City life and modern-day apartments do not allow you spacious balconies. But if you can find an apartment with a large balcony, nothing like it. You can use the place to spend time and unwind, grow plants and herbs, install a giant swing or set up a barbecue grill.
Kolkata-based interior designer Shweta Ray and Hyderabad-based interior designer Sania Sheikh share a few ideas on how to utilise big balconies.
“Greenery is the best and easiest way to beautify your balconies. You can dedicate an area in the balcony to grow greens and herbs and utilise the rest of the space as a seating area. Ensure that you have a variety of plants that can also withstand excess moisture in monsoon if your balcony doesn’t have a canopy,” advises Ray who insists that one needs to look after the plants meticulously.
“You can either buy pots and planters in bright colours and patterns to add a pop of colour or use old cycle tyres to take a more eco-friendly approach. While selecting the plants, choose different sizes and heights to create layers. However, flowers in every colour is a must,” she adds. You do not necessarily have to stick to planters, just get a little creative and use urns, hanging baskets or baskets that hang from a railing.
In an apartment, the only private outdoor space you have is your balcony, hence if you want to relax and enjoy the view of the city, why not create a nap area in your balcony?
“You can buy some makeshift nap beds, or set up an old bed. Hammocks are a great way to add fun to your balcony too. They are economical, portable and create a casual setting,” informs Ray. You can also get wrought iron sofa-cum-beds and beautify them with colourful cushions so that you can soak in the fresh air and enjoy the outdoors on a sunny winter morning.
If you have a large balcony, it is easier to divide the spaces and create different zones for each set-up — greenery, seating area, and so on. “Begin with planning and decide how you want to utilise the space and the types of activities you want to do in your balcony. In case you want the space to be used for sunbathing, go for lounge chairs. If the idea of dining in the balcony interests you, set up a dining table and chairs. If you are a bibliophile wanting to read in the sunlight, you can set up sofa, couch or sitting bins to sit and read or chat with your friends and family. However, a swing with a wooden seating arrangement will be a great idea,” says Sheikh.
If your balcony is large it gives you a larger scope for adding accessories and some centrepieces. “From wind chimes to giant clocks, antique photo frames, wall hangings, and so on can add a decorative touch. You can also opt for rugs and doormats in vibrant hues to add more fun and warmth to the area. From outdoor pillows in bright colours to vibrant cushions and birdhouses, they help brighten up your balcony,” suggests Sheikh.
If you have an old bicycle at home, you can paint it in pop colours and use as a statement piece.
Lighting it up
Beautiful lights or lamps can make your balcony a very romantic space in your home. Says Ray, “Whether you want to spend some intimate moments or simply have a private discourse, good lights can actually illuminate both your moments and balcony. For a large balcony, you need to use multiple lightings. String or fairy lights is the most pocket-friendly way to add light to your balconies. You can wind them around the railings of your balcony or keep them in wine bottles and hand along the length of the area to give a quaint touch!”