Outdoor

My LA Balcony – Before and After

How time flies! It’s already been a year since I transformed my balcony from a sad worn out unused outdoor space into a beautiful cozy outdoor room. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it: not only has it given me more usable square footage, it’s also provided a much better view to look at from the inside of my apartment! 

LA-Balcony-before-and-after_edited-1

 

Finished-balcony-front-view-with-flowers-with-speaker

The first part of the transformation entailed sprucing up the walls. I did this by first making caps for the concrete walls – having the back of the caps extend up a few inches prevents things from falling to the ground and makes the top of the walls usable space. This also creates the illusion that my very narrow balcony (it’s only 3.5 ft wide) is a little wider. I made the caps using cedar fence posts and furring strips so they slide right over the walls and I painted them with a solid white outdoor stain. 

LA-balcony-wall-caps-before-after To give the tired looking walls a new look, I used a reed fence to make panels by stapling and gluing them to corner molding at the top and then screwing that into the wall caps. I love how it hid the walls and gave them a tropical feel. 

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 1

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 2Next I wanted to address shade and privacy. For that, I made lattice privacy panels using furring strips that I painted in a white outdoor stain. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-design

 

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-1

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2Since I’m renting, I didn’t want to make any holes so I used sisal rope to secure the panels to the bottom of existing columns and used zip ties at the top.

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2For the side panels, I had to get creative since there were no columns on one side. I ended using cabinet levelers at the top and secured the bottom to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-side-panelsThis video shows in detail how I made the wall caps and the privacy panels:

                  

Next came furniture and accessories: I wanted to create an area for lounging, eating and a little garden and it all had to fit my 10 ft x 3.5 ft balcony.

LA-Balcony-layoutThis required some custom DIY furniture so I first I built a storage lounging bench using inexpensive 2″x3″ and pine boards. By building a trap door for the top, it gave me a storage space to store gardening supplies and other things that can be stored outside. You can see the detailed steps for this project here.

DIY outdoor storage bench

Step-3-Complete-frame

Step-8-finished-bench-structure

Next, I needed a small table for the dining area. I found this inexpensive table from IKEA that was perfect but the top was a bit too small and I didn’t like the black legs. To give it a new look, I used antique gold rub n’ buff on the legs and then I built a new top  that slides over the existing one to make the table slightly larger. 

LA-Balcony-outdoor-table-makeover

For the garden part of my balcony, I didn’t have a lot of floor space to work with so I made a vertical herb garden by attaching metal planters to a trellis, which I then attached to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Herb-Planter

 

Herb-garden-full-side-view

Last but not least, I added some plants and hung a lantern to give my small balcony that outdoor room feel.

Finished-balcony-left-side-

You can see how I built the bench, and the other projects in this video here:

               

All the effort I put into this balcony makeover was so worth it – it has truly become an extension of my living space that I get to enjoy day and night.

finished-balcony-nighttime-

I hope you enjoyed this recap of my balcony project and that perhaps it will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space if you’re lucky enough to have one! 

How time flies! It’s already been a year since I transformed my balcony from a sad worn out unused outdoor space into a beautiful cozy outdoor room. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it: not only has it given me more usable square footage, it’s also provided a much better view to look at from the inside of my apartment! 

LA-Balcony-before-and-after_edited-1

 

Finished-balcony-front-view-with-flowers-with-speaker

The first part of the transformation entailed sprucing up the walls. I did this by first making caps for the concrete walls – having the back of the caps extend up a few inches prevents things from falling to the ground and makes the top of the walls usable space. This also creates the illusion that my very narrow balcony (it’s only 3.5 ft wide) is a little wider. I made the caps using cedar fence posts and furring strips so they slide right over the walls and I painted them with a solid white outdoor stain. 

LA-balcony-wall-caps-before-after To give the tired looking walls a new look, I used a reed fence to make panels by stapling and gluing them to corner molding at the top and then screwing that into the wall caps. I love how it hid the walls and gave them a tropical feel. 

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 1

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 2Next I wanted to address shade and privacy. For that, I made lattice privacy panels using furring strips that I painted in a white outdoor stain. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-design

 

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-1

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2Since I’m renting, I didn’t want to make any holes so I used sisal rope to secure the panels to the bottom of existing columns and used zip ties at the top.

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2For the side panels, I had to get creative since there were no columns on one side. I ended using cabinet levelers at the top and secured the bottom to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-side-panelsThis video shows in detail how I made the wall caps and the privacy panels:

                  

Next came furniture and accessories: I wanted to create an area for lounging, eating and a little garden and it all had to fit my 10 ft x 3.5 ft balcony.

LA-Balcony-layoutThis required some custom DIY furniture so I first I built a storage lounging bench using inexpensive 2″x3″ and pine boards. By building a trap door for the top, it gave me a storage space to store gardening supplies and other things that can be stored outside. You can see the detailed steps for this project here.

DIY outdoor storage bench

Step-3-Complete-frame

Step-8-finished-bench-structure

Next, I needed a small table for the dining area. I found this inexpensive table from IKEA that was perfect but the top was a bit too small and I didn’t like the black legs. To give it a new look, I used antique gold rub n’ buff on the legs and then I built a new top  that slides over the existing one to make the table slightly larger. 

LA-Balcony-outdoor-table-makeover

For the garden part of my balcony, I didn’t have a lot of floor space to work with so I made a vertical herb garden by attaching metal planters to a trellis, which I then attached to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Herb-Planter

 

Herb-garden-full-side-view

Last but not least, I added some plants and hung a lantern to give my small balcony that outdoor room feel.

Finished-balcony-left-side-

You can see how I built the bench, and the other projects in this video here:

               

All the effort I put into this balcony makeover was so worth it – it has truly become an extension of my living space that I get to enjoy day and night.

finished-balcony-nighttime-

I hope you enjoyed this recap of my balcony project and that perhaps it will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space if you’re lucky enough to have one! 

DIY outdoor storage bench

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

Solar LED lights for balconies

Want to add some ambiance on your balcony with lights but don’t have an electrical outlet? Let the sun provide the power you need! There are many solar powered LED lights out there that work really well – I found mine at Walmart (20 LED lights for about $15) but you can probably find them online for a lot less.

I tucked the lights through the reed fence I have attached to my balcony railing instead of hanging them the traditional way – I really like the “twinkling” effect it gives at night!

Want to add some ambiance on your balcony with lights but don’t have an electrical outlet? Let the sun provide the power you need! There are many solar powered LED lights out there that work really well – I found mine at Walmart (20 LED lights for about $15) but you can probably find them online for a lot less.

I tucked the lights through the reed fence I have attached to my balcony railing instead of hanging them the traditional way – I really like the “twinkling” effect it gives at night!

Small balcony decoration inspiration

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, make the most of it this summer! Even a small balcony can become a great spot to read a book, relax or take a nap. Take a look at this roundup of beautiful balconies full of inspiration to get you started on creating your very own outdoor oasis.

source: www.shelterness.com

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, make the most of it this summer! Even a small balcony can become a great spot to read a book, relax or take a nap. Take a look at this roundup of beautiful balconies full of inspiration to get you started on creating your very own outdoor oasis.

source: www.shelterness.com

Easy outdoor DIY bench

Want to add some comfy lounge-type seating to your balcony or outdoor space like this?

Make a bench using plastic storage bins as the base. Add ½ inch water-sealed plywood on top of the bins and hide the sides with panels made from reed fencing or lattice, attached to the plywood. Finish the edges with corner molding, throw on a few cushions and you’ll be lounging in style in no time. This how-to video shows how easy it is to make – no power tools needed!

Want to add some comfy lounge-type seating to your balcony or outdoor space like this?

Make a bench using plastic storage bins as the base. Add ½ inch water-sealed plywood on top of the bins and hide the sides with panels made from reed fencing or lattice, attached to the plywood. Finish the edges with corner molding, throw on a few cushions and you’ll be lounging in style in no time. This how-to video shows how easy it is to make – no power tools needed!