Decorating a small porch or small balcony on a budget

Outdoor living on a small porch or balcony may provide a view of city life or a rural landscape where you can enjoy the beauty of twilight, the fragrance of flowers, a cool summer breeze, or the sounds of nature, even if that means shutting out city noise. Turn your small porch or balcony into a comfortable outdoor retreat for two with inexpensive outdoor furniture and extras that reflect your style.

Comfortable Seating for Two. To fit a tight budget, look for outdoor furniture made of durable metal or synthetic material that mimics wicker or wood. A set that includes two arm chairs, seat cushions, and a small side table may be the best answer. Place the table between the two chairs along the wall, or place the chairs at right angles (one each by the wall and railing) with the table in the corner to create a cozy seating area. For a very small porch or balcony, choose a bistro set of small table and two chairs like shown above. Price range: $150 to $250.

Floor. Add color to the floor or create cozy seating area mimicking indoor living using a small rug designed for outdoor use like those made of synthetic fibers that resist mildew. Price: 2 by 4 feet, less than $20; 5 by 7 feet, about $60.

Lighting. Bring romantic light to a small porch or balcony without having to hire an electrician to install new lights. When an outdoor electric outlet is available, run double strings of lights, the kind used for Christmas trees, along the railing to plug in at night. Solar lights are another option. Charge solar lights in a sunny location on the porch or balcony. Solar lights come on stakes that can be removed for use on a table top at night. Leave the stakes attached and group an odd number of solar lights in a tall container, like a large flower vase, urn or decorative metal wastebasket, to give a soft glow at night. Price: string lights, less that $25; solar lights, around $8 each.

Wall Art. Combine whimsy and functionality with a clock or thermometer sporting a festive background. An all-weather wreath or wall mounted hook for a hanging plant add a touch of nature. Price range: $5 to $20.