Designer-Approved Dècor Items to Maximize Your Small Balcony

woman sitting on chair playing with boston terrier on balcony
Getty / chee gin tan

No matter how small your balcony may seem, it is still brimming with design potential—you just need the right décor items. "There's always room for a little functionality on a small balcony," says Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. "Even if it's a single chair where you can sip your morning coffee, it's worth the effort."

What kinds of décor pieces work best for a pint-sized outdoor space? Eliza McNabb of Hyphen & Co. says weather-friendly lights, such as bistro lights and lanterns, are a great place to start. "Lighting on your balcony will extend the hours during which you can use it and help change the mood when transitioning from daytime to evening," she explains. "We love twinkle lights strung up for ambient lighting, while candles in hurricanes or rechargeable LED lanterns offer tabletop lighting that won't blow out if it's windy." She also recommends outfitting the space with tall plants in wall-mounted planters and window boxes to bring in greenery while creating visual privacy between you and the apartment next door.

Of course, as with any small space, it's important to keep the décor on a petite balcony pared down so it doesn't feel cramped. "Small balconies should be kept clutter-free and as open as possible with only the bare essentials needed to enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee," explains interior designer Becky Shea. "Try to keep it as simple and sustainable as possible." Looking for more décor ideas for your small balcony? We asked a handful of interior designers to share their favorites and here's what they had to say.

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Portable Patio Table

HollyHOME Convenient Patio Steel Side Table with Handle
Courtesy of Amazon

If you thought there was no way to squeeze a patio table onto a pint-sized balcony, then prepare to be wowed. "This affordable little table lends itself to any small space, and, thanks to an attractive handle, is easy to move from one spot to another," designer Crystal Sinclair says.

Shop Now: HollyHOME Convenient Patio Steel Side Table with Handle, $18.99,

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Bistro Lights

Pottery Barn Edison String Lights
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

No balcony setup would be complete without ambient outdoor lighting, which is why designer Michelle Lisac suggests decorating the space with string lights. "Bistro lights are a fun way to bring some additional light to the area and make it more inviting to be outside at night," she explains.

Shop Now: Pottery Barn Edison String Lights, $79,

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Martha Stewart x Wayfair "Vicarage" Three-Piece Bistro Set with Cushions
Courtesy of Wayfair

Create a café-inspired balcony with this three-piece set from Martha's Wayfair collection. The chairs' cushions offer a touch of modernity and comfort.

Shop Now: Martha Stewart x Wayfair "Vicarage" Three-Piece Bistro Set with Cushions, $699.99,

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Stylish Rug

Crate & Barrel "Brody" Striped Indoor/Outdoor Rug with Fringe
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

A good-looking rug does more than convey your design aesthetic on a small balcony. Fenimore says it makes it for a more comfortable place to relax, too. "Outdoor rugs are a great way to bring texture to a balcony—plus, they make going barefoot easy," she says. "Even better when it's an outdoor rug that reflects your interior aesthetic."

Shop Now: Crate & Barrel "Brody" Striped Indoor/Outdoor Rug with Fringe, $93,

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Glass Hurricanes

West Elm Florence Glass Colored Hurricanes
Courtesy of West Elm

Love the idea of a candlelit balcony, but worried about the wind? William Cullum, senior designer at Jayne Design Studio, says to consider employing a few colorful glass hurricanes. "Hurricanes are a great way to add style and height to a table, while at the same time serving the practical use they were made for—protecting a candle flame," he explains.

Shop Now: West Elm Florence Glass Colored Hurricanes, $40,

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Faux Green Screen

Windscreen4less Artificial Faux Ivy Leaf Decorative Fence Screen
Courtesy of Amazon

City dwellers, rejoice: Fenimore has a clever décor idea for your balcony. "Install a chic faux green screen to create a little privacy from nearby neighbors," she says. "It's an added bonus when you don't have to water it!"

Shop Now: Windscreen4less Artificial Faux Ivy Leaf Decorative Fence Screen, $58.99,

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Deck Tiles

interlocking deck tiles
Courtesy of Overstock

If you're looking for an inexpensive way to elevate a small balcony in no time, Eliza McNabb of Hyphen & Co. suggests picking up some interlocking deck tiles. "We love this decking because it's made of naturally weather-resistant wood and comes in a variety of finishes," she explains. "Plus, it's easy to install and budget-friendly."

Shop Now: Vifeh Acacia Hardwood Deck Tiles, $58.49 for pack of 10,

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Wall-Mounted Planters

Wally Eco Vertical Garden Wall Planter in White
Courtesy of Wally

The only thing better than a beautiful plant display on a tiny balcony is one that doesn't take up any precious square footage. "Wall-mounted planters are a great way to store plants and liven up a balcony, but also save the much-needed floor space," Lisac explains.

Shop Now: Wally Eco Vertical Garden Wall Planter in White, $29.99,

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Wicker Chair

Ballard Designs "Willow" Wicker Dining Chair
Courtesy of Ballard Designs

In the market for a petite, weatherproof lounge chair for your small balcony that still packs plenty of style? Sinclair recommends an eye-catching wicker dining chair or two. "Whether solo or as a pair, these lightweight wicker chairs are airy and on-trend," she says. "All you need is a glass of wine or cold lemonade to complete the scene."

Shop Now: Ballard Designs "Willow" Dining Chair, $399,

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Powerhouse Planter

Ferm Living Bau Balcony Box
Courtesy of Burke Decor

Searching for a low-maintenance planter that won't take up too much space on your balcony? "We love the Bau Balcony box from Ferm Living for its built-in drainage system (which makes plant maintenance easy) and the variety of colors in which it's available," McNabb says.

Shop Now: Ferm Living Bau Balcony Box, $109,

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Rechargeable Lantern

URI Portable Table Lamp
Courtesy of MoMA Store

As gorgeous as sparkling string lights may look on a small balcony, if you don't have access to an outlet, McNabb says to consider a sleek dimmable LED lantern, instead. "This table lamp is portable and rechargeable, and looks just as good inside as it does out," she says.

Shop Now: URI Portable Table Lamp, $50,

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