After a bout of a cabin fever throughout the winter, I was anxious to finally be able to enjoy time outside during spring. But how could I do this without going to the park every time? I live in a small apartment, on the second floor of the building and, although I have a balcony, I had no place to just sit and relax. Therefore, with little money to waste, I decided to build my own lounge area so that I could relax, read, eat brunch, and tend to my container garden all spring, summer, and fall long. Here’s how you can do it too.
The rules that I had to abide by according to my lease: no permanent structures, nothing hanging from the ceiling or off the side of the balcony, and no string lights aside from seasonal purposes (and spring is not the season for lights apparently).
The seating area is the focus piece of the balcony. I got my inspiration from a Pinterest Pin and Buzzfeed article. The materials required to make the bench include 8 cinder blocks and 2 8′ 4×4 pieces of treated wood, cut into 4 40″ pieces. These materials were easily found and purchased at Home Depot.
I was able to decorate the seating area using purple spray paint, also found at Home Depot, a large seat cushion found at a local thrift store called, The Red Collection, and 2 throw pillows found at Walmart for $5 each.
Make everything you can from scratch if it makes sense to your wallet. The cinder blocks and wood are scratch material that cost $32.34. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in terms of size anywhere, so it was well worth it to me to make the bench. But outdoor cushions and pillows are surprisingly way more expensive than I thought they would be. At one point, I considered making my own seat cushions using outdoor foam material and fabric, found at Walmart, and a hot glue gun. Thank goodness I was thorough while looking through thrift shops or else I would have spent $19.99 making a cushion (and burning my fingertips), rather than $4.54.
The next step was to…
Invite nature into the space. I have always wanted to start a container garden because, although I enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, they can get expensive. Therefore, I am growing my own spinach, peppers, mint, strawberries, and blueberries. Many people may not want to start a garden, but the price of the potting mix is accounted for in the $65 (prices of seeds do vary, but I was able to find packets of seeds at my local farmers market for about $1.75 each). Potting mix was $6.00 from Home Depot.
The plants will need some place to grow, of course. I already had one spare planter I’d purchased 2 years prior from Walmart, but I was able to find baskets from Goodwill for $1.99 each, and another, larger, planter from Walmart for $4.97. In addition, I utilized a used, but clean, takeout container for my mint plant.
To add a touch of personality I found a vintage chair from Goodwill, just for decoration.
Thrift as much as you can. If you can’t find what you need from thrift stores, retail stores should be your second option. It’s best to compare prices before purchasing as well. Initially, I had three planters from Home Depot that totaled $18.71. Once I found suitable baskets at Goodwill and a cheaper planter at Walmart, I returned those Home Depot planters quick, fast, and in a hurry before this post was called ‘How to Turn Your Balcony from Drab to Fab for Under $100.’
Walmart Planter – $4.97
Walmart Outdoor throw pillows (2) $5.00 each – $10.00
Home Depot 8′ 4×4 treated wood (2) $9.77 each – $19.54
Home Depot Miracle Grow Potting Mix – $6.00
Home Depot 8x8x16 Cinder Blocks (8) $1.60 each – $12.80
Goodwill basket (2) 1.99 each – $3.98
Goodwill chair – $3.00
The Red Collection Outdoor Cushion – $4.54
Total – $64.83 (plus tax)
I can’t wait to break in my newly fab balcony with a morning tea and a good book. What are some of your plans to cozy up your patio or balcony?