Skip to main content

Create a multipurpose urban balcony

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.

Make your balcony an extension of your living area.
Make your balcony an extension of your living area.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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