As apartment dwellers and renters we don't often want to invest a lot in the outdoor space we've got. Adding those lovely (but expensive) pebbles, doing any real hardscaping, etc just isn't practical. But sometimes you really feel like you've got to spruce things up a bit. Here are 4 ideas that won't cost an arm and a leg and are easy to undo when you move.

Being able to make any amount of outdoor space feel like an extension of your apartment will go a long way towards opening up your tiny space. And for those of us with miniscule balconies that never seem to get past the stage of "we could really do something with this space and make it great!" it can be easy to give up on it altogether. But with great weather coming up and this inspiration from Sweden (leave it to the Swedes) you'll be lounging outside in no time.

Yes, we have those terrible white rails on our balcony, too. Those along with the street below and the crisp breeze that's been blowing keeps us from really hanging out on the balcony even though we've got 2 chairs and a little table. So when we ran across these images from Oscars, a Swedish Real Estate company, we felt inspired. By simply wrapping a colored fabric around the balcony, it closes it in, gives the illusion of preppy stripes, offers privacy and blocks the wind from being overbearing. And if you choose a color that's an extension of the palette in the room adjoining the deck/patio/balcony, it will feel like an extension of the space and be much more inviting. And if you've ever been afraid to let your cat out on the balcony this could be a great solution, as long as the fabric is affixed securely in all corners.

We would recommend using a fabric like Sunbrella which can whether and the sun better than regular fabrics. We just bought some on super discount at F & S-- $9/yard. Or you can try out the wind screen that Ikea has as a part of their summer collection.

Now we're wondering if this could work for all of you with those stucco balconies.

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