6 Creative ideas for decorating your apartment patio

If you’ve been lucky enough to nab an apartment with outdoor space, even if it’s small, you have a great opportunity to get creative. A small balcony is your tiki lounge, European cafe, miniature suburban backyard—you name it. All it takes is some inspired decorating ideas. 

When you’re living with roommates in a small space, a patio can be a true escape, providing privacy from other roommates, much-needed fresh air, and extra square footage for entertaining when the indoor dining area is already in use. No matter your budget or your vibe, these X balcony ideas are sure to inspire your interior design—or, should we say, exterior design.

Apartment patio overlooking a city skyline.

Table of contents

1. Urban farm2. Tropical vacation3. Elegant bistro4. Cozy cabin5. Modern minimalist6. Desert oasis
Urban tomato plants on a patio.

1. Urban farm

If you have a green thumb and love the idea of eating home-grown food, turn your patio into an urban farm. No matter how small the space, you can still enjoy a generous harvest. Line your patio with prolific plants like cherry tomatoes, peppers, and heirloom lettuces, all of which can grow in pots

Cherry tomato plants double as decoration when they mature. If your patio has a railing, gently tie the stalks to the railing as they grow, and you’ll end up with a wall of green.

A peacock chair and tropical plants on a patio.

2. Tropical vacation

If you’ve been dreaming of a resort vacation, why not bring the tropical feel to you? Start with planters filled with palms: Majesty Palms, Butterfly Palms, or Cat Palms all do great on patios. Then, pepper in some smaller potted plants like Cannas, Elephant’s Ear, or Birds of Paradise. 

As for the balcony furniture (make sure you get outdoor furniture that will hold up in inclement weather), try the popular rattan style for your chairs and coffee table. A bamboo outdoor rug can help cover a concrete floor to stay on theme. 

For your outdoor lighting, place hurricane candle holders around instead of tiki torches and try pops of color, like bright yellow or salmon-colored throw pillows. And don’t forget the tiki mugs for your tropical beverages.

Green bistro table and chairs on a patio with umbrella and flower boxes.

3. Elegant bistro

Who can resist a bistro table? Whether made of painted metal, as you’d see in Rome, or woven wicker furniture and rattan, like you would see in Paris, a small set of two chairs and a little round table just beg for sunny afternoons, espresso in hand. 

Add an outdoor vinyl rug with a faux tile pattern on the floor. Use zip ties to hang string lights along the balcony railing to get that Eiffel Tower effect when the sun goes down. Try a potted tree or ivy plants to mimic the look of outdoor seating at a European cafe, and add a tabletop bud vase with a fresh flower for special occasions.

Two Adirondack chairs on a brick patio.

4. Cozy cabin

Sometimes you just need to wrap yourself in a sweater, hold a hot beverage, and stare out at a lake, contemplating your life. When a body of water or expansive forest isn’t available, turn your patio into a mountain escape and get hygge with your outdoor living.

Start with laying interlocking wooden floor tiles, which are removable and can be found at many home goods retailers. Then, shop for Adirondack chairs and a small side table. Add a wooden deck box and store some cozy throw blankets inside. 

In terms of balcony lighting, try camping lanterns and store them inside the deck box when you’re not using them. Battery-powered LED string lights are another good option for a twinkly look.

Two beige modern chairs with cushions on a patio.

5. Modern minimalist

If your living room is more Mad Men than mountain man, you need a balcony to match. Try mid-century modern patio furniture with structured cushions in neutral or jewel tones and throw pillows with bold, retro patterns. A hexagonal or octagonal coffee or side table can help complement the pillows. 

Keep the vintage vibes going by placing a few simple candles around the space and collecting vintage matchbooks to place in jars nearby. Then, add a few potted plants with striking shapes, like Monsteras or a banana tree. 

Accessorize with hanging round paper lanterns, a mod mirror, or a statement vase to up the mid-century modern aesthetic.

A cactus in a pink pot on a blue stool.

6. Desert oasis

Channel your inner Silver Lake Shaman by creating a desert oasis on your deck. Acapulco chairs are a striking and warm-weather-friendly design choice. Adding a concrete coffee or side table can help evoke the feeling of sand and stone. Place a few agate-inspired coasters atop the table to hold your ice-cold margarita glass. 

This is another excellent opportunity to create a patio design with a plant-scape. Succulents come in so many different shapes and sizes—collect a few and plant them in upcycled jars, coffee tins, beer cans, or discarded glassware. Larger succulents like aloe vera can help add height and variety to the scene. Pro tip: save on purchasing succulents by planting trimmings from wild plants or a friend’s garden. 

As for rugs and blankets, Southwestern-style woven rugs and throws add vibrance and color to your space. Ladder shelves are a nice way to store blankets and beach towels when you’re not using them if you live in a dry enough climate. Consider a cowboy flair by propping a vintage wagon wheel or weather vane in a corner.

When it comes to outdoor space, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. No matter the square footage, a balcony is a great option for entertaining guests or getting a little privacy and sunshine when you live with roommates. Just make sure that all the updates you make to your outdoor space are okay with your landlord before you head out on a mini shopping spree for your mini backyard.

Bungalow is the best way to live with roommates. Our homes are designed for shared living, located in the best neighborhoods, and take care of the details—like furnishing common spaces, scheduling monthly cleanings, and handling payments. Whether you already have roommates or are looking for new ones, there’s a Bungalow with your name on it. Find your Bungalow.

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Move in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.