Small Rental Balcony Makeover: Before and After

2 Materials
4 Days

When I moved to LA from the East coast, I was determined to make the most out of my small balcony to enjoy the beautiful weather year round, even though I'm renting. 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!
This was my plan for the makeover of the long and narrow balcony (10 ft x 3.5ft) - 3 zones: lounging, eating and a garden area plus some privacy panels to hide the less than desirable view. The first part of the makeover was to spruce up the walls.
First, I made caps to place on top of the walls: the back of the caps extend up a few inches which prevents things from falling to the ground and makes the top of the walls usable space. The caps also create the illusion that my very narrow balcony is a little wider.
Then I made reed fence panels to cover the worn out concrete walls and attached them to the caps to avoid making holes in the existing walls.
Next came the privacy panels that I made with 1"x2" furring strips.
I attached them to the existing columns with sisal rope to avoid making any holes.
This video shows in detail how I built the caps, the reed fence panels and the lattice panels.
Next came the furniture - I used an IKEA table I had and gave it a new look.
I also made a storage bench that serves as my lounging area and seating for the table.
Since I didn't have much floor space for my garden area, I made a vertical herb garden that I attached to the wall caps.
I added more plants, some votives and a hanging lantern for soft lighting at night.
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!
You can see how I made the storage bench, table makeover and the herb garden in this video.

Suggested materials:

  • Reed fence
  • 1'x2" furring strips

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Judy
    on Feb 5, 2018

    How did you fasten the caps to the top of the balcony wall? Did that have to be preapproved by the owner?
    • Nadine Hartman Bourne
      on Feb 5, 2018

      My guess is it is a [ shape that just sits there. as long as the straight down sides are long enough it will stay there.
  • Kay
    on Feb 5, 2018

    A job very well thought out and accomplished. You need to contact neighbors and market your plan with adjustments to their tastes. An improvement in the neighborhood and a project that the city would appreciate?
  • Cindy
    on Jun 26, 2018

    Is it a rental apartment? If so, does the landlord say the privacy panel is a fire hazard? Because mine not let me put one up for that very reason

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