How to Decorate an Apartment Patio

Apartment Patio Decor Ideas

Photo of teak mid-century patio dining set with orange chairs

A balcony or small patio is a plus for any apartment. On bright summer days or peaceful evenings, having a little outdoor space all to yourself makes a big difference. Decorating a balcony or small patio can be tricky, as smaller spaces may limit your furniture and decor options. But with careful planning, new seating, accents and decorative flair can transform any patio into a private oasis.

Overview

In this post, you’ll discover how to:

Planning Your Design

How Do You Spruce up a Rental Patio?

While it’s tempting to start browsing for chic furniture right off the bat, thinking about the purpose of your outdoor space first saves a lot of time and energy. Consider the advantages of your apartment patio as well as your interests and lifestyle to determine the best approach:

  • Stunning Views A cozy conversation set on a balcony or terrace overlooking a gorgeous landscape gives everyone a front-row seat from sunrise to sunset.
  • Entertainment Value: Patio dining sets let apartment dwellers expand their guest lists for parties and brunches.
  • Private Garden: Create a secluded getaway on your covered patio or porch with a wooden swing or glider surrounded by hanging ferns, trailing vines and planters full of colorful blooms.
  • Read & Relax: Design a chill-out spot for long afternoon naps in the fresh air or a quiet book-lovers hideaway with an adjustable chaise lounge on the patio.

Once you have a purpose in mind for your apartment patio or balcony, it’s time to create your look and choose the furniture and accents you need to bring your vision to life. With a little planning and a few stylish apartment patio ideas, you can design a relaxing outdoor space in no time.

Photo of a white patio seating set with blue cushions and a table

A cozy patio seating set expands your apartment’s entertainment options.

Know Your Dimensions

Once you have your patio’s purpose, you’ll need accurate measurements. Create a sketch of your apartment patio, write down the dimensions and note any structural elements you may need to work around. Keep walls, overhangs and railings in mind, too. You’ll want to use every inch of the available space to your decorating advantage.

Photo of four bronze patio chairs and a fire pit table

Work with the size and features of your patio to create the perfect layout.

Style, Colors and Materials

Before opening your browser or heading to your local store, think carefully about your patio’s decor style. For example, if your apartment balcony leads to your living room, you might choose industrial or modern pieces to complement your existing interior design. But, if you want your patio to serve as a getaway from daily life, decorate with the space’s purpose in mind to promote the right vibe:

  • Surrounded by Nature: Emphasize the wonders of the outdoors with wood furniture for your balcony or patio. Rustic teak layouts blend in beautifully with green spaces and plants.
  • Carefree and Eclectic: Need a fun hideaway from the 9 to 5 grind? Look for cozy hammocks or colorful red, teal or orange furniture so you can escape to your cheerful apartment patio after a long day.
  • Beach Vacation: Whether your terrace has an ocean view or not, coastal wicker furniture evokes the serene vibes of surf and sand.
  • Mix it Up: If your contemporary living room connects to your balcony, transitional metal or wicker pieces blend traditional and current design elements, creating a subtle change for your outdoor space.
  • Classic Charm: To infuse your patio with Old World appeal, classic wrought-iron tables and seating transform patios into Parisian cafes and give balconies the graceful allure of historic New Orleans homes.

Your style choice can also guide your color palette and materials. Cool blue and beige hues are a no-brainer for coastal decor, while earthy tones are ideal for rustic spaces. As you finalize your color scheme and style, look for materials that offer different textures. Combining smooth glass with woven wicker or polished steel adds a layer of visual interest to your layout.

Photo of white and teak patio dining set on a balcony with a brick wall and plants in wicker baskets

Smooth wood, rough brick and woven basket textures add depth to neutral layouts.

Choosing Patio Furniture and Decor

Now that it’s time to shop for furniture and accents for your apartment patio, use your sketch and dimensions to ensure all the pieces fit without overcrowding. Read product descriptions carefully or take a measuring tape with you for in-store purchases.

Photo of teak bar height patio dining set

Use patio measurements when shopping to ensure your layout is open and accessible.

Seating Options

If you have a spacious patio, a sofa or sectional with a coffee table is ideal for relaxing or late-night chats with friends. Scale down to a loveseat if you need to conserve space or opt for a pair of Adirondack chairs or wicker club seats on a small balcony or deck. Not sure if a cocktail table will fit? Consider side tables to give guests a convenient surface for drinks and snacks.

If full-sized chairs are a tight fit, an aluminum, wood or patio storage bench or a pair of ottomans provide cozy, low-profile seating when space is at a premium. If you’re creating a private oasis for one, a lounger or rocker may be all you need. Consult your patio sketch and try different layouts to find one that works within your space and allows full access without feeling crowded.

Photo of metal patio loveseat, two chairs and an ottoman

Patio seating should be comfortable and accessible while leaving space for other elements.

Dining Layouts

When setting up for patio entertaining, guests must be able to move dining chairs freely and walk around without difficulty. 7pc and 5pc dining collections offer ample seating for parties, while bar and bistro sets create an intimate space for couples or best-friend brunches. Round tables paired with bar stools optimize your seating space, while square tables work well against walls or corners.

Photo of brown round wicker dining set

A round dining set with armless chairs maximizes your seating potential.

Outdoor Accents for Your Patio

Photo of teak and metal patio seating set with tan cushions on a balcony with wall sconces

The right light fixtures and rugs make outdoor spaces more comfortable.

Your decor should support your small apartment patio ideas and goals while coordinating with your color scheme. As always, keep your measurements in mind and look for space-saving accents that make the best use of your available square footage. Use walls to your advantage where you can, too.

  • Made in the Shade: Wondering how to cover a small apartment patio? Providing ample shade is your priority. Table umbrellas are ideal for dining sets, while cantilever models work well for sofas and sectionals. Canopies can also shield larger areas from harsh sunlight. Meanwhile, wind blockers are useful when creating a private outdoor hideaway.
  • Light up the Night: Want to enjoy the outdoors after the sun goes down? Lanterns and table lamps bring a lovely glow to late-night parties. If your apartment patio or balcony has built-in lights that don’t quite fit your aesthetic, swap them out for pendant fixtures or wall sconces that coordinate with your vibe.
  • Keep Your Footing: Outdoor rugs boost your color palette while adding a soft surface texture to wood, tile or concrete patios or balconies. Just make sure to choose an appropriate rug size for your space and furniture layout.
  • Stay on Track: Chic, functional decor is always a plus. Digital outdoor thermometers offer helpful forecast information as you enjoy your morning coffee, while patio clocks ensure you stay on schedule when taking a relaxing break between weekend errands.
  • Warm Things Up: If your apartment complex allows outdoor heat sources, a chimenea or tabletop fireplace instantly enhances your patio layout and extends the use of your space. If a patio heater isn’t the right fit, hanging or standing torches are a simple way to add flickering flames to your design.
  • Curate Cozy Comforts: Once you have all the essentials in place, add accents to personalize your patio and bring your design to life. Tasteful wall art, chic garden sculptures and cheerful pillows and cushions boost your color palette and make your theme and design feel cohesive and complete.
Photo of bronze outdoor seating set with a fire pit table

Accents provide the finishing touch to a carefully curated design.

Decorating a compact outdoor space may seem limiting at first. However, once you have a purpose and plan in mind, coming up with small apartment patio ideas is relatively straightforward. Choosing your style, color palette, and size-appropriate furnishings and decor unlocks your creativity, allowing you to design a space perfectly suited to your particular needs and lifestyle.