Balconies and terraces may be selling points for condo apartments, but once residents move in, these outdoor spaces can wind up neglected. “I think when people typically will rent their unit or purchase a new condo, they don’t even look at the exterior,” says Lara Cupido, a project designer with LUX Interior Design’s Toronto branch. “They’re happy that they have a terrace, but they don’t really give it any thought,” she adds.
Fortunately for condo owners, Cupido—who has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and her master’s in interior design—does. Here are a few of her tips on how to improve the area just outside your windows.
Consider adding greenery. “It’s a fun and smart way to dress a space,” Cupido explains. You don’t have to be a green thumb, either. “There are some really great ones (artificial plants) on the market that look real and that are really nice—obviously zero-maintenance,” she adds. If you can manage real plants, “style it with your herbs,” suggests Cupido. This doesn’t just add life to a backdrop of concrete and glass. “You’re adding a scent.” Whatever you choose, keep in mind the plants’ heights, especially on high-rise balconies or penthouse terraces, where gusty winds prevail.
Do look down
The view from a terrace is attention grabbing, but don’t shy away from looking down—at the floor. While Cupido says she sees lots of condo dwellers favour plastic, faux-wood tiles on their balconies, she points out a drawback. “It’s a hazard for the winter time,” she says of the slippery material. Instead, Cupido says a stylish rug is the best way to go. “You can bring in a fun bold pattern,” she offers. A rug is also less committal, so it can be easily changed up. It shouldn’t run afoul of condo board rules, either, like painting the concrete of a balcony or terrace may.
Find flexible furniture
Balconies aren’t known for their sprawling square footage. Opulent penthouses aside, you likely haven’t room to spare. The need to find small pieces is a given, but size isn’t the only quality to think about: flexibility is another. Cupido suggests “modular pieces that you can move around.” She also says to look for items that provide storage space, like an ottoman that lets you stow blankets under seats. “I mean, there’s never enough storage inside a condo, so you don’t want to have to lug your outdoor pieces in and out,” she explains. As with selecting greenery, wind shouldn’t be ignored. “Get heavier set pieces,” says Cupido. “You don’t want a light plastic chair.”