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Outdoor Living in an Apartment

Jamaica has seen an increase in apartment living, and with developers churning out new units faster than you can blink, it's likely that this trend will continue for years to come. Some complexes create communal outdoor living spaces by reclaiming valuable rooftop space with jogging trails, swimming pools and even gardens. Other complexes have minimal outdoor space. Many people are flipping their balconies into a mini outdoor oasis. Regardless of whether you have a small apartment balcony or a sprawling terrace, you can and should capitalize on that outdoor space. Here's what to do:

apartment balcony with patio dining set and artificial grass

The first thing to consider is what confines you're working with, in both space and regulation. There may be specific rules to abide by for your complex. If you're renting the apartment, you might want to consider temporary outdoor living solutions like patio furniture and decor. As I wrote in How to Make the Most of a Tiny Outdoor Space, size matters. Knowing the spacial confines can give you an idea of what ideas are possible. You don't want to buy furniture that can't fit or is too small for your space, and you don't want to overcrowd the space either.

The next important decision to make is how you want to use the space. Really think crucially about what would you be doing out here to improve your quality of life. What would draw you out here from all the comforts you have inside? It might be a comfortable reading spot, a second dining area or even a place to entertain. It's very easy to get carried away trying to do too much, but try to be realistic and stick to one or two functions, depending on the size of course. Once this is decided you're able to put together a plan and a budget.

Here are some design ideas to consider when flipping your apartment balcony/ terrace:

  • Privacy Blinds or Screens Your balcony or terrace may be in direct view of your neighbours which could make you feel observed. For people concerned about being able to keep out wandering eyes, privacy screens or blinds may be worth looking into. Blinds can be pulled down to add privacy and retracted at your discretion. Privacy screens are usually fixed in place but can add a more decorative element to your space.

  • Shade Solutions For balconies and terraces that are directly exposed to the sun, I would recommend looking into adding shade. There are a variety of ways you can do this. There are umbrellas, shade sails and canopies, we've even installed a covered pergola on an apartment terrace.

  • Fun Flooring and Wall Decor Adding special flooring like wood decking tiles or artificial grass can add more visual interest to make your space more appealing, and make it feel like a real backyard. Wall decor can also make your balcony more interesting and can allow you to put more of your personality into the space.

  • Custom Furniture and Decor To avoid getting furniture that's too big or too small for your outdoor space, you can consider getting pieces designed to work for your space. Custom furniture allows you to get what you want and can even be a form of self-expression. You can ask for features like built-in storage or a modular design. Custom sofas or cocktail railing caps can be a great addition to your apartment balcony or terrace.

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