When I moved out of my tiny 30m2 Parisian flat to move into my then-boyfriend’s (now-Husband’s) 110m2 suburban mansion (anything over 40m2 is a mansion by Parisian standards), I was thrilled with all the space… and get this: there was a balcony!! Any Big City dweller can appreciate the rarity of such a thing, so that was just icing on the cake! After almost 10 years and 5 different apartments in Paris, I never even came close to having an outdoor space, let alone a balcony that you could actually go out on…for fresh air…!
Now that Spring is right around the corner, this is the perfect time to share the details of our balcony makeover that we did last year. So, read on to hear how we turned our drab balcony to a cozy little summer hang-out spot!
As in any new relationship, moving in together is a pretty big step. Since I was moving into his flat, it took me a while to feel at home. Translation: it took me a few weeks before I was comfortable enough to start changing things around once I got over the initial shyness.
One of the first projects was to re-do the balcony, since it was fairly uninviting and therefore not used very often. Can you imagine, a gigantic (again, everything is relative) balcony overlooking a bunch of greenery? That’s prime outdoor real estate in my book! As soon as I got a glimpse of it, though, I understood why people rarely ventured out there: ugly cement floor, unattractive beige walls, a worn down privacy screen, no seating, no plants, and a bunch of random stuff stored on it that accumulated over the years. Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good project, and this was perfect! Also, anyone that knows me that most of my projects start off the same way: a visit to the Ikea website to get ideas. Yes, my name is Veronica and I am addicted to Ikea. But who wouldn’t be?! All home improvement projects can benefit from at least one or two elements from Ikea. They have great products that are budget-friendly and easy enough to adapt to your needs.
Once I got an idea of what Ikea had to offer by way of outdoor furniture, I quickly made my way over to my next addiction: Pinterest. This is a must in my book, as it’s really inspiring to see what others have created in their homes. I almost always look to Pinterest for ideas on how to improve “small spaces” and the ideas on there are fantastic. So, a few hours later (okay, a good several weeks of pinning and Ikea searching and more pinning), I had a plan! Whenever starting a home improvement, room makeover, or DIY project, I like to define a clear objective. For the balcony makeover, it was very clear to me from the beginning: I wanted to created a warm and inviting space that we would be able to actually spend time on, after work and on weekends, enjoying the summer sun. And most importantly: I wanted somewhere we could BBQ! When I lived in Michigan, I pretty much lived off of grilled food in the summer, so needless to say the possibility of a BBQ grill got me even more excited about this project.
With my Ikea shopping list saved and my balcony “vision” defined, we set out to make the following purchases:
- Synthetic grass
- New bamboo privacy fence
- Flower, plants and pots
- Metal shelving unit
- Outdoor bench
- Electric BBQ grill
Total cost: around 350 euros
Putting down the synthetic grass was what I was most worried about, but it ended up being beyond easy to install: simply write down the dimensions of your balcony before heading to the store, to make sure you get enough of the stuff. Next, roll it out, cut it down to size, smooth down the edges. Easy peasy. Same with the privacy fence, measure the length of your balcony that you want to cover, and head over to the hardware store. There were lots of different options (in lots of different price ranges), so this could easily cost you way more that we invested, depending on the materials you choose.
So, the total cost for this project was pretty reasonable considering the difference it made, and we only spent one afternoon of putting the grass down, and arranging all the new furniture. Needless to say, it was totally worth it. If you’re hesitating to take on a similar project, then hopefully this post will motivate you to just go ahead and try it!
Interested in a balcony makeover of your own? Check out the Pinterest board I created to help with design brainstorming ideas.
Did you undertake any big home improvement projects after moving in with your significant other? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!