most other activities have come to a standstill, people seem to have some time on their hands. Such a scenario can be unnerving for the dwellers.”
So a balcony transformation project can be fun. You will be able to convert the once-neglected space into a purposeful, cosy, and cheerful den for you and your family. All you need is some creativity.
Here are some easy ideas to bring your balcony to life, as suggested by Poddar.
An assessment of your space
What is the area and the layout? Is it a narrow space or a wide balcony? It will help in planning the space. For example, if it is a small balcony, you may not have enough space to put a big table. The choice of furniture, the usage, will depend upon the area available. Make a rough plan as per the space so you can begin your balcony transformation.
Dust, clear, and clean
The next step is to clear the balcony of everything you have dumped there over the years. Wipe the dust off the railings and walls, rub the floor, and clean the corners. A thorough cleaning itself will give the space a new look. For DIY aficionados, here is a suggestion to get busy: if you have some leftover paint at home, why don’t you spruce up the railings a bit? We all need some cheering up at this point!
Prepare your balcony for your purpose
How will you want to utilise your balcony? Will your family also join in at some time? The usage will help you in preparing the balcony and bringing in the necessary elements. For example, if you wish to do your work from your balcony, you will need a chair and table. If you want it to be a family assembly place, you will need a seating space. If you wish it to be a cosy corner, you could opt for just a comfy bean bag.
Not all balconies are spacious. So, the idea is to work with the area available. Foldable furniture is best for balconies because when you don’t need them, you can just store them away and free up the space. If you do not have any such chairs or tables, make use of your small chairs and a teapoy. If you have a portable table, see if you can fix it to the railing. It could make a convenient table for you to keep your coffee mugs or books.
Lounge chairs, a bench, a cushioned chair or anything that you have can be an excellent addition to your balcony. The idea is to have a convenient seating and not make it cramped.
Another option is to have no furniture at all! Instead, choose a low seating. First, lay a rug or mat on the floor. Get your small mattress or place cushions and a pretty sheet. Choose the most colourful pillow covers and sheets and make the place bright and cheerful.
Wrap some textures
You don’t need expensive elements to make a place luxurious. Convert your simple balcony space into a luxury abode with bold patterns and vivid textures.
Make it a private space
In cities where apartments are close to each other, a balcony is often in full view of the neighbours. You may not want others to watch you while you work or spend time in your personal space. You can ensure privacy in your balcony in many ways. Adding planters or bamboo blinds can help. Another simple way is to hang a curtain. Here is what you can do for now:
Hammer two nails on the walls on either side of the balcony. Get your curtains and through the top hem, pass a rope or cut a long piece of string cloth. Tie the rope or string on the nails. And voila, you are blocked from prying eyes!
Accessorise a little
Add some warmth to your balcony with your favourite memories by hanging your photographs using nails or adhesive clamps. You may also try to create a DIY art piece. What you need is a lively place, so whatever makes you smile, go for it. Make your inspirational quote frame by printing a beautiful quote on a paper, colouring it and pasting it on a cardboard piece. Need a powerful quote for the current time? ‘This too shall pass!’
Lend some sparkle
If you plan to read or work at night in your balcony, you will need appropriate lights that are not too bright nor too dim. For a cosy and a magical feel, hang fairy lights. You can take out the Diwali lights you have kept away to add some shine and sparkle. Any light that adds a charming feel and looks to the place would do. What you need is a cosy place with the lights shining on you to cheer you up.
Make it green
You need plants not just to freshen up the place but also to add some colour and life. In regular times, it would have helped to install some vertical planters on the walls or railings. Now, you should do with plants you have. Plants lend a refreshing feel and connect you to nature. Green colour uplifts your mood.
To add some colour, you can hang your artificial plants and creepers and make the place more cheerful.
Now is also a great time to try some home gardening. Try growing microgreens by germinating pulses and then transfer them to a planter. You get a lovely plant for your balcony and a nutritious meal later.