Every Canadian knows that summer is all about maximizing the amount of time spent outside before the cooler temperatures descend again. There’s no better (or more convenient) place to do that than from the comfort of your own home. But if your tiny city balcony has become the garage storage you wish you had or a graveyard to all the plants you’ve killed, fear not. There’s still time to enjoy the sunshine from your personal outdoor oasis, according to designer Jamie Deck of Shift Interiors. We chatted with Deck and got all the tips on how to transform your outdoor space from boring to brilliant. 

Shift Interiors PatioShift Interiors1. Plan it Out

A cozy dining nook? A hangout spot with comfy seating for the whole family? A quiet reading corner? The possibilities are endless. Think about what you’ll use the area for and go from there. Outdoor spaces come in all sorts of unusual shapes and sizes so it’s a good idea to take careful measurements and create a plan before you buy anything. Check to see if your favourite pieces fit with enough room to comfortably get around them. 

balcony design IdeasNguyen Dang Hoang Nhu

2. Consider Your Materials

Weather-proof materials (and space) can be limiting. If your balcony has space constraints, we recommend picking pieces that are light and open to allow the light to travel through and not obstruct the view,” says Deck. Opt for elements like glass or rattan to maximize the space you do have. 

balcony design IdeasShift Interiors3. Go Green

Nothing brings the great outdoors to you like a healthy dose of green. Whether you’re looking for extra privacy or a bit of respite from the concrete jungle, adding plants is a no-brainer way to transform the space. Deck notes that it’s best to buy plants that do well in the colder weather as well, so your balcony looks lively and complete all year round.

Ikea balconyIkea
4. Light it Up

No balcony space is complete without a little bit of mood lighting. Deck recommends going for warmer toned lights to make the area cozy and welcoming at night so you can use your gorgeous balcony any time of the day. 

balcony design IdeasSpacejoy

5. Don't Miss the Details

Don’t let the fresh air keep you from going big with decor elements. Touches like pillows, throws, dinnerware and vases add texture and colour and bring the hominess outside. Plus it’s an easy way to refresh and update the feel later on.

Shift Interiors PatioShift Interiors
6. Embrace the Aromatics

Just because the smells that waft off the sidewalks in the summer are less than pleasant, doesn’t mean they have to infiltrate your outdoor oasis. “A very important trick for us to create a fresh atmosphere is the smell,” says Deck. She recommends using diffusers and candles with light aromas outside to keep the city air fresh and peaceful. Bonus points if it keeps the bugs at bay.