Make Your Balcony into a Summer Retreat

Now is the time to transform your outdoor space into a welcoming retreat that you can enjoy all summer long. Here are five design tweaks to make your balcony or patio the perfect spot to sip your morning coffee, finish the day with a glass of wine—or invite friends over for dinner and drinks.

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Create a Space for Entertaining

Even if you’re short on room, you can nestle a few chairs and a settee in the corner for a cozy get-together or set up a bistro set for four—and up your entertaining game with the perfect sunset experience.Time your gathering, so that your guests are able to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails as the sun sets followed by a city-lit view,” says Andrea Correale, the founder and CEO of Long Island-based caterer Elegant Affairs.

Bring Indoors Out

To make your balcony feel more like an outdoor living room, accessorize with everything from candles and lanterns to throw pillows and plump poufs. A swing adds a romantic touch if you have the space. Correale’s must-have accessories? Mosquito spray and portable Wi-Fi speakers.

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Go Green

When creating a balcony retreat, you will want to incorporate natural elements. Use a mix of hanging baskets of flowers, rail planters and various size floor pots with lots of color and leaf variety—think ficus, fiddle leaf fig and olive trees. Cut back any overgrown shrubs or branches to ensure sight lines are not impeded.

Set a New Threshold with Flooring

Don’t forget where your (and your guests) feet will tread. Transform your concrete by installing wood floor panels, which are frost resistant and will make the balcony feel like an indoor-outdoor space. Try layering with a cozy, all-seasons area rug, a runner or even several large mats. Experiment with materials like natural jute, seagrass or basket weave rugs beneath soft wools in muted or bright colors.

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Fix the Privacy Settings

Even if your balcony is right next to your neighbor’s—or easily viewable from above or below—you can create a feeling of privacy by installing an awning, draping outdoor fabric, curtains or even canvas. For a more formal look, white cotton makes a statement backdrop. Or try something more casual by hanging burlap or natural hemp to divide your space or cover a wall or railing.

Photos in order of appearance: Corcoran listing 169 East 78th St., Corcoran listing 122 Adelphi St., Corcoran listing 220 East 67th St., Michael Moran for Architectural Digest