If you own a holiday rental apartment, you may be looking for ways to maximise the outdoor space to enhance your guests’ experience. In this post, we cover a few safety points and general considerations, deco ideas and suggestions for how to make the most out of your balcony space.
Read on to discover top apartment balcony ideas for your holiday rental...
1. Safety & General Considerations
Safety and Regulations
Balconies are a prevalent feature and are definitely a huge plus for guests booking holiday rental apartments. However, safety and local regulations have to be considered before plans are set in stone.
Before anything, ensure you have the correct planning permission to build a balcony and that it adheres to all local regulations and safety measures. In France for example, the Copropriété regime applies to most apartment buildings and may enforce certain rules which owners should be aware of before planning any build projects.
Some agreements may prohibit the use of barbecues on balconies and some weight restrictions may mean it’s not possible to add features such as hot tubs, for example.
From a safety point of view, there are strict regulations when it comes to the spacing and height of walls and panels to ensure no one is at risk of falling or children are not able to climb the balcony wall.
Make sure you consider your neighbours if your rental apartment has a balcony which is accessible to guests. Politely request that your guests keep noise to a minimum after a certain time, respect those around them and that factors such as light pollution don’t become an issue for fellow owners.
How will the weather effect the way you set up your balcony?
Rain can of course cause water damage and items such as cushions and soft furnishings will need to be easily covered or moved elsewhere.
If located in a very cold climate such as the French Alps, you’ll need to make sure your balcony is snow cleared regularly so that guests can still enjoy it when the sun is out.
Similarly, items that could be blown away by high winds should be well secured if there is a storm, and remember some fabrics may fade in the sun or metal items can become very hot to the touch. So, ensure that you provide cushions for metal chairs or consider wooden furniture if your balcony is in the sun all day.
Plan ahead! Keep in mind that whatever you buy for your balcony either has to stay outside or needs to be stored somewhere throughout the winter.
2. Outdoor seating space
Obviously you need to use the space you have as creatively as possible. Ideally, guests should be able to sit or sunbathe outside and eat or drink in a separate area.
If you’re pushed for space, you might need to prioritise what you can offer your guests more carefully. What do you think your guests would prefer? To eat outside, or to sit and enjoy the sun and view? You know your target audience best!
If you’re struggling to add items such s coffee tables, why not consider adding some small shelves to the balcony wall for guests to place their drinks? Guests should be discouraged from balancing anything on the handrail of the balcony, as this can be extremely dangerous if it gets knocked off.
If your apartment is based somewhere where the weather is temperamental, perhaps prioritising an outdoor seating space where someone can sit and have a coffee is better than leaving deckchairs for sunbathing.
Suspended chairs can be a great option for balconies as they’re great for lounging, plus they’re a great focal point! Benches also work well as they are long and thin, so often work well on a narrow rectangular balcony.
Providing a hammock which can be easily put up/taken down and stored away is another great idea for guests. Of course, consider safety here – ensure the hammock swings below the height of the balcony wall at all times.
While it might not always be permissible to use a barbecue, you may be allowed to use a form of an electric griddle for al fresco dining. If you decide on this option, make sure there is an outdoor electric socket available for guests and instructions on how to use the appliance.
Even if guests aren’t able to cook outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t eat outside, providing there’s enough space for them to do so. To make things easier for your guests, remember to provide some trays for transporting food and drink from the inside out.
Finally, leaving a picnic set for guests to use outside or even to take on day trips is always a great idea!
Portable lamps with dimmer switches can be a great idea, so guests can move them around where they please. You can choose from small tabletop models or larger floor lamps depending on how much room you have to play with on your balcony, plus this is a much more sustainable option if you choose a low wattage bulb. Either battery or rechargeable models are available.
We would also recommend fitting some form of fixed lighting to help make sure your balcony stays evenly lit – just make sure guests know where to find the switch!
Fairy lights are always a great lighting option to make the outdoor space look more inviting. They don’t cost much to buy and are easily found in most homeware shops, plus they can be put up quickly and without any DIY hassle! Make sure you purchase ones suitable for the outdoors, such as solar-powered sets.
Be mindful of your neighbours at night when it comes to light pollution. Sometimes, opting for a small lamp or candle may be a good choice – but do check your building’s regulations about candles and open flames.
If you aren’t permitted to light candles on your balcony, then electric or battery-operated candles placed inside lanterns can provide a lovely ambience.
Outdoor heating is something that is becoming increasingly regulated due to carbon emissions. In France, since April 2022, they are banned in public spaces due to the negative environmental impact.
But, for a more sustainable option, why not provide thick throws and blankets for guests to use? These can add a decorative element as well as improve guests’ comfort.
Whilst your balcony may be bathed in sunlight throughout the day, be aware that the temperature drops massively when the sun goes down, especially in mountainous regions.
Encourage guests to pack accordingly, so they can make the most of your balcony but still stay warm in the evening.
Plants help to bring life to balconies and outdoor spaces! Below are some ideas of what to add and how to maintain plants at your holiday rental apartment…
Window boxes are another great option, as they don’t take up space on the balcony itself. Using them to grow some herbs for guests to help themselves to is a lovely personal touch.
Wall-mounted hanging baskets can also be a good idea because they don’t take up any floor space.
Maintaining Your Plants
Automatic irrigation systems are an option in some cases, however, you will need to rely on your property management team to remove the dead heads from the flowers and generally maintain the planted areas of your balcony.
6. Soft Textiles
Cushions not only provide comfort and protection against hot metal chairs or splintery wooden furniture but also bring colour and texture to your apartment’s balcony! When it comes to maintaining soft textiles on your balcony, make sure there’s somewhere to store them/something to cover them with in case of rain and launder/replace them when needed.
Again, bringing colour and texture to your balcony, outdoor rugs can be a fun addition – as well as a way to protect your guests’ feet from splinters or hot surfaces.
Some apartments will have a wall already built in to provide privacy, however, others may be lacking any form of isolation.
If your balcony is more exposed than you’d like it to be, install roller blinds, which when dropped create a visual barrier, and give more privacy to guests when they are using the balcony space. Living plant screens can also provide both colour and privacy.
Again, you will need to check the regulations of your building before adding any form of screening as there can be strict rules on uniformity.
8. Sun Protection
Depending on which direction your balcony faces, you will need to strongly consider protecting your guests from the sun for their safety and comfort.
If your balcony is big enough, you may want to purchase a parasol for shade. Alternatively, retractable awnings can be an option for smaller spaces as they don’t take up any floor space.
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