Outdoor Hygge Balcony Makeover: One Room Challenge (Week 1)


Sitting down to write this post is something that is both exciting and anxiety inducing, because never have an ever participated in the One Room Challenge! To be honest, every time it came across my radar I would think to myself:

One day I'd love to do that!

And I would say that, but what I was really thinking was:

One day when I own a house I'd love to do that.

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I'd always imagined that major home transformations were only for homeowners -- whether that home was a house or a condo -- and just something that us renters couldn't really indulge in. 

Click to see all the One Room Challenge Guest Participants

Click to see all the One Room Challenge Guest Participants

Moving to Washington and making this [rental] condo our home completely shifted my mindset. 

As I dove into decorating & styling more, in addition to working with clients who were also renters that's when my mindset began to change:

While you can't knock down walls or swap out fixtures, there is a lot you can do to makeover your rental into something that is uniquely you and truly transformative!

So when this One Room Challenge came around I said that there is absolutely no reason I can't participate!

I was already prepping to do different refreshes throughout our condo, with the balcony being my main focus for the spring, so that we could truly take advantage of having this outdoor area. 

So here we are!

About Our Balcony

The balcony is the first real outdoor space we've ever had as a family. While our NYC building did come with multiple outdoor areas, they weren't OURS. We shared em with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other residents. 

With that in mind, we were really excited to have a place where we could sit, relax, and hangout. 

For us it wasn't about the size, because while it is a "small" balcony, it's definitely bigger than a Juliet balcony. 

Currently on the balcony, when it comes to decor, we have:

  • 2 chairs

  • a side table

  • a grass rug

  • a decorative rug

The balcony also gives way to a generous size storage closet, which unfortunately started to overflow onto the balcony itself -- out of sheer laziness, to be honest, we started treating the balcony more like an outdoor attic than like an outdoor oasis. 

The balcony is right off the living room, but also faces our community. Although we get great privacy when the trees are full, the currently naked branches to very little for hiding our junk. So from both ends -- while sitting on the sofa or while walking from the car -- I was seeing our disheveled balcony & just feeling uninspired & disappointed. 

Cleaning it wasn't enough. Yes, that's part of it, but beyond that it needed to be decoded and designed!

Design Plan

  • declutter & purge, maximizing the space

While we need to just get out of the habit of throwing things out there, after my initial decluttering & purging, I already feel like I can start to breathe when on the balcony.

  • deep clean, with a focus on the siding, railing, doors, and window

I'm ashamed to say, since moving in, we never actually CLEANED the balcony. We took it as is (the landlord did clean) and then just started putting things out there. In hindsight, overlooking that step is was really the beginning of the end. 

  • deep clean (if not replace) chairs

Full disclosure: we bought these IKEA Nolmyra Chairs well over a year ago when we moved into our FIRST Washington apartment. We "needed" accent chairs & these were $40. SOLD! When we moved into this condo, it was like fate because they were absolutely PERFECT for the balcony -- size, look, everything. Unfortunately, since putting em out there, we pay em very little attention. Notice a trend?

  • update side table

A few weeks ago I took the side table that USED to be on the balcony, upcycled it (after neglecting it for nearly a year) and it is now our bathroom accent table. I've actually already gone ahead and purchased a replacement table, so really what's left is to style it. 

  • introduce more greenery (hanging & floor plants, additional "grass" rug)

We have the fortune of living in a community & neighborhood that is very beautiful! Greenery everywhere! This has inspired me to want to steal a bit of that for my home -- from the inside out. With that in mind, after killing 3 plants on the balcony, I want to find alternatives to adding greenery to the balcony.

  • create small herb "garden"

For longer than I can remember, my husband has always wanted to plant herbs; and while we don't have a large yard for a large garden, we can have a small herb garden. So far I've seeded 3 (testing the waters) and 2 have already begun to sprout beautifully. So God willing, I'll be doing more, in different size pots, to dress up the balcony. 

  • update throw pillows

It's no secret that I LOVE me some throw pillows, so the outdoors would be no different. While I always had pillows on the balcony, it wasn't ever very thoughtful; instead it was just, "what pillow covers am I not using right now?" NOT ANYMORE! This time, I have the perfect cushion covers in mind that'll be perfect for where I wanna take the balcony. 

  • clean & refresh rugs

I have no intention of cleaning the rugs, but sweeping em may not be enough. While they're still in [surprisingly] really great condition, there's no question they can't use a little of t.l.c. 

  • improve lighting, specifically the panel location for solar power

Once upon a moon ago I purchased solar powered outdoor lights. Then I taped them up -- yes I said taped (please don't judge) -- with no real thought to whether or not the sun would actually reach the panel. Then the seasons began to change & I just never bothered to fix them. I think I've seen them light up MAYBE twice. Best part of is, I have TWO boxes of these lights *slaps forehead* so this time, I'm going to put together an actual lighting plan to really create an outdoor Hygge atmosphere with warm, cozy lighting. Not only will I do better with the string lights, I wanna get some floor light, like lanterns, to really set the scene. 

  • accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

The magic is going to be in the finishing touches, designing the balcony as I would any of the rooms IN the house!

My inspiration for essentially creating this extension of our living room is to bring our Hygge living outside. 

A Hygge inspired makeover feat. cool tones & textures

While I don't know that I'll be able to do everything I'd like, I think I've set some pretty attainable goals & I am excited for the next 6 weeks! 

Be sure to follow along with my journey on my youtube channel, and follow along with all the other guest participants as well! 

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