These 20 Apartment Balcony Ideas Are the Prettiest Perches

interior of milan apartment restored by studio peregalli
These 20 Apartment Balcony Ideas Offer the PrettieSimon Upton

Every city dweller knows that sinking feeling when you’re on the hunt for a new apartment. Am I going to be sidelined into another tiny white studio with no view to the outside world? If you’re one of the lucky ones, you stumble upon a spot with a view of the sky, a small patio, or even better, a balcony to view the sky from. But how do you go about decorating one, should luck strike? For help, We've compiled 20 fool-proof tips on how to make the most of your balcony. Whether it be small or large, with plants or outdoor furniture, with a view of the sea or a compact interior courtyard, we’ve got apartment balcony ideas to make the most minimal or most over-the-top home happy!

Drape it in Vines

If you’re working with a historic home, odds are there will be some spaces scaled for a different time. At the luxury Lebanese guesthouse Beit Trad, some of the oldest spaces feature vaulted ceilings, arches, and arcades from when the 18th-century stone structure was a nunnery. The ceiling height of this terrace was emphasized by hanging vines, which curtain the space like some ancient grotto. White wicker chairs mimic the shape of the external arches and a prevailing all-white color scheme allows guests to focus on the surrounding natural landscape.

a patio with a table and chairs
Simon Watson

Lean Into Awkward Angles

Not all balconies are perfect little rectangles. When the space you have to work with is potentially awkward—like this Frank Gehry-designed balcony—lean into its limitations, highlighting strange angles and corners, with simple, well chosen furniture. And keep things minimal - as long as you can sit comfortably, your balcony will do itself justice.

the rooftop terrace of the spiller house, an early frank gehry design, in venice, california frankly iconic german expat florian marquardt brings his minimalist sensibility to an early frank gehry house in venice, california
Sam Frost

Embrace the Scene

When your balcony boasts a beautiful view let that be the leading principle in its decoration. Here in a villa in Menorca, Spain, interior designer Lorenzo Castillo pulled the blues of the sky and sea into the upholstery on comfy outdoor seating. Even the railings are in the shape of waves!

18th century home on the spanish island of menorca that was restored by lorenzo castillo a new terrace takes advantage of the home’s view of the harbor of mahón the sofa and armchairs’ cushions are in one of castillo’s striped fabrics, and the ottoman is covered in antique rugs and a pierre frey leopard print the antique fountain came from a house in toulouse, france
Ricardo Labougle

Create a Secret Garden

Milan is known for the beauty of its private spaces. On the balcony of this Milan apartment, designed and restored by Studio Peregalli, privacy is the perfect touchpoint around which to decorate. Foliage covers the view inside, while allowing sunlight to dapple onto the tiled floor. All that was needed to complete the scheme were vintage iron patio chairs and a bistro table. The surrounding potted papyrus, wisteria, and ferns heighten the feeling of being hidden inside a secret garden.

interior of milan apartment restored by studio peregalli
Simon Upton

Heighten the Relaxing Vibes

On the balcony of this Miami beach penthouse, Jean Louis Deniot, whose projects elsewhere also boast spectacular outdoor spaces, married heightened relaxation with collectibe antiques, making the space feel like an interior room. The vintage Ilmari Tapiovaara rocking chair is a rarity seen usually inside and offers the perfect opportunity for restful, eyes-closed relaxation. The 1960s rattan chaise covered in Kravet fabric is perfect for a nap or morning read. And the vintage marble side table between the two makes sure no book or beverage is without a home.

balcony view from miami beach penthouse designed by jean louis deniot
Simon Upton

Create an Outdoor Entertaining Zone

Visible televisions have become a bad word in the design world since about the time the first flat screen dropped, but we still have needs! If your locale is temperate enough, consider turning your balcony into a screening room—especially for those who like to entertain with the TV on. At the members-only Hudson Valley community Silo Ridge, designer Harry Heissmann transformed a large terrace into the spot to be with modern wicker furniture, ceramic garden stands and iron side tables. Large lanterns mimic the coziness of the fireplace, making the area a perfect place to be even when there's nothing on TV.

a living room with a view of the mountains
The Ingalls

Leave it alone!

In Mexico City, interiors and furniture designer Mark Grattan kept the wraparound balcony of his Luis Barragan-designed apartment completely bare. This is a great idea when, like Grattan, your balcony connects two spaces (in his case his bedroom and his living room) or when you are in a rare gem by a famous architect. Crucial in this scheme is perfectly preserved and restored details...not a tile or lick of paint can be out of place!

mark grattan's apartment in mexico city balcony
Maureen M. Evans

Make One!

No balcony? Make one! Lucia Silvestri, creative director at Bulgari, turned the courtyard of her 17th-century Puglian escape into a blissful outdoor space that feels perched high in the sky. (Her home is in fact perched atop a hill, so naturally had birds nest vibes.) “I like to have an aperitif in the courtyard and gaze at the star-filled sky and the lights in the valley below," she says. A retractable awning shades the space and planters by Enza Fasano bridge the gap between the surrounding landscape and the courtyard itself.

a table with plates of food on it
James Merrell

Emphasize the Entry

Sometimes a balcony can bring joy when you're not even on it. In Bill Brockschmidt's Sicilian palazzo, the designer had the doorframes of his balcony hand-painted in Federal Blue by the Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Company. The effect is surreal, like a picture frame framing the picturesque stepped hills beyond.

a doorway with a view of a city and a blue chair
Sylvie Becquet

Face the View

If your city abode is anywhere near a historical monument, forget everything you thought you wanted on your balcony. It's not about you... its about the view, honey! Alvisi Kirimoto kept the balcony on this top-floor Roman apartment super simple, so that the artist couple who live there could better appreciate their iconic neighbor - the Colosseum. The only decor besides the fragrant climbing jasmine is a flower-shaped table by Victoria Episcopo with Maarten Baas chairs.

a view of the colosseum from the terrace of a rome apartment by alvisi kirimoto
Serena Eller Vainicher

Work with Wicker

Wicker —usually reserved for the heaving wraparound porches of Victorian homes or a coastal abode— can make a lot of sense in the modern light of day...if done right. Update your wicker with a lick of paint, or incorporate a modern wicker interpretation like the rippling bowl atop this Saarinen-esque table.

daniel lalonde rsquos milan apartment terrace
Francesco Dolfo

Play with Planters

Plants on your balcony are a no brainer, whether they climb, hang, or stand. What can take you that extra mile is an eye catching planter. On this spacious balcony in Savannah, Georgia, rocking chairs reign supreme, creating what at first seems like a perfectly peaceful, straightforward outdoor space. It's only after that first glance that you notice a clever little interloper— the octopus wrapped ceramic planter in the foreground— injecting surrealism and surprise in the most functional of balcony items. For the antique-heads searching for majolica at auction will get you where you need to go, but the contemporary girlies will always swear by a Francesca DiMattio or Katie Stout.

a walkway with plants and chairs
Ricardo Labougle

Divide and Conquer

If you're lucky enough to have a wrap around balcony, why not distinguish individual spaces by use. In this Shelton Mindel-designed Miami apartment, Lee Mindel outfit one area for dining with RH outdoor furniture—perfectly situated to enjoy blissful views of South Beach.

a patio with a table and chairs by the water
Douglas Friedman

Select Some Sectionals

We think of the seating as only appropriate when there is a roof and a television involved, but how about those late nights talking with friends in the summer breeze? Encourage a full lounge with an outdoor sectional if your balcony square footage allows!

elegant decorated balcony with rattan outdoor furniture, bright pillows and plants

Outside In

Think from the outside in! If you - like many city dwellers - likes to glance up at your apartment on your way home from work, a heavily floral assemblage on your balcony can be the ticket to that post-work, pre-home serotonin boost. Tip: go for flowers and plants that hang and balance well over an edge: ivy, bougainvillea, honeysuckle, and jasmine.

a window with flowers on it
Alexander Spatari

Isolate Areas

If you're blessed with a balcony that’s larger than life, then make the most of it and break it into parts. Architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens organized the outdoor area of a midcentury home they renovated and expanded by Eyvind Finsen into several separate seating and lounging areas. The round daybed, chairs (left), and cocktail table are all custom, the chaises are by Paola Lenti, and the Panton chairs are from Vitra.

a deck with a pool and lounge chairs and a building with a deck
Elsa Young

Wood Works

On the terrace of their New York home (which also happens to be Paul Rudolph's former home and studio) designers Christine and John Gachot kept things materially minimal. The chairs are custom, the table is from Blu Dot, and the Charlotte Perriand stool, which here works as a cocktail table, is from Cassina. The trick with sticking with one material is making sure the woods match! Choose a blonde or a dark scheme before shopping begins.

a patio with a table and chairs
Nicole Franzen

Fine Balcony Dining

Don't be afraid to commit to a single use for your balcony! It doesn't have to be where you lounge and dine—it can just be where you dine! Take a page out of Martyn Lawrence Bullard's book, who outfitted this Maui dream house's balcony wiith a full dining set-up. The table is by Bananas & Hammocks and the custom chairs are upholstered in a Peter Dunham fabric. The look is topped off with pendant lights by Paul Marra.

a dining table with plates and glasses
Douglas Friedman

Dance It Out

If you are lucky enough to not have a downstairs neighbor, your balcony or roof deck might be the perfect place to make some noise. On this one, a wide open space is delineated with outdoor-treated wood flooring and a shaded seating area off to the corner. Perfect for cutting it up on those long summer nights with the moon above you.

spacious outdoor deck with hardwood floor, covered seating area, potted plants and a sun filled view of the city

In this minimal 1950s villa in Capri architect Giuliano Andrea dell’Uva seamlessly integrated the natural landscape into the home's garden terrace. Sprouting out of the custom table in it's center is an orange tree that was already on the property. And beyond it the homeowners can enjoy their view of Mount Solaro. To recreate this moment, focus more on your location than anything else, and then once that is found, accessorize with only the most clean-lined and necessary furnishings.

a pool with a tree and a deck with a view of a mountain and a large body of
Nathalie Krag

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