Tiny patios and balconies can be a big intimidation factor in townhomes, condos and apartments. Some owners and renters choose to ignore the spaces, or just throw a couple of plastic chairs and a plant outside.
“It’s really great to go ahead and do something with your outdoor space. Otherwise, you’re not really getting the most out of the money you’re paying every month if you’re not enjoying the entire space,” said Erika Ward, owner of Erika Ward Interiors, based in Atlanta.
Ward recently made over the “teeny tiny” patio of a condo in Madison Square at Dunwoody, whose owner was stumped about how to use the space. The price tag was about $1,000 to decorate the 9-by-5-foot patio.
Ward provided five tips for a small outdoor space makeover.
1. Plan it out before shopping.
Before buying a patio set or any furniture, determine how you want to utilize the space. Do you want to enjoy breakfast out there or a glass of wine in the evening? Do you desire to entertain outside? If so, that will determine how to maximize your seating and what other furniture you may need, such as a table, ottoman or serving cart. Consider how much sunlight the space receives, if you desire to bring in some plants.
2. Tackle big hurdles first.
Like other condo and apartment units, a storage space was part of the Dunwoody patio. The homeowner accessed the storage space only a couple of times a year, so it was OK for Ward to block the door with the love seat. Also, it’s important to learn about any restrictions set by the homeowners association or the lease. Don’t be daunted by those “don’ts,” which could include the inability to hang outdoor curtains or to make holes in the exterior, but focus on what you can do, Ward said.
3. Combine stationary items with easy-to-store pieces.
A chair from Ikea in the Dunwoody patio can be folded up and placed under the homeowner’s bed. The chair joins a love seat and ottoman from Lowe’s made out of durable resin, with a wicker look. Outdoor pillows from Room & Board in west Midtown can be unzipped and washed when needed.
4. Focus on the flooring.
An area rug, made for the outdoors, can bring color to the space and make it warm and inviting, Ward said. A standard size rug can fit in a small patio (Ward used a rug from Horchow.com).
5. Accessorize the space.
Extra pieces, such as a stone urn and lantern from T.J. Maxx, a bamboo serving tray and votive candle holders (in the Dunwoody patio), add a touch of style to previously ignored spaces. If you are allowed to hang up items, Ward suggests selecting a wind chime to add a melody to your now-stylish outdoor space.