Not all of us are lucky to have a nice balcony with stunning view. Your balcony can be surrounded by ugly buildings, walls or even construction. You have no idea to hide the bad view or it’s a rental house/ apartment and it’s difficult for you change anything without getting in trouble with the landlord.
To hide a bad balcony view, you can “build your own wall” with nice decorations. Hang curtains and/or plants with tension rod to avoid damaging the wall and ceiling. Alternatively, you can cover the balcony with a bamboo or faux ivy fence. Turning the balcony into a sun room is another option.
These specific ways to hide bad view can apply to many types of balcony. Below I will provide some tips and décor ideas are useful for any balcony. Keep reading to find out more information.
Before installing anything at your balcony, you should define what you want from the balcony besides hiding a bad view. If you still want to enjoy the natural breeze, curtain or fence is ideal option. In case you also want to stay away from noise, insect, dust etc. turning the balcony into a sunroom is a good option. Here are some popular ways with their pros and cons.
01 of 05 Curtains
Hanging beautiful curtains don’t only hide a bad view but also turn your balcony into a cozy place for relaxing. Besides helping you hide a bad view, curtains can prevent UV from sunlight and curious eyes from making it onto your balcony.
Typical materials are chiffon/voile, cotton, velvet, silk, bamboo, polyester or polypropylene fabric. Those materials work well outdoors. There are 3 ways to hang curtains on your balcony: galvanized pipes (if you don’t mind drilling holes), a tension rod (no need for drilling) or exterior rope. Of course you will need a wall on both sides if you want to utilize this method.
Pros of Curtains:
- Doesn’t take much time to install and replace. A tension rod is the easiest way.
- Variety of choices of color, style. This makes it easy to find curtains that fit your balcony.
- Washable material to keep your balcony always look nice
Cons of Curtains:
- Some materials are not waterproof and durable under sunlight or rain so pick the right material if you would like to leave the curatians up during rain
- Need to be washed regularly as some types of fabric like chiffon will absorb dust, grow mildew or stain and they are not easy to clean if you don’t do it often.
02 of 05 Plants
You can hang plants and/or having tall plants cover the balcony’s fence and view. It depends on the size of your balcony and which plants you choose how many plants you need.
Here are top hanging plants and tall/climbing plants you can use:
Tall/climbing plants: There are plenty of types of tall plants which you can put on the balcony but please check 3 things: 1.) how much space you have. 2.) how big plants can grow up to be. 3.) what these plants need to grow properly.
- Hollyhocks: Can grow up to 12 feet high and need wind and sunlight. They provide flowers with variety of colors which can improve the view and atmosphere on your balcony as well as decoration and privacy. You can plant them in pots and they grow well from May until September.
- Bamboo: You can plant bamboo in pots or container. they are an ideal choice for small size balcony because they can achieve tall heights in small area. Bamboo grows all year round. But the best time for planting bamboo is spring. Let them become established and hard before putting them on the balcony in the winter.
- Arborvitae: These can be planted in a container and grow up to 1 foot per year. They need nutrient rich soil, full sun or partial shade. Early spring is the best time to plant to let their roots establish and grow in winter. At 1 foot a year it’ll take a while to get full coverage so consider buying bigger ones from the garden center.
- Boxwood: These are a perfect container plant. They’re always green and look healthy even in winter but they grow very slowly and don’t like wind. They prefer sunlight or light shade and to be planted in spring.
- Snake Plant: They can grow up to four or five feet tall but grow slowly. They need full sun or low light, prefer to be planted in spring before adapting with winter.
Hanging plants: Similar to tall plants, make sure you find the suitable one for your balcony to avoid wasting time and money. You can use a tension rod to hang plants close to roof of your balcony but avoid windy places. The other way is by using hanging baskets for plants which will require drilling. Make sure your plants and pots won’t fall out from the balcony to prevent your plants from hitting someone. Compared to tall plants, there are many more choices of hanging plants for a balcony. Here are some of the best options but this is not an exhaustive list.
- Sedum Morganianum (Donkey’s Tail): they grow up well in a pot with soil, full sun or partial shade. They don’t like cold climate so in winter they will ‘die’ but return in spring.
- Pothos: They don’t need direct sunlight but they do well in low light and bright places. A pothos will freeze in the winter and come back in the spring.
- String of Pearls: You can plant them on a balcony but you need to avoid them from getting direct midday sun. So if you only have morning or late afternoon sun on your balcony, this is a good option. During winter, they will die back. In a warm climate, they will grow fast up to 12 feet. There few types of strings for you to choose such as Banana/ Dolphin/ Nickels/ Turtles/ Hearts. That might not sound like a plant but it is.
- Air Plants (Tillandsia): There are hundreds of types of Tillandsia. These unique plants don’t need soil or water. In warm conditions, you can hang them outside. Some types can grow up to 3 feet in 3 – 5 years.
- Petunias: These plants need at least 4 hours full of sunlight a day and are fairly high maintenance to grow up to 2 -3 feet. They offer different color of flowers and bloom from spring until frost.
- Trailing Pansies: They prefer a spot which can provide sunlight at least 6 hours a day and they have to be watered 2 times per day. They can last up to 6 – 8 months so have to be replaced regularly.
Pros of Plants:
- Some types of plants can absorb toxins, purify the air, reduce carbon dioxide and provide oxygen
- Plants may help to increase your creativity, reduce your tress and boost your mood
- Plants can increasing humidity, cool down air temperature
Cons of Plants:
- You have to spend time and money to take care them. In case you are far from home for few days, you need to ask for help from plant-sitter.
- Plants need time to grow up and you need time to learn how to take care of them if you don’t have much experience in gardening
- Plants will attract some types of bugs. Some are nice like butterflies but there can also be some unwanted guests.
03 of 05 Bamboo fence
Bamboo fencing is easy to install and their clean surface and simple appearance can bring a fresh look to your balcony. You can combine this fence with some small hanging plants for a fresh and/or tropical atmosphere. You can get it in different heights so get the height you need to block the view.
Bamboo blocks out a lot of light which is good for blocking the view both ways. At the same time it still lets a good amount of fresh air through.
Pros of Bamboo fence:
- Eco-friendly material as bamboo can be harvested and grows back like grass.
- Durable: Can survive during all seasons of the year
- Increases privacy for your balcony
- Blocks most of the view
- Blocks UV light
Cons of Bamboo fence:
- Limited choices for color and size
- Quite expensive compare to other fence types
- Can rot with a lot of excess moisture
04 of 05 Faux Ivy fence
Artificial ivy leaves (or other artificial plants) on a fence can bring a fresh look to your balcony. It doesn’t need time for care like real plants, can be used to décorate and hide a bad view from your balcony. It still allow sunlight and air go through your balcony. You can combine this fence with plants. If your real plants are still small, use some artificial ones to cover the gaps.
Pros of Faux Ivy fence:
- Cheap and easy to install
- Provides privacy
- Durable material: They’re made from plastic which barely deteriorates but can discolor.
- Doesn’t attract bugs or insects like plants
Cons of Faux Ivy fence:
- Artificial leaves are made from polyester which is not an eco-friendly material
- Looks fake and can burn
05 of 05 Sunroom
A sunroom is basically an enclosed balcony. You leave the normal outside wall of the house but where the fence of the balcony was you build another wall creating a separate room. You can use large glass panes for a really wide view but since we’re trying to hide this view, that might not be the best option. However, you can include blinds and other things in the renovation so you still have the light of big windows but don’t have to see what’s out there.
This is the last option and I have no doubt it is the most expensive way to hide a bad balcony view. But if your balcony is big and you would like turn your balcony into a place with a different function, it will be an ideal choice. The price of this renovation will depend on size, design and furniture you would like to add. And by adding square footage onto your home, your property taxes may be increase. In some cases you’ll need a permit as well. Make sure to check your local laws.
Pros of Sunroom:
- Easy to décorate the wall/windows to hide a bad view with curtains, blinds etc.
- Enjoy sunlight while it’s cold outside or relax in warm and cozy place while it’s raining and snowing
- Protect yourself from bugs, insects, dust and noise
Cons of Sunroom:
- A much more expensive solution than the other alternatives.
- Usually requires a planning permission before enclosing your balcony
- Takes time to build and decorate.
- Not available for a rental house or apartment