sometime last week i mention to my love that i thought we should “redo” our balcony. what i meant was that, now that it is april, it’s time to get our balcony all ready for the outdoor season. we are in love with our apartment and where we live, and that fact that we have a balcony is even more amazing. we’ve used it quite a bit, even during the winter. and we most definitely had it decorated for the the holiday seasons. but, now it’s time to turn it into an outdoor living space, as i know we will be using it more than almost any other room.
so, since the weather was incredibly warm and sunny this past week, and we found ourselves out there as much as possible, we decided that this weekend would be our balcony makeover weekend – as cheaply as possible, of course.
here’s how the balcony has looked in the past:
totally comfy and cozy. but, our design idea was to make it even more comfy and cozy. so here’s what the plan was:
- buy some plants – nothing difficult to take care of, because neither one of us have a green thumb.
- make a more cozy sitting area in the corner – perhaps with some stools in an l-shape, with some cushions to sit on and pillows against the wall to lean on.
- more seating space – but we’d have our two chairs left over, so the idea was to have place for about 5 people
- but the main goal, was to decorate and make more comfy seating!
- and we wanted all of this by spending as little money as possible.
liz & lina’s tips for a small, cozy, comfy balcony makeover in a day:
1. dream away and find inspiration!
i talked with lina about my ideas, and she shared hers. we agreed on the above list, and then we spent some time looking through pinterest, getting some inspiration.
2. clear out and clean up
first up: clean the balcony. meh. i did not want to do that at all, but my love cleaned the chairs and the railing and the windows. i ended up skipping some of the cleaning because i made french toast for breakfast. hehe. after that, we pulled the rug inside for lina to vacuum. and i swept the entire balcony. then, a quick little time taking measurements of the balcony & our current chairs, and we were ready to go!
3. start with second-hand
we visited a few different places around asheville, beginning with the habitat for humanity re-store, a place where you can find cheap items which have been donated, and all of the money you spend goes to support habitat for humanity, helping other people get low-income house. a win-win situation. the only thing was, they did not have any outdoor furniture available. they didn’t even have any cute decorative things we could use. but, if we wanted sinks, toilets, tiles, or sofas, we were in luck.
4. be ready to be surprised and disappointed all at the same time
on to the next store: a local home improvement store. we parked near the garden center and were bursting with excitement about being surrounded by all of the plants and flowers! everything was so gorgeous and springy. and everyone else in asheville seemed to have the same idea that we did. we walked through the greenhouse area and toward to outdoor furniture, hoping to find some stools and cushions. but, no luck.
we did, however, stumble upon a great bistro table and two chairs. i mean, it was really great. we loved it and immediately could imagine using it on the balcony. so, since we had done some measuring, we pulled out our notes & compared them to the the table set. it seemed like it would be the perfect fit. yes! only buying a table and chairs was not at all on our list of ideas. so, what to do?
5. be spontaneous, but not too impulsive
we decided to leave the table behind and head to target to see what they had in the way of stools and cushions. they didn’t have anything either. gaaah.
we did know, however, that ikea (in charlotte or atlanta) had exactly what we wanted, for pretty cheap. but, we didn’t want to drive to ikea and now we also had this amazing table set we loved. spending money on the ikea furniture and the table set was not at all what we had in mind! but, we considered it – we even called my mom to get her advice.
6. if an opportunity presents itself, take it! (= live in the present moment)
we decided to table (haha!) the idea of the furniture at ikea – we could go tomorrow, if we wanted and go back to the home improvement store and buy the table set. we knew that we would get a lot of use out of the table – certain that we would eat many, if not every, meal out there, weather permitting. plus, it would be a great space to work at as well. so, we bought it! come to find out, the comfy cushions were included in the set, so yay! it turned out to be quite affordable.
7. always return to look over the original plan
on our way home, we stopped off to buy a couple of green plants. we knew we wanted ferns. they are so big, beautiful, and easy to keep alive. so, two big ferns and two planter pots were also added to our purchases.
8. a good team makes all the difference
we got home, lugged everything upstairs, and began the process of putting it all together. ok – again, lina did the hard work. i was busy buying us tickets to see les miserables on broadway for lina’s birthday trip to new york city. see? i was doing something important too!
9. live in the moment. enjoy!
then, it was time for our premiere meal at our new table. we did a little staging and decorating, first though. the ferns were in place, the two chairs that we had before were still there, and we put a candle on our bistro table. time for dinner together! it was perfect, just absolutely perfect.
10. keep an open mind – you never know how things will turn out
then, lina suggested that we skip the furniture at ikea = no cozy stools & pillows in the corner. we should just keep our chairs and perhaps buy a little puffy footrest/ottoman, which could also double as a seat, if needed. i was not convinced, but willing to try it. we decided to see how things felt after a week.
but, i wanted things to be settled, so we headed back to target to find a footrest/ottoman and perhaps some cushions for our chairs. in the outdoor section, we found the perfect footrest! it was funky and the colors were perfect. we both loved it. then, i happened to look up and saw two dar gray seat cushions, we decided to get them, knowing that if they didn’t work, we could return them. they were also on super duper sale – like 75% off and only $5.00 a piece. score us!
back home again, before dark, and we added the cushions and footrest to the balcony. i was overwhelmed… it was absolutely perfect. better than i had ever imagined. and we both agreed that there was no need to even think about the ikea furniture again.
now, how did we do with our original goals?
- plants. check! ferns – cheap and easy to take care of.
- cozy corner space. yes and no. completely cozy, though not a corner of stools, as we thought. instead, it turned out to be a bistro table and chairs – a good buy which will be used every single day, i am certain.
- more seating. check! we now have space for 5 people, which was our original goal.
- cozy & comfy. yes! times a thousand!
- budget-friendly. check! we spent the same amount of money on the table set as we would have on the ikea furniture. we searched for second-hand things, but nothing was there. the plants were simple and cheap. and our little decorations were things we already owned, we just moved things around. a very easy way to get a new look without spending any money
all in all, we ended up creating a cozy and comfy balcony, but not at all how we had originally imagined it. of course, i am know that it is even better than we had planned. and, i am so thankful and grateful for an amazingly fun day spent with my love.
the final result:
so, come on over for a glass of lemonade or a glass of wine. we’ve got beer and sweet tea, too, if you’d prefer that. and when, the sun sets, our cozy twinkling lights will light up the space, so we can talk until the wee hours of the morning.
love and peace. xx