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! 

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34 Comments

  1. Priti

    Simply love your ideas. Seeing you I got the guts to try out DIY transformations at home.

    • Isabelle

      Hi Priti, So happy to hear that!! Can’t wait to see some of your projects! Thanks for watching :) Isabelle

  2. Priti

    How do we maintain this during 3 -4 month of rainy season?

    • Isabelle

      I used outdoor fabric/cushions and all the wood is painted with an outdoor stain to protect it.

  3. Linda N

    You have such great ideas and do-able projects. I found you on a search for wall sconces, and saw your YouTube video, and then your site. Going to build a sconce for my new bathroom because I discovered the outlet is about 2″ off center… I can change some measurements and the sconce will hide the problem. Thank you!

    • Isabelle

      Thank you Linda! I love to hear stories like this – send me some pics when you’re done, would love to see your new bathroom with its new wall sconces!!

  4. Jean

    You sure have given me some great ideas. I can start buying supplies for next spring and maybe I will be lucky enough to have great looking deck as yours. Thanks for sharing .

  5. Wangu @ Pineconeshelf

    I love how you always transform your balconie.. This one looks so lux, I love it

  6. Eva

    Wow, I’m a new renter and hated the fact that there was no privacy to the tiny outdoor living space I did manage to get. I had my fair share if ideas but never sure which one to use. Looks like you put mine all in one and made it work. Amazing how we can all learn from each other, thanks! BTW, I love the homemade furniture.

    • Isabelle

      Hi Eva,

      So glad to hear my ideas were helpful for you to see what might work for your outdoor space. I agree, it’s great to see what people come up with and how it can inspire even more new ideas! Hope you’ll share pics of your projects – I would love to see what you come up with.
      Thanks for watching and all the best in the new year!
      Isabelle

  7. Alessandra

    Hello Isabelle. thank you so much for your great ideas! I am planning to make those white privacy walls, but my problem is that I dont have a ceiling or any walls to mount them. Are they going to be secured enough when I just mount them on the ground somehow? Do you have any idea? Also, how many meters/ft of the material did u use approx.? Thank you

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