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Petite patio living

Downsizing doesn’t mean down-styling….and the balcony or courtyard is no exception. Create an envy-inspiring aesthetic – in a cool compact spot – with these top tips from Matt Blatt.

“Think of your balcony, courtyard or petite patio as an extension of the adjacent room rather than as an afterthought or add-on. If it stems from the bedroom, maybe style with a hammock or sun lounger and side table for Sunday morning coffee and papers; whereas an area off the kitchen/living area might be more suited to a love seat, stool and coffee table for pre-dinner drinks with your posse,” advised Mr Blatt.

“Even when space is restricted, style is not, so if you’re small on space, go large on style and eke maximum enjoyment out of every inch with clever choices, insider info and a few nifty tricks to create that all-important illusion of space…..whether you actually have it or not is beside the point!”

Flash a feature

The Great Outdoors package from Matt Blatt

It’s a little known, but oft-used tool of interior decorators that creating a visual anchor is key to a successful space, whatever the size. In a small area, just one focal point is enough so choose a look-at-me piece you love and make it such a fab feature that the size of the surrounding space will be the last thing anyone will notice.

An inviting armchair or loveseat, or a bright lounger, rocker or pair of stools are ideal picks, as are large plant pots with tall greenery to draw the eye up.

Countless ways with comfy cushions

Sunny Boy microfibre cushion

Cushions can work just as must magic outside as they can in. Not only do they make for an instant makeover and a warm and inviting ambience, they’re ideal for those who like to update, stay on trend and chop and change their look without breaking the bank. Even better, you don’t need a large space to be able to play with them.

Floor cushions are also a fab option for restricted spaces, adding instant additional seating that can be easily removed, as well as providing a plush and popular spot to lounge for littlies.

Colour is king

Add seasonal style in a small (budget) way with pops of colour, whether with cushions, throws, stools, multi-coloured chairs, side tables, planters or decorative accessories such as candles, ginger jars, quirky animals or vibrant coffee table trays.

Replica Philippe Starck Master Chair

And while it’s no secret we’re all for colour, unless you’re a master of the eclectic look, on a pint-sized patio it may pay to stick with a relatively simple colour scheme rather than attempting to jam in the entire rainbow.

Greenery is always good in an outdoor area, whether real or artificial, so incorporate a corner pot, hanging plants or tabletop potted picks to bring your small space story to life.

Up, up, up

Using vertical space is a super strategy to create an illusion of height, which in turns creates an illusion of space. Think vertical gardens, macramé plant pots hanging overhead, tall mirrors on the wall and you’ll be well on the way to achieving a beguiling, bigger-looking balcony.

    Artificial Banana Tree



Divide & delight

If you can, split your courtyard or patio into two distinct areas – don’t be shy, it works in small spaces too – to create mini zones. Try a loveseat in one spot and a pair of dining chairs with a side table in another, one area for lounging, the other for weekend brekky.

The practical stuff

  • Extendable tables and folding chairs are practical picks for small spaces, taking up minimal room on a day-to-day basis but accommodating extra bums on seats when entertaining
  • Feature lights add an air of ambience and glamour outside, but check whether they’re rated for outdoor use or will be entirely out of the weather before you buy
  • Look for UV-resistant fabrics made specifically for the outdoors, as well as timbers that require minimal maintenance
  • Bear in mind the weight of your furniture choices. Sturdy is great considering exposure to wind etc but if you’ll need to rearrange items often, lightweight items may be more appropriate