If you have an apartment with a balcony, but find that it’s the one area of your home that you never spend time in, it’s time to reconsider this potentially fantastic outdoor space. Don’t let the long summer nights and cool summer mornings pass you by—check out these five decorating tips to make your small balcony an al fresco oasis! 1. The Sky’s the Limit! When decorating a balcony, the footprint of your space is often less important than its vertical clearance. In other words, think “tall and slender” as you consider decorating ideas. Soaring bamboo rods in a colorful pot, high-top bar tables with stools, and ladder-style shelving are all interesting design elements that draw the eye up. 2. Color, Color Everywhere Adding pops of color is a sure-fire way to brighten up a bland balcony. Buy inexpensive containers on sale at your local home improvement store or at a yard sale, then use thinned latex paint and do a wash for an aged/weathered look. Add weather-proof cushions and indoor/outdoor colored wicker to complete your fun, hassle free balcony retreat. Have the perfect chair, but it’s covered in a dated, boring, plush fabric? Recovering furniture with bright, weatherproof cloth is a fun and fairly easy project—just search online for video tutorials and you’ll be off and running! 3. Restore, Renew, Reuse Look around your apartment for items you already own that you can introduce to the great outdoors. For example, why not top that stool you never use with a metal tray to convert it into a great side table, or update a metal cart with rust-resistant paint? That champagne bucket you have on top of your fridge? Give it new life as a container for plastic ware or gardening tools! Even inexpensive flea market or yard sale items (or clearance finds at your local home store) can be spruced up with a new coat of paint or a brightly colored outdoor blanket. Get creative! 4. How Does Your Garden Grow? Adding plants to your outdoor space can draw you outside and help you relax as you see your mini-garden take shape and grow. Consider ladder or free standing trellis-mounted gardens using small pots hung with shower hooks (don’t forget to poke holes in the bottom of the pots and water your plants frequently!). If you’re able to splurge, invest in a small balcony umbrella to give your plants (and maybe you, too!) a needed break from the sun and heat. 5. Get Your Zen On Today you can find small bubbling fountains for less than $30 or discover fantastic DIY projects online that use garden pots or other fun and funky containers as a base. So if your balcony has an electrical outlet, consider turning your space into an outdoor oasis. No electricity? No problem! Create a tabletop zen garden with a peaceful statue, flowering plant and colorful rock collection you can rearrange in a tray as you practice mindfulness—you can even play peaceful music on your phone for added relaxation. So what are you waiting for? Get outside today and create a balcony oasis that will help you make the most of your outdoor space.