Monday, 19 March 2012

Balcony furniture

The weather has been spectacular here for the past three days: so sunny and warm that I've been thinking about furnishing the balcony.

In addition to a pair of chairs for my husband and I, we're going to need a table to set a book, a drink or a plate on.  The floor is made of tire-tread pattern metal which isn't the most attractive thing in the world.  It's also going to get very hot in the sun.  I think some kind of outdoor rug would be great.  I've also yearned for a pair of black iron urns out there, to soften and green the space.  The caveat with these grand plans is that the balcony is only two and a half feet deep (and 14 and a half feet wide, with the door dead center), so it's a tight squeeze for most furniture. 

I would love this table from Restoration Hardware, but at 23" in diameter, it's really probably too big to squeeze past:

Chairs were also a challenge.  These from Pottery Barn are pretty (better if painted black), but just too big for the space:

Smaller iron chairs were either plain and boring or too frou-frou.   So I downsized to the idea of two little stools, rationalizing that we can lean back against the RBB's facade or against the iron of the balcony itself.   I've liked these seagrass stools from Pottery Barn for a long time, though I'd been considering them for the beach house and the front entryway.

They're designed for outdoor use.

Next up is an outdoor rug.  I like this wood block rug from West Elm, in the lighter color.  It looks to be a similar tone to the wood on the dining room floor, just inside the balcony door, so the transition between the two spaces should be pleasantly smooth:

Fortunately, two rugs in their runner size will fit perfectly.  I ordered the stools and the rugs this morning.

Finally, I have to decide on tables.  I'm thinking two little side tables, rather than one larger table-to-share.  My first thought was something ceramic, and among the options I've seen, I this one is probably my front-runner to pair with the stools and ironwork:

Unfortunately, it's not something that's designed for outdoor use.  It's also more expensive than I'm comfortable with.

I like this option too, but I worry that it's not substantial-looking enough and maybe too white:

The next option would be great if the blue was very close in color to the RBB's front door (which is directly beneath the balcony), but I think it has too much green and not enough purple in it and it's also borderline too expensive:
Here are a couple of other options:

Potentially good, since the window sills are the same cement color.

This next one would be a million times better in black, but it only comes in white, which I fear may be too bright:

Feel free to vote for your favorite in the comments below!

I am putting off the decision about whether or not to buy urns for the balcony until I've seen the rest of the furniture on it.  I don't want to crowd things, plus I'm worried about keeping the urns watered when we're away at the beach in the summer.  The exposure is south-southwest so they're gonna bake.  I know you can get some kind of self-watering system, but I'm worried it will be unsightly and that it might not keep the plants happy for as long as a week or more.  And there are few things less pretty than shriveled, neglected plants, so I'm treading carefully!  If I do take the plunge, these, from Terrain, are what I have in mind:


  1. I wish I had some outdoor space to call my own!! We have a community courtyard. My husbands always says he feels like everyone is watching us when we hang out down there:)

  2. Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for stopping by. I know what he means about the courtyard - I think I'd have the same worry and find it hard to relax. It's amazing to me the way the local restaurants with outdoor seating and open facades have been packed this week - we're so desperate to be outside!