There is a balcony off of our master bedroom. It’s pretty much level with the rope bridge (which I still haven’t written about — I keep forgetting!), it overlooks the tiny stream that runs through the yard, and it’s completely surrounded by trees. It’s a gem of a spot.
But. It has been completely empty since we moved in. I’ve had plans for it. I bought some used outdoor furniture for it years ago — a table and some chairs that coordinate with the chair from our front porch. Those pieces have been sitting in the shed, waiting to be de-rusted and painted. Alas, there have just been too many other projects and tasks that needed my attention.
And then, over Mother’s Day weekend, I finally did it! I recruited the whole family to help. We repaired and restored the furniture, then we filled up a shopping cart at Target, and put together a pretty little seating area on the balcony. For anyone who’s curious, here’s a tour and the thinking behind the design decisions.
In my experience, there are 4 things you need to make an outdoor space inviting: soft/comfortable places to sit, surfaces to set your things (like magazines or sunglasses or lemonade), cups and serving pieces that are outdoor friendly, and lighting.
We started with the vintage furniture — the round table and 3 chairs. All are metal and all are from an old line called Homecrest. It was widely produced in the middle of the last century, so if you do a search for “vintage homecrest patio furniture”, you’ll likely to find several pieces. I found these on Craig’s List, for sale by owner, about 45 minutes south of here. De-rusted, primed and painted, they’re good as new and will hopefully last another 50 or 60 years.
I knew I wanted seat cushions and throw pillows to soften up the metal. At first I was thinking all the same, and maybe in a sophisticated grey or black. That could definitely have been another good look for this space, but when I got to the store I couldn’t resist the color! I chose a mix of seat cushions in navy, teal, and a fun orangey-red pattern.
Then I added a mix of throw pillows too — a square one with a blue marker pattern, a long one with tiny teal triangles, and a rectangle in teal herringbone. The cushions and throw pillows are all made with outdoor fabrics and should hold up well on the balcony. (And they were total bargains by the way!)
I also added this shiny silver side table. I love the look! It adds a fun new texture/element to the space, can be moved around as needed, and keeps a cool drink or a good book right at hand.
Those are all the basics and make up the core of the seating area. And once all of that was in place, I could turn my attention to a mix of fun accessories — items that really make the space inviting, and that I can use indoors or out.
For the tabletop, I added a low bowl (I love the rattan handles on the side!) and some simple vases in hand-painted stripes and polka dots. They’re looking cheerful on the balcony right now, but I’m sure they’ll make their way to the kitchen soon enough.
Last of all, I picked up this charming-as-can-be lantern in the same orangey-red as one of the cushions. Sometimes night comes on fast, and it’s nice to have a handy light source — one that’s prettier than a flashlight so I don’t mind having it out and on display.
I admit that even empty, the balcony was pretty inviting. These last years I’ve loved opening up the balcony door and listening to the stream rushing by. I’ve walked out early in the morning to listen to the birds, or late at night to watch a rain storm.
But I’m so pleased to have this finished! Already, we’ve used the balcony 10 times as much as we were using it before. (Which is no surprise, because: seating.) My goal was to find fresh, modern accessories and cushions that would complement the mid-century furniture and make sense with the rest of the house. I feel great about how it turned out!
The next thing I want to add? A little cupboard where I can keep our electric tea kettle. Wouldn’t it be fun to start the day here, in my pjs and robe, with something warm to drink? Sounds heavenly to me!
Tell me, Friends, are you working on your outdoor spaces? Maybe getting your yard ready for Memorial Day? Working on our yard and porch and balconies is basically all I want to do these days. Also, what’s your top priority outside at the moment? If you could buy one thing for your outdoor space, what would it be? Furniture? A bike? A trampoline? Plants? Lanterns? I’d love to hear!