How to Turn Your Balcony Into a Private Sanctuary - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


How to Turn Your Balcony Into a Private Sanctuary

(Note: I linked to the products we used via and, if you buy them,
the affiliate fee will go to helping women in need become entrepreneurs.)


The 21st-century city girl works hard and plays hard. Because of this, she needs a spot to unwind, relax and gather her thoughts at the end of the daily grind. What better place to do that than the balcony of her urban apartment?? A little decor and a few necessities can turn any balcony into a sanctuary fit for a queen.

How to Turn Your Balcony Into a Private Sanctuary

What I did with my balcony. You can do it too – it’s easy!

Here’s a step-by-step account (with photos and links) of how, in one weekend, I transformed the ugliest part of our New York City apartment into my favorite place to hang out:

Green It Up

There are many aesthetic and psychological reasons to use a lot of green in your relaxation area. Settings with a lot of green reduce ADHD symptoms and help people concentrate better. In fact, researchers at the University of Rochester found that glimpses of green enhanced overall creativity. Green also promotes balance, as it is the color at the center of the color spectrum.

The more natural-looking green in your visual radius, the more your brain will place you in a state of relaxation and contentment.

How to Turn Your Balcony Into a Private Sanctuary

With the ivy already up, we rolled out the artificial grass — what a difference!

Here are four great ways to green up your patio and turn it into a tropical paradise:

  1. Carpet the floor of your patio with realistic-looking faux grass, which will trick your mind into thinking you’re in a park.
  2. Cover your walls and railings with this weather-resistant faux ivy privacy screens to give you – yup – privacy (imagine that — in the city!!) and green up the walls.
  3. Try adding more coverage, making it look more lush and real, by layering it with other faux vines and faux flowering vines.
  4. Add a few tropical silk potted plants, particularly those that contain faux flowers and a couple of faux trees. We prefer the tropical style, like this 4.5-foot faux tree and this faux banana tree, but you could also opt for English garden style, like this rosemary spiral tree and this boxwood tree, but make sure to stick them in a nice pot.
How to Turn Your Balcony Into a Private Sanctuary

More faux ivy to layer over the ivy privacy screens

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A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.


  1. Joss Butler

    After reading your article, I want to clean my balcony and renovate it. It inspires me a lot. Does that make me less masculine?? Lol.

  2. Sibel Jenkinson

    I wish cats, and birds were compatible with each other. I want to have a bird feeder, but I have a cat too.

  3. Cries Moris

    Stackable chairs? I need those at my apartment. Unstackable chairs eat lots of space at my apartment.

  4. Allen Kathleen

    I love you, Hilary. Your articles are inspiring even for us, men. You are an indeed talented person.

  5. Martin Juyes

    I hate green. I don’t know, but I hate green. Whenever I see green items, it hurts my eyes.

  6. James Hannks

    Thank you, Urbanette. I’ll do this on our balcony as an anniversary gift to my wife. She will love it.

  7. Kathryn Gibson

    Hmm.. Why put faux plants when you can plant the real ones? It’s made from plastic, and you are claiming yourself a nature lover?

  8. Monique Malick

    My friends will love this! We always have our quality time each week. We can ditch the bar and coffee shop for this.

  9. Lind Vajra

    After a long tiring day at work, you need to comfort yourself. This space will help you in that. Good music, light, and view. What an amazing way to relax after work, isn’t it?

  10. Blanche Martina

    I like how you spruce up your balcony. I’m no good when it comes to decorating, but you inspire me, Hilary. Yikes!

  11. Osana Smith

    A glass of wine, plus good music. I like how you design your balcony. I want to have a balcony like that.

  12. Candis Melton

    I love your balcony, Hilary! I super love it. I wish I have a talent like that. You are a great designer!

  13. Carol Joyner

    My girlfriend would be happy if she sees this post. She’s a fan of yours, and she admires you a lot. If she knows that you are good in designing, she will admire you more.

  14. Olive Williams

    The color green relaxes your mind. If you are stressed, it can reduce the stress that you are feeling.

  15. Wilma Moore

    I like to hear the birds singing every morning. It’s like a music to my ears, and it relaxes me.

  16. Kelly Gonzales

    OMG! I like this article. It helps me in my renovating. I have no idea what to do on my balcony, and reading your article helps me to decorate it.

  17. Hm.. It is romantic to hang out n a balcony like this with your partner. Instead of going out for a fancy dinner, it is a great option for a date.

  18. Kimberly Holder

    I like to hang out in a place where you can hear good music. The idea of having a Bluetooth speaker is a bright idea.

  19. Rosetta Armendariz

    My girlfriend will love this article. We are planning to rent an apartment with balcony, and she loves to decorate things.

  20. Marina Josef

    Rock speaker? OMG! I want that one. Is that rechargeable, or you need to plug it? We can use it in any outdoor activities that we have.

  21. Luthi Sanders

    I like your balcony, Hilary. You’re such a talented person. How can you do all those things? You are very lucky to have that kind of talent.

  22. Eloisa Clay

    I still have our old Christmas lights, can I use that as a replacement for the lighting stuff?

    • I prefer 100% pearl-white lights. You could use the cord and replace the bulbs with white ones…

  23. Katherine Donnelly

    My husband and I are planning to renovate our balcony. It is our hangout place, and we want to spruce it up.

  24. Kseniya Tomlin

    I like the idea of having a space like this. Most of the time, balconies are boring. You did such a great job on your balcony.

  25. Sherry Manust

    Seriously? Why would hang a bird feeder if you know you have cats at home? A cat person knows if it’s safe for their cats, or not.

    • Mildred Davis

      That is why she put bird spikes to protect the birds from the cats. Duh… 😀

    • We thought the bird feeder was high enough… and it was… the problem is that a bird got into our apartment while we were away. 🙁

  26. Alena Martin

    I’m going to relocate in of the apartments in NYC, and it has a balcony too. Thank God you posted something like this.

  27. Patricia Montague

    OMG! I would love to hang out in a place like this. With good music as well. YAAAAS! I’m excited to redecorate our balcony this weekend.

  28. Carrie Bleau

    Aw.. Birds are singing every morning. I like that. Sadly, you have a cat in your apartment, and luckily I don’t have. Lol

  29. Dawn Katz

    Wow. I can imagine unwinding in a place like this. It is relaxing, and it will calm my soul. I like it very much. Thanks to Urbanette for sharing an article like this.

  30. Evelyn Harris

    Hmmmm.. I don’t think I can put a balcony like this in NYC. The pollution??? Instead of breathing fresh air, you can breathe pollution.

    • Jurik Smith

      I totally agree with you. I don’t think I’ll put something like this on my balcony. I can only breathe pollution.

      • You’re right — but it’s better than nothing! We found that ours got covered in black dust and needed to be cleaned regularly.

  31. Jeweli Prater

    Having a place like this when you are upset can lessen the pressure that you are feeling. It is true that the color green can help your brain to function well.

    • Ani Hoker

      I agree. A place like this will help you to unwind. The color green will help you to calm your brain and reduces the pressure in your mind.

  32. George Sumanta

    I love color green! Can I do this in my room? I don’t have a balcony, but I want to have a place like this. I will try this in my room.

    • You could do it in a sunroom… I think it’s really best on a balcony, terrace, or roof though.

  33. Jesse Wyss

    I admire you a lot, Hilary. I like your style, the way you decorate your balcony. I have cats too, I’m afraid I can’t have singing birds on my balcony.

  34. Nataliya Smith

    I am in need of this kind of place. OMG! You are such a creative person, Hilary. I like your idea.

  35. Zerin Martin

    Having a place where you can unwind is important. Going out with friends, just to have coffee will just cost you. If you have a balcony like this, you will ditch the coffee shops, and you will just stay at home.

    • Marina Bozek

      I don’t think you’ll ditch coffee shops because of this. The ambiance at the coffee shop and the ambiance at your balcony are different. Lol

  36. Jessie Fernande

    Oh, I have a cushion from CushionPros. Their products are high quality. I highly recommend them.

  37. Selli Coaze

    I can’t believe that there’s a place like this in NYC! I want to have that kind of balcony too.

    • Angelo Henderso

      Me too! I want to have that kind of balcony. Hilary is such an artist. How can she do something like this? I envy you.

  38. Betty Campbell

    Where can I buy those faux vines and trees? I want to renovate my balcony too. Did your renovation cost much? I hope it didn’t!

    • Juli Woods

      Google it. Try Amazon or Ebay, or any stores that sell home decoration.

  39. Josephine Murphy

    I agree with you. I love greens! I like nature because it calms me. I like your idea, Hilary.

    • Jennifer varner

      My nephew has ADHD… that’s how I learned that green reduces ADHD. This color is great for people who suffer psychological problems.

  40. Ana Brose

    I’m glad you posted something like this. Who would have thought that you could have something like this? It’s incredible.

    • Frances Shapiro

      I totally agree with you. I can’t imagine putting something like this, especially in NYC. I’m impressed with the creativity of Hilary.

  41. Hena Taylor

    Yes, I agree! You should post more articles about DIY. You have such a great talent, share it with us!

  42. Lusi Martin

    It’s also better if you put real flowers there. Is that even possible to grow flowers in NYC? lol.

    • I have a black thumb, which is why I like fakes ones! (Plus, they stay green all year)

  43. Jessi Agusta

    Seeing the pictures of your balcony makes me want to redecorate mine. You’re indeed talented, wish that I have the skills too. Lol.

  44. Honey Smith

    I admire you, Hilary. Keep up the good work, and keep inspiring us, women.

  45. Bela Christo

    I will share this with my housemate. We are planning to decorate our balcony, and this gives us some fantastic ideas. 🙂

  46. Anila William

    I will share this article with my wife. Pretty sure, she’ll love your ideas.

  47. Cristina Joseff

    Listening to music while chilling at your beautiful balcony. Hmm.. I imagined how relaxing is that.

  48. Nancy Smith

    Can I use our old Christmas lights? I’m having a second thought about buying new light if I can use our old Christmas lights.

    • Someone else asked the same question, actually! I hadn’t thought of it, but you could… just replace the bulbs with white (or green and white??)

  49. Maria Bruce

    Hammock chair! I would love to read books in that chair. I’m excited to renovate my balcony this weekend!

  50. Quin Meri

    I suggest, instead of buying new furniture, you can just use the old ones. You can save money from that.

    • Yup, you could try Craigslist or other sites that sell used furniture. Just remember that it’ll get wet and needs to be able to drain, so you need furniture made for the outdoors.

  51. Robert Patel

    I want to do this on my balcony too. But I don’t have any idea because it’s a girl stuff. Can someone help me with this?

    • Ha! Lots of interior designers are men 😉 Just follow my instructions — it’s easy!

  52. Britni Baynes

    The before and after picture amazed me. How can you do that? That’s a gift from God! Can you renovate mine too? Lol, just kidding.

  53. Jeweli Prater

    I can totally live in this balcony! Your balcony is spectacular. I wish I was talented as you, but I’m not. Lol

  54. Lancy Stanford

    I’ll use your article as an inspiration. I am in need of spot like this one. A greener place, for a healthy mind. I like that idea of yours.

  55. Paul Daiz

    My wife did this on our balcony. I like the idea of having this kind of spot at home. Perfect place to relax after work.

  56. Can you believe it? There’s something like this in NYC? Having this kind of balcony is better if you have a great view of NYC.

  57. Lana Wiliam

    Oh, you’ll remove the bird feeder? How sad. It’s nice to have birds singing in your balcony every morning.

    • I know!! I was disappointed too! Better to be safe though.. I’d hate for a bird to get hurt!

  58. Jodi Thil

    Yes, yes, yes! My favorite color is green! I so love green! I will do this on our balcony.

  59. Jenifer Jeni

    Whoa, I love your balcony! I’ll start renovating ours too. I never thought that our balcony could be my favorite spot at home.

  60. Jeni Morgan

    Wow! What an astounding balcony you have there, Hillary. You have a talent when it comes to decorating.

  61. It can be hard to find some privacy if you live in the city. I really like your tip about using lots of green on your balcony like faux ivy screens. It can be really nice to have a space to unwind after work. I’ll have to remember your tips if I ever move to the city and have a balcony. Thanks.

  62. Are you doing this as a side job?? You can definitely do my balcony! 😀

  63. Love the new balcony decor…it’s super creative to take an urban space and transform it into your own mini outdoor oasis. When I get my first apartment, I’ll definitely keep this in mind. (And share with my NYC friends!)

  64. Christine Muchoe

    I’m so jealous! It looks amazing, especially with the lights. I wish I had a balcony to do this with!

  65. …or you could just move to LA and have a backyard for the same $$. Just sayin’, honey. 😉

    • Gabrielle Williams

      Who wouldn’t want to have that option open? 🙂

  66. wow, that’s so cool! i never pictured a balcony in NYC with so much greenery. Low maintenance too. I may have to find someone on taskrabbit to hook that up. Summer party, here we come!

  67. Gorgeous! Please publish more DIY articles. I love how you link to where we can buy each thing you used, too. Makes it so much easier!

  68. OMG you are so talented! I love the before and after – such a difference! I’m going to share this with my friends who have balconies and order some new cushions for my patio furniture ASAP. (Love the fabric you chose and those cushions look super high-end).

  69. Gabrielle Williams

    Fantastic transformation, Hilary! Thank you very much for sharing your ideas!

    There are also some areas in my house that I would like to change or improve but most of the time, I’m having a hard time, I don’t know where and how to start.

  70. This is amazing, Hilary! You make it sound so easy as well. I’m certain we won’t have a difficult time doing this DIY project. I have some areas around the house I want to improve as well. Thanks for the ideas 😀

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