Housing prices in both Toronto and Vancouver may have driven you to purchase a condo. Maybe you’re just thinking about it, or maybe it’s the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. No question that condo living = convenient. But how can you make that tiny little concrete slab outside your living room window look and feel more inviting? Here are five steps.
Look beyond the slab
Let your imagination run wild, rather than sulk about how ugly the space is. If you can’t envision how differently the deck might look and feel, you’re unlikely to be successful making a transformation. Believe it can be a place you love, and it shall be so!
Which direction does your balcony face, and how much sun does it get? This is important to know and understand before you decide what kind of greenery will do well. South facing isn’t always the best for plants; if you have an upstairs neighbour and their balcony shades yours, you may not actually get that much direct sunlight. In summer, it can actually be north and northeast facing balconies that provide the most sunlight.
West-facing balconies will get very hot in the summer and plants you pick need to be able to withstand all that direct sun. Ornamental hot peppers and zinnias are two examples of hearty sun-loving plants that will do well on a hot west-facing balcony.
Wind can also be a factor. If you are near a body of water (Lake Ontario, or English Bay, for example) it’s likely that you will experience at least some wind, and maybe a lot of wind. Ornamental grasses and other narrow-leaved plants are options.
Build from the base up
It’s the concrete slab that’s been the focus of your balcony misery, so start at the bottom! Choose from fake grass, outdoor carpet, deck tiles, or outdoor flooring designed specifically for balconies and pick the option that suits your style, taste and budget. And be sure to check your condo rules before you buy! Add a small bistro table and two chairs, and you’ve got the basics.
Okay. Floor done? Plants picked out? Time for colour. Don’t let yourself be limited to the neutral interior trends. This is your chance to be wild! Add bright yellow, bright red, or rainbows of colour. It will make your balcony pop and will keep drawing you outside.
Light it up
Lights will create mood and add definition to your outdoor space.Candles are an inexpensive option but may not work well if you’ve got lots of wind. Depending on your choice of flooring, you could opt for in-floor lighting to add a subtle glow around the perimeter. Or waterproof, remote controlled multi-colour lights that can double as a side-table or accent by Eco-Chic.
It doesn’t take much to create a condo balcony space that’s filled with personality – your personality. You’re limited only by your imagination. Enjoy!