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Create a multipurpose urban balcony

08 March 2016
Artist Justin uses his limited outdoor space to maximum effect – as somewhere to grow, be creative, take breaks and do laundry. ‘My balcony is an extension of my living area,’ he says. ‘I have space-saving additions like furniture that folds away which means I can use the same space in lots of different ways, just like the rest of my home.’ Here, he shares his tips with us.
Space-efficient folding furniture lets Justin use his balcony for multiple purposes
Staggering plants create a sense of abundance and privacy

Grow a high-rise oasis

On a small balcony, think high – staggering plants upwards creates a sense of abundance and privacy, without taking up floorspace. ‘I even used a wall rack to grow a living canopy,’ says Justin. ‘Coming home now, I feel I’m returning to nature, not the concrete jungle.’

Vibrant furniture and accessories will let the sunshine in

Brighten a dark corner with colour

Plants and vibrantly coloured furniture or accessories will help add a sense of sunshine in a shaded spot. ‘The side table was originally indoors,’ says Justin. ‘But it works outside too because this area is sheltered. I use it for storing a few art materials and paper so they’re available if I feel like sketching or painting out here.’  

Keeping a herb garden is a great way to produce your own ingredients and enjoy plants on a small scale

Start a micro kitchen garden

Growing herbs is a great way to enjoy the benefits of producing your own ingredients on a small scale. ‘I love cooking and am a keen experimenter,’ says Justin. ‘Being able to pick homegrown herbs for a dish is quick and easy. You can’t get more locally produced food than that.’  

If you have a covered balcony, save space indoors and dry your clothes on a drying rack that can easily taken back inside

Limited laundry space indoors? try outside

If you have a covered balcony, try taking your washing outdoors – it will free up space inside, plus keep drying laundry out of the way. ‘A lot of people in China use their balconies for washing,’ says Justin. ‘I added a clothes rail that I can easily take indoors once all the shirts are dry.’   

Portrait of Justin
‘Using my balcony for different activities means I make better use of it than if it was just for storage or relaxing. I get the full benefits of the space and I can be outside on many days of the year, not just on the nicest ones’ 
Justin, artist, China

Made by

Photography: Lina Ikse
Styling: Ashlyn Gibson