outdoor rooms…

Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time on the balcony. It’s definitely my favorite “room” in the apartment right now.  It’s about 7.5′ by 20′.  Our gas grill and Ikea Applaro set (table, bench and two chairs) are out there and that leaves plenty of room for me to lay out and take outdoor naps 🙂  So far, the bugs have been nonexistent.

In the late fall right before we moved we sanded and re-painted the Applaro set a dark grey/black color.  I should have had it covered for the past 3 years since the old patio wasn’t covered, but hindsight is 20/20.  That’s ok…we really like the dark color and it looks great on the new balcony.  Another plus, which I didn’t realize until we moved in, is that condo rules say you can only have dark green, dark blue, or black furniture on the balconies (I guess to blend in with the building).  Some days it can get very windy out there, but it’s mostly pretty pleasant.  This past weekend I slept out there on a beach towel one day, and the next day we spent several hours out there, talking, eating, having drinks, and watching the boats and other watercraft on the river.  I now REALLY want a boat but that is not happening! 🙂

When we were moving, I felt really bad to be giving up the fenced in (albeit small) backyard that we had before, since my dog Jenny loved hanging out there so much.  No worries! I don’t know what she can see or smell 16 stories up, but she loves the balcony as much as we do!  Only problem is that I clean a LOT of dog snot off glass these days.

There aren’t any lights out on the balcony, but I LOVE string lights so you know where this is going.  I found these Smith & Hawken patio lights at Target and I love them!!  I took 3 strands and hung them on the glass under the balcony rail with S-hooks. They’re more heavy duty and nicer looking than normal strand Christmas lights. Also, I was afraid that, being at waist level, the bigger-bulb patio lights without covers on them might get broken, so these are perfect,  They look VERY bright from oh, a mile away even, but in person they give off a pretty nice light.

Even though we’ve got the patio furniture, grill, and lights in order, the balcony is looking pretty bare.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to make it look a little homier and softer this summer. I like the thick cushions and lights in this picture…

I also kind of want some tea lights or other candles to set out for outdoor dinners…..

Here’s an Applaro table like ours with the leaves out – luckily the balcony is big enough that we can extend them if we need to for more people…

I think some textiles would really soften up the space.  The balcony is covered and even in most downpours, it stays dry, so we wouldn’t really have to worry about bringing stuff in and taking it out every time we use it. There are so many pretty patio cushions, rugs, etc.!!! I cannot decide!

…and don’t forget plants!  Right now I just have a tiny cactus on the table.  I am seriously lacking a green thumb, so I am unsure what plants would look good out there that I could also keep alive all summer!!  I go back and forth between just getting a few small succulents, some potted flowers, or some sort of evergreen tree/topiary that’ll stay green year-round.

I am too indecisive!  Even with unlimited funds I don’t think our apartment would be “finished” to my liking any time soon.  I feel a little more hurried to get the balcony in order since this nice weather won’t be here forever!

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