Small Condo Patio
Creating a zen urban oasis.
Small condos can present a challenge when it comes to utilizing space effectively and getting the most out of each little room. I recently turned my efforts to my small condo patio and the results are better than I expected. The condo as a whole feels much larger and more put together because my patio is essentially an extension of my living area now. I have pretty decent views already, but seeing the patio from the bedroom and living room significantly improves them. Keep reading to see what I did to maximize the use of space and achieve a cozy/zen AF vibe. I’ve broken it down into a few simple tips that you can apply to your small condo patio if you’re needing some inspiration!
Plants, Plants, Plants!
When it comes to plants, you can never have enough. They inject warmth & earthiness into an otherwise cold & lifeless space (especially in the middle of an urban environment). I went all-out and bought so many plants as you can see in the pictures below. For condo patios, you’ll want to focus on getting annuals, since they’ll have to be potted and don’t survive winter anyway. Perennials normally need more soil space to thrive and are better suited for a garden, but I did add a couple to my plant family like the pot of lavender (which smells heavenly). If you can incorporate hanging planters look for long vine-type plants like ivy. Herbs are another great plant to keep on the balcony as they thrive in planters & pots and are easy to take care of (just keep the soil moist, bring inside for the winter & place near a window if you wish to continue growing them). I love being able to grab a variety of herbs right from my patio (I have about 6 kinds) to add to my drinks/dishes! Tip to make sure the aesthetic doesn’t get too cluttered; get predominantly green plants with just a few pops of colour here and there. Most of my pots and herb planters are from a local nursery. The smaller basket-like pots are from IKEA.
Utilize Walls & Railings
Using the walls and railings is key to drawing the eye up and giving the illusion of a larger space, especially when the floor is needed for seating and tables. I incorporated a plant rack along the very tall side-wall and COVERED it with warm-toned plant pots to stand out against the black. I also found a couple of modern white planters to hang from the railing that I filled with ivy-like plants. Rack & planters are from IKEA.
Don’t Forget about the Floor Though
Think of the patio as another room in your house. If the floor feels comfortable & homey, so will the space. Most apartment/condo patios are concrete so adding comfort and warmth through inexpensive deck tiles and small rugs will make them feel like an extension of your indoor living area, with the added bonus of views, fresh air & a garden-like vibe. I had deck tiles installed when I purchased my condo, but you can find them at IKEA and most home improvement stores (RONA, Lowes & Home Depot for example in the US & Canada). The little rug was an unexpected find from guess where? IKEA. It adds some needed brightness & warmth to my otherwise dominantly black and grey patio. The chair & plant pot are also from IKEA (yes I love shopping there).
Mix Textures in Neutral Tones
Similar to drawing the eye up with walls/railings, drawing the eye in by creating depth is also important in small spaces and can be done by mixing textures. This can mean furniture materials (ex. wood, metal, wicker), fabric types (ex. pillows, rugs, blankets) & planters/accessories (ex. clay, metal, wood, wicker, glass). To keep things cohesive, use neutral tones (ideally within a similar pallet), with pops of colour here and there (easiest to do with flowers). I gravitate towards white & light wood/straw tones with hints of black & grey. I used the orange of the clay pots and some flowering plants to add colour. The handmade rattan table is my favourite patio piece from, you guessed it, IKEA!
Remember the Importance of Mood Lighting
Chances are that a lot of the time spent on your patio will be in the evening/night. To create a chill vibe candles and string lights are your best friend. I placed candles throughout the patio and kept everything low to ground, including the string lights along the bottom window sill (purchased from a local hardware store), so the light is subtle but plentiful. Lanterns for larger candles like the ones placed on the floor can be found just about anywhere. My favourite are obviously from IKEA because they are the simplest and most Scandinavian in design.
That’s it! I hope these tips will inspire you to zen-out your own outdoor space! It does take a little effort to plan and put everything together (always remember to measure before buying). For me though, the result has been SUPER transformative both from a lifestyle perspective (I love being outside whenever possible in the warm months) and from an aesthetic & design perspective. Also, as much as I love sitting outside enjoying my patio (I’m literally obsessed btw), the views of it from inside are almost as pleasing (photos below to see what I mean). Leave a comment below or on instagram if you have any other tips. Thanks for reading!