How do you capture that vacay feel when travel is a no-go? Maximize those snug balconies in your homes to get some staycation feels.
A balcony is a space outside of a building, usually enclosed by a wall or balustrade. In Manila, residents use this area as a storage space, as a place to house the outdoor unit (compressor and condenser) of a split AC, or as a place to hang the laundry. There are also some well-loved balconies adorned with (flowering) plants and good outdoor furniture, but that seems to be more an exception than the rule.
With the quarantine, more and more people are (re)discovering their balconies and their biophilic sentiments. The love for plants is trending.
Natural Elements that Would Impact Your Balcony
If you live in a condo building, it is better to check first with your property management office if there are rules and regulations regarding balcony use.
Other things to consider would be the natural elements—sun, wind, rain:
- how much sunlight you get in the balcony and for how long
- does it get morning sun or afternoon sun
- how much wind (amihan and habagat) does the balcony get
- does the balcony have enough protection against rains and typhoons
Those of you who want to know more about plants, click on urban planting.
Paint Colors for Your Balcony
The usual layouts would have the living/dining room or bedroom leading to the balcony. To create a visual flow from indoor to outdoor, take your cue from the colors and materials you find in your interiors.
Most buildings do not allow a change in wall colors. Thankfully, most of them have neutral colors so these should be easy to work with. Just in case you are allowed to paint your balcony walls, check out Boysen Wallguard which provides surface protection against all types of weather conditions.
You do not need to limit yourself to painting your walls. You can also paint your pots. Plant foliage looks beautiful with neutral colors. Subtle hues on your pots and planters highlight the forms of plants, and the textures and colors of leaves or flowers.
Here is an infographic of the different materials—terra cotta, concrete, wood, metal—of plant containers which can be painted and the Boysen products you can use. You will also find paint color palettes for inspiration.
Tip: Use plant liners (plastic pots, plastic or fabric sheets) which can be placed inside your decorative pots. These liners hold soil in place and ensure that your soil retains moisture.
Important! When choosing your plant containers, be aware of the weight factor. Find out first how much the weight limit per square meter of your balcony is. There are lighter materials like plant sacks, plastic, and others, which you can also use.
Planting the Seeds of Inspiration
Let these images fire up your imagination and get you going with your balcony makeover. The first thing to do though is to think carefully how you want to use the space.
Whether you’re a budding plant lover or an experienced one, a balcony is a great extension space for your plants. Add outdoor plants to your collection if you haven’t done so yet instead of just limiting yourself to indoor ones. You’ve got lots of choices for edible plants or ornamental ones.
Arrange your plants on the floor but also try to use the vertical space of your balcony, like filling up shelves with different kinds of plants. Aside from being decorative, a shelf is a good way to give your balcony some privacy. You can also hang some plants but be careful during rainy season or on windy days.
Tip: Make sure that the foliage doesn’t stick out of your balcony.
Hang Loose and Loll
Tired of feeling anxious and worried about the future? Stop being so anal. Just relax, hang a swing, and rock the beach bum vibe.
Do what you’d normally do when you are at your fave beach spot:
- Get some sun (good way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D to boost your immune system)
- Read a book (stay away from tragedies)
- Breathe fresh air (in the city? nah! forget this one)
- Have a nap (get a hammock instead of this swing)
- Drink your favorite poison (do this after 5 pm and in moderation…or not)
A Lazybones’s Lounge
Plants require care, unless you get plastic ones. So if you don’t want to take care of other living things other than yourself, just put some comfortable furniture in your balcony and use this space as an additional lounge area.
This is also a wonderful space to ask those existential questions. Serious soul searching requires a lot of energy so better do it in comfort and style. Shout out those deeply-held desires to the Universe. Hopefully your dreams will manifest themselves into reality.
But if you can’t be bothered with soul work because lazybones wants to be lazy, then lounge the day away and just listen to the beat of your heart or to some Muzak that will lull you to sleep. Catching some zzz’s is also a good way to boost your immune system.
Al Fresco Dining
Use your balcony for a le petit dejeuner of flaky croissants and strong coffee to start your day. Let your mind transport you to Paris and that unforgettable romantic getaway with your l’amoureux. That should snap you out of your quarantine blues.
Dining al fresco makes a meal feel special even if it’s lugaw. In the tropics, it’s better to limit yourself to breakfasts or dinners to avoid the heat. Of course, be prepared for those uninvited guests that will either come in flying or crawling into your balcony.
Get some foldable or stackable furniture to make your space more flexible. If you have a wooden table or chair like those in the photo, coat them with Boysen Xyladecor. It has water-repellent and wood-preserving properties.
The Early Bird’s Nest
Are you a morning lark and not a night owl? Use your balcony as a place to welcome the day. Hurray for you if it’s an east-facing one, then you can get your early morning energy lift.
If you start your yoga stretches at 5:30 in the morning, then you can have your breakfast by 6:30. That gives you plenty of time to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for your 8:30 Zoom meeting.
Retrofit Your Balcony
There you go! Lots of ideas to get you enthusiastic about retrofitting that balcony of yours to cater to your needs. First, you need to know what you want this space to do for you.
Next, consider the color palette you want in your balcony. Just make sure that your color story jibes with your interior spaces for that smooth transition from indoor to outdoor.
Having a balcony during these times is a blessing. So bless it back with a happy you.
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