It may seem that small outdoor spaces are limited in what can be achieved, but whether you have a small patio, balcony, or garden a little creativity can go a long way.
As we head into the summer season, there has been an increase of 800% for searches around ‘small garden design ideas pictures’ as many people are looking for inspiration to spruce up their outdoor space at little cost.
Festive Lights spoke to Erica Vonderwall, 38 from London who has transformed her small balcony space on a budget this year.
Erica said, “I work from home and don’t have a garden of my own, so I really cherish having this outside space to chill out on my lunch break or after work. It was a pretty drab area though, and nothing at all like the rest of my flat, which is super colourful and full of personality.
“I wanted to make my balcony an extension of my flat, so it was my Easter Bank Holiday project, and I’m really happy with the outcome! Because money is tight at the moment, and realistically I am only going to be spending time out there for a small portion of the year, I wanted it to reflect my personality and be an entertaining space, but I don’t have the money to go wild and make it extravagant or anything like that.
I often get complimented on my interior decor and told I should do something like that for a job, but I just like what I like, and I like to surround myself with lots of colourful, happy things! It’s definitely not a hobby, I sometimes hate starting projects like this, but once they’re done, I’m always glad I started! Having a good outside area is also important no matter what the size, especially in London where gardens are a luxury. Just having access to a sun trap or somewhere to grab 5 minutes of fresh air is really important to me, especially as I work from home.
Image: Erica’s balcony
My style is colourful chaos, although I recently heard the term ‘mindful mess’ and I really resonate with that as well! I didn’t have a budget in mind, but I did want to give it an update as cheap as possible for obvious reasons.
“I actually already had the colourful lights in the cupboard not being used, so was able to give those a new lease of life, and the table and chairs are from last summer. So all I needed to buy was the plastic mat (£20), the plant pots for the railing (£1.50 each), and the fake flowers which I used in a few places (£25 for 12 bunches).
“So the whole transformation was about £50 in total. I have added the colourful lights more as decoration as my balcony gets a lot of light at all times of day due to street lights anyway so it doesn’t actually need its own light source.
“They’re more there for aesthetics. The table and chairs also both fold away so that if I wanted to have more people out there I could, and the rugs are washable and wipe clean to make them last longer.
Image: Erica’s balcony
“My recommendation to other people who are working with a small outdoor space is to do a lot of research; looking at how others have decorated a space a similar size as yours to get some inspiration, and then take note of elements you like and that could work for your area.
“Then look around for the types of items you might want to include in your space, and see whether you can get them cheaper either second-hand, before buying new. I was glad to be able to reuse some things I already owned to give the balcony a glow-up for summer.”
This is the best way to transform your small outdoor space on a budget
Our experts said this about revamping a small outdoor space just in time for summer.
Paula Boston, Visual Merchandiser at Festive Lights said, “Many people find it difficult to brighten up their outdoor space if it is not a traditional garden, however, all you need to do is choose warm-coloured materials to complement the existing architecture.
“For example, a vivid green statement plant or red garden furniture can bring your neutral space to life. Lighting can also help you appreciate your small outdoor space for all its beauty by highlighting zones – hanging overhead festoon lights or adding a free-standing light to add a gentle glow to the corner.
“When space is limited in a balcony or small garden consider using vertical space wherever possible to bring life and vibrancy, such as hanging string or solar lights, lanterns, or planters. Alternatively, opt for flexible furniture or decor that can be stored away when not in use. Think smart with stylish and minimal decor that can be tucked away or used for all the seasons.”