Frugal Decorating: The $65 Balcony Make Over

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Frugal decorating means you can transform your apartment into an attractive and functional space–without cutting into your budget. One area of your apartment that’s most certainly drab is your balcony. A balcony make over is one way to brighten up your living space without spending a lot of cash.

Clean Up

Before you decorate the balcony, sweep and scrub away all of the dust, dirt and bird droppings. All you need is a broom and perhaps a little warm water and a scrub pad. If your balcony is made of wood, use an easy homemade solution of 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% warm water and a mop to safely clean and disinfect wood surfaces. Do not use vinegar on concrete or stone. Cost: free to $5.

Brighten the Floor

The balcony floor is usually bland, boring concrete or unattractive, fading wood. You can cover up the surface with interlocking tiles, but more often than not, they cost far too much to be considered part of frugal decorating. Instead, cover just a small area–perhaps the border of the balcony–with interlocking, removable tiles and add an outdoors mat in the middle of your balcony. (Or skip the tiles entirely.) From fake turf to plain colors to bold designs, these mats dramatically change the environment of your balcony, instantly making it a more inviting place. Cost: tiles: $15 to $30; mat: $10 to $30.

Add Plant (or Rock) Life

A corner or two of your balcony can be transformed from bland to bold with plant life. Whatever colorful–but not tacky–plant does well in your local climate makes a good choice, but in the spirit of frugal decorating, you might consider making your own small Zen garden in a pot as well. A collection of sand, gravel and stones requires no maintenance and can add a serene touch to your relaxation haven. Cost: $15 to $30.

Make Deck Furniture Functional and Appealing

Scour rummage sales, thrift stores and sales ads to see if you can find any deck furniture that’s relatively inexpensive and that matches well. A lounge chair or a table with umbrellas makes a particularly good choice. Having both a lounge set and a dining set will probably make your apartment balcony too cluttered, though, so choose one or the other when you decorate the balcony.

However, you can work with what you’ve got if you can’t find a good deal that fits in with your idea of frugal decorating. Turn a regular deck chair into a lounge chair by adding a small stool so you can extend your legs. Cover a boring and distressed dining or side table with waterproof fabric to dynamically change the design. Add outdoor furniture cushions and pillows to your chairs to cover up their worn surfaces.  Cost: $15 to $50.

Relaxing in your new outdoors retreat – without stressing over what the decor cost you – after a balcony make over is one way to enjoy the full benefits of frugal decorating. You may find that you enjoyed the experience so much you start thinking about inexpensive ways to redecorate the rest of your apartment!

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