Tips and Guides

6 Ways to Achieve a Summer-Ready Outdoor Living Space

Dress up your balcony with the right must-haves


Outdoor areas are extensions of the home—depending on the size and type of your house, you can have a compact balcony or a huge lanai. These spaces can be spruced up to help you make the most of it! You can turn it into a breakfast nook, reading corner, or an extra dining space meant for intimate get-togethers.

To help you update the look of this spot at home, here are easy tips to turn it into your own summer retreat:

Main photo from: Pinterest.

Make way for plants

No outdoor space is complete without plants. Greens can help liven up the smallest of balconies, too. Aside from displaying potted plants on the floor, you can also hang a couple of your favorites to add depth to your space.

Invest in the right furniture

Customize your existing outdoor furniture and make them as cozy as your living area’s sofa. Typical outdoor furniture is made of PVC wicker, wrought iron, or teak wood—all of which lack upholstery. These pieces may not give a comfortable seating experience.

You can work around this by adding custom-made cushions for your chairs. Make sure that these are easily removable so that you can bring them indoors in case it rains. Play with colorful and patterned fabric for upholstery and throw pillows to inject life into your nook.

Photo from Trendenser.

Ensure privacy

Maximize the use of plants by creating a vertical garden that can give your space some privacy. Taller plants can also be used to mask your area from your neighbors. Accents like tall branches on pots or louver doors can serve as decor while covering up your space.

Photo from 2015 Decor via Homedit.

Work with an efficient layout

Arrange your furniture to follow the perimeter and keep the middle portion of your balcony open. With this layout, you and your guests will have more space to move around in.

Photo from Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily.

Choose the right lights

To create a whimsical effect, use string lights or drape some fairy lights (preferably in a cool white color) on your balcony's ceiling. This will instantly update your area and will give it a more relaxing and dreamy ambiance. You can also add some lanterns for candles on the floor for a more romantic take.

Pick furnishings wisely

Add a small rug and a throw to soften up the area. These must-haves can also make your outdoor space look more inviting.

Make use of various heights for accessories and combine them with other elements to add visual interest. Do not be afraid to use items that are not specifically for the outdoors. You can even add some ladder shelves to display your plants and other décor.

Photo from IKEA.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

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