9 Balcony Privacy Ideas For Small Apartments (That Double As Cute Decor)

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A balcony can add much comfort to a small apartment, particularly in the summer months. In winter, being cooped up in a small space can feel nice and cozy. But when it’s hot and sunny outside? Depressing AF. 

But a little space outside can provide some reprieve when you want to catch the sun but feel lazy to go to the park/beach/some public outdoor space. 

Privacy, however, can be hard to come by in apartment balconies. But there are ways that you can make your outdoor space a little less exposed to your nosy neighbors. Here are some ideas:

1. Plants 

Beautiful modern terrace with a lot of flowers and herbs

Are there any instances where plants don’t elevate your small space? Plants can make your space feel so cozy, whether it’s strategically placed little succulents near your windowsills or a big-ass monstera (or fiddle leaf fig) in the corner.

It can also add privacy to your balcony. Think big plants in planter boxes, or a trellis structure.

Now, depending on the balcony design, you might be unable to shield your entire balcony from nosy neighbors, particularly if you live in those multi-story apartment buildings and there are people who live above you. However, it can shield you from peeps on your floor, those below you, or passersby. 

2. Foldable dividers

Foldable dividers aren’t just great for separating your bedroom and living room/kitchen in studio apartments, they can also make your balconies more private if you don’t want to commit to a permanent solution, don’t have a green thumb, or just can’t be bothered installing things.

Another thing about foldable dividers is that you can opt for many options—whatever materials, patterns, or look fits your fancy. You can even mix and match if that’s your style. 

3. Privacy screen 

A privacy screen is also an option if you want a heavy-duty option. Depending on your preferences and budget, there are various options, from canvas to plastic.

However, there is one downside of a privacy screen. They can work a little too well, in that they have the potential to block out sunlight. 

4. Outdoor curtains 

Another option (if your balcony’s structure allows) is to install an outdoor curtain. With curtains, you can choose your materials depending on how much sunlight you want to come through. (Yes, you can let the sunlight by opening the curtains, but then you wouldn’t get privacy and this whole article would be pointless). 

Anyhow, if you want some privacy while you’re sitting outside, but you don’t want to block the light, you can opt for curtains made out of sheer materials. On the other hand, if you don’t care about blocking sunlight and you care more about privacy (because a sheer curtain will still give some visibility) and the curtain standing up in all sorts of weather, then you’re probably going to have to opt for one made out of thicker materials.

5. Tent/Gazebo 

If your balcony is big enough, another way to guarantee total privacy is to put a tent or a gazebo on your balcony. Of course, some might argue that it kind of defeats the purpose of having an outdoor space in the first place. Personally, I say you do you.

Unless there are some rules against putting tent or Gazebo on your balcony, you can opt for anything from a camping-style tent, to an open-style gazebo.

6. Bamboo fence 

If you want the privacy screen effect but want something that looks a little different, you might want to consider bamboo fences. It can act like a privacy screen, but with a slightly different aesthetic. 

7. Retractable awnings 

If you want a Gazebo effect (but don’t want to buy an install a whole Gazebo in your balcony), you can opt for a retractable awning.

Because their primary purpose is shade protection, they act more as a balcony cover. However, you can get diagonal ones which will provide some privacy cover. 

8.Tinted glass railings 

If you would prefer to make minimal change to your balcony (at least from an aesthetic standpoint, since this next option will require some sort of installation), installing a tinted glass railing might be a great option to consider. 

9. Hanging rugs 

Finally, if you want to use what you might already have lying around, you can simply hang rugs over your balcony. Even draping it over your balcony fence can give you a little bit more privacy, or you can take it a step further and hang it from opposite walls (if your balcony allows for it).