I’m so, so excited to share my Spring balcony makeover with Orchard Supply Hardware today! If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m slightly addicted to HGTV (luckily I’ve made Chris a convert – or at least very tolerant) and am obsessed with a good makeover – and if it’s on a budget? Well that’s even better! I’ve been in our rental apartment in Orange County for the past two years. Essentially its in a fairly generic apartment complex where most of the apartments are the same. It’s been a great place for us to live while we transitioned from Boston to San Diego to Orange county – and a great first apartment for Chris and I to live together.
We were really excited to get one of the apartments with a balcony – especially since it’s Southern California and we figured we could use the space for most of the year! That being said, while we had initially put some small furniture and a plant out there and ate some meals out there in the beginning, it gradually became the space to dump everything we didn’t want in the house. Sport equipment, shoes, shells etc. I’ve been wanting to revamp that space for the past year but with my rental and budget restrictions, I kind of just gave up on that and let it go. So when Orchard Supply Hardware reached out to me and gave me the challenge of doing a Spring Balcony Makeover with $500, I jumped at the chance. I can’t tell you how fun this project has been for me and I hope you like it as much as I do! I also hope I’ve sparked your thoughts on making over and freshening up a space in your home for Spring.
Check out the makeover and the process I went through and don’t miss the GIVEAWAY opportunity at the end of the post!
About the Space
A 5’7″ x 12’4″ balcony in a rental apartment in Orange County California. Not allowed to paint or drill holes. It also looks out onto an unsightly street with lots of power lines.
To turn this neglected balcony into a bright and cozy hangout!
Phase One // Getting Inspired
When Orchard Supply Hardware asked me if I wanted to makeover my balcony I started to make a Pinterest board immediately! Pinterest has always been my go-to for fashion, beauty and interior design inspiration and I knew I could count on it to spark some ideas of what I could do with my own space. Within an hour I had about 20-30 pins and the wheels in my mind were turning.
Phase Two // Creating An Initial Plan
After gathering some inspiration and knowing my limitations as a renter on a budget, I knew that ultimately I wanted it to be cozy, filled with plants and lights and I wanted to find a way to disguise the floor, wall grate and ugly slanted storage door. I knew my balcony had to have some sort of comfortable seating, some greenery and definitely a mix of lanterns and string lights.
Phase Three // Gathering What I Already Own
While our balcony had been over run by sport equipment, drying beach towels and shells that we’d collected from the beach, it also had a small bistro set that we had originally bought from Ikea when we first moved in two years ago. We also had a small square of deck flooring which we naively thoughts would cover a good portion of the balcony floor when we bought it. Needless to say it wasn’t even close! Additionally, we had a leafy palm plant we’ve managed to keep alive (although there have been some close calls) and we’d covered the wrought iron with bamboo fencing when we got Nellie.
Since I was on a tight budget I decided to see what I had in other parts of my house that may have better use out on the balcony. I always do this first whenever I redecorate or refresh parts of my place – it helps to avoid spending money on things that you might not actually need. In my case, I pulled aside a large full length mirror that I thought I would use for #ootd Instagram photos (but turns out I never had the right light for it) and some cheap lanterns and candles that were in our storage closet. I also knew I had a bunch or throw pillows and extra blankets that could be used if I wanted (we’d just gotten new bedding for Christmas!).
The Mirror: The mirror might seem like a random thing to pull, but I knew covering up that large grate was going to be tough and it seemed like leaning the mirror over it would do the trick place make the balcony feel bigger and reflect more light.
Phase Four // Figuring Out What I Need To Buy
After playing around with the items I already had it was clear that a. I needed more comfortable seating, b. I needed to cover up the nasty concrete floor c. I needed to cover up the ugly door while still keeping it functional as it leads to storage space and d. I needed a lot more ambience in the form of greenery and lighting.
The Door: Since I had the grate/mirror situation figured out and I knew I could probably find some outdoor carpeting to cover the floor, the storage door became the bigger focus. I needed an idea to make it pretty without loosing it’s function. Luckily I’d come across a picture on Pinterest that seemed like it may work in my space – an over the door, shoe organizer, plant wall. YES! I was so excited when I saw that and I knew that that would be completely doable on my budget. I added “shoe organizer” to my list of items I needed.
Phase Five // SHOPPING
I’m going to be honest and say that I’d actually never stepped foot in an Orchard Supply Hardware store and in many ways, hardware stores intimated me – I never feel like I know how to articulate what I’m looking for or what I need. I was pleasantly greeted by the super friendly staff who were happy to help me find what I was looking for and went over my Pinterest inspiration board with me. I instantly fell in love with this oversized wicker chair with large comfortable cushions – that could potentially fit Chris, Nellie and myself on it. After I was sold on it, I realized I had two problems, 1. It would pretty much take up most of the balcony and might be an awkward fit and 2. There was know freakin’ way I was going to be able to fit it in my 2 door Honda Civic.
After realizing that I was going to have more limitations than just space and price, I had to refigure my thinking and ideas. That’s when I saw a square ottoman with a comfy cushion on it that could act as seating on my balcony and stay flush to the wall. Sure I could have bought the actually corner chair from the collection, but that would have eaten up most of my budget — and I had some ideas up my sleeve.
Phase Six // Putting It All Together
After getting the ottoman seating and rug into the space, things started to come together. I ended up using our old bed duvet and pillows to “beef up” the cushion on the ottoman where Nellie made herself instantly at home. I wasn’t worried about the linens not being water proof as the balcony is covered and it rarely rains here! I then bought an over-the-door shoe organizer from my local Target and picked up 2 outdoor floor cushions, a throw rug and a set of lace curtains at the Ikea down the street for a total of $50. The floor cushions would serve as table/foot rest/ movable seating, the throw rug would cover the remaining spot of the concrete floor and the curtains were going to be stapled into the ceiling on each side of the balcony to “distract” from the street view.
Once I had my shoe organizer up I figured out how many more plants I’d need and headed back to Orchard for the final touches and spend the rest of my $500! I ended up getting out of there with $5 to spare!
The Final Look
I’m so happy the way the balcony turned out! It’s definitely a cute and cozy relaxing space I want to spend time in rather than an eyesore I’d rather not look at. There is so much you can’t really change about being in a rental – and on a budget – but at the end of the day I think that’s part of the fun. It’s what spurs your creativity makes things a little more interesting! I can’t wait to spend more time out here with Chris, Nellie and my friends – it’s one of my favorite spots in our apartment now!
Thanks again to Orchard Supply Hardware for partnering with my on this makeover! I had so much fun with this Spring makeover project!
Photos by Ariane Moshayedi