Decorating a Small, Urban Balcony by Mandy of Fabric Paper Glue

Posted by: on April 15th, 2013 | 19 Comments
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In our Style Challenge series, we ask some of our favorite bloggers from around the web to surprise us with their ideas for creating a stylish and functional space using Home Depot products as a starting point.

For our Adirondack Challenge, we asked Mandy of Fabric Paper Glue to share her small patio decorating ideas using an Adirondack chair as the basis of her space. Read how she transformed an otherwise boring small balcony into a beautiful outdoor space with color and purpose.

For me, an Adirondack chair elicits thoughts of relaxation — whether I imagine a pair of them facing a serene ocean view or a set of four surrounding a cozy fire.

You know what absolutely doesn’t make me think relaxation? My friend Jillian’s small balcony.

Exhibit A:

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: A bland, colorless small balcony


Sure, a balcony around Washington, D.C., is a luxury, but like most of the balconies in this city, it’s small and bland. My mission? Bringing purpose and style to this space.

Luckily, I had ideas brewing just waiting for a blank slate like this one. The first of these percolating ideas was a reading nook — a perfect use of an Adirondack in a small space, if I do say so. It’s one of those home features that warms my little book-lovin’ heart, but unfortunately falls off the list of must-haves in my own 600-square-foot floor plan. My second idea was stripes. My veracious love of bold, black-and-white striped fabric shouldn’t surprise a soul who follows my blog (see my posts about a striped tote, a striped document envelope, another striped tote, and a striped clutch), yet it’s simply not a pattern that would work with my own home decor. You can read some more about my inspiration in a post I wrote about an urban bookish balcony.

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An "Urban Booksih Balcony" with an Adirondack chair, patterned outdoor rug, striped pillows and herb garden

Well, folks, not only is this balcony everything that my stripey-reading-nook dreams were make of, it’s also got some other pretty fantastic patterns, a little luxe lighting, a few lush greens, a handful of pretty pink flowers and … GOLD!

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: Adirondack chair in Behr's chlorophyll green and a striped throw pillow


One of my favorite parts of working with the Adirondack chair was the fact that I could customize it. I went with Behr’s Premium Plus exterior paint in Chlorophyll, and I’ve gotta say that I think I kinda knocked it out of the park with my choice. It adds some extra green to give the space a lush outdoor feel, while providing the perfect backdrop for my beloved striped fabric. If you’re looking to paint your own Adirondack, give yourself a break and paint it before you put it together.


Small Patio Decorating Ideas: Image showing how to create DIY rope plant stand


In addition to sewing up the floor pillows, I also knocked out a couple of DIY projects to bring some unique details to the space. The first (and my favorite) was the striped plant stand. This project was as easy as wrapping a super cheap nursery pot in black and white rope. I started at the lip of the pot using some hot glue along the way and finishing it up with a nice little spiral into the center of the bottom.


Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An herb garden with DIY ombre plant markers


My other DIY was a charming little herb planter with some ombre markers. I combined a few herb plants into a nice, substantial ceramic planter and whipped up the markers using craft paint, a dab of wood glue, some wooden skewers, and — believe it or not — wood biscuits.


Small Patio Decorating Ideas: Bright pink flowers against an outdoor rug with a geometric pattern

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An outdoor rug with striped throw pillows, a green Adirondack chair and flowers


I’m still sort of reeling over how lovely the stark black and white patterns work with the bright green and the feminine florals.


Small Patio Decorating Ideas: A small balcony decorated with bright colors and bold patterns


I’m glad I made those floor pillows for guests, because I have a feeling I might be visiting Jillian and her relaxing balcony a little more this spring. If you want to follow along with all my other crafty adventures, be sure to hop over to my blog — Fabric Paper Glue.

By day, Mandy is a Washington bureaucrat (and proud of it). At night and on the weekends, she’s a lover and creator of handsome crafts, delightful beverages, and fun stuff. Fabric Paper Glue is about all this evening/weekend stuff. And she does it all from a 603-square-foot condo that she shares with her husband, Michael, and their cat, Pete. 

To create her small patio decorating ideas, Mandy started with an Unfinished Adirondack Patio Chair from The Home Depot.

For more outdoor decorating inspiration, see other Patio Style Challenges as well as our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest.

Style Challenge is a series of posts from guest contributors who aim to bring you fresh inspiration and ideas for your home and garden using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. Mandy received the Adirondack chair from The Home Depot and a gift card, but The Home Depot provided no other compensation. The opinions and ideas Mandy expressed are her own.


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  1. Natalia Ortiz says:

    I love the Moroccan style lanterns and the gold ceramic stand. Where did you get these please?

  2. [...] DIY ideas and other fun stuff on her blog Fabric Paper Glue. Take a look at the colorful small urban balcony she styled for a friend in her previous Patio Style Challenge. She lives with her husband in [...]

  3. [...] Urban Balcony Ideas from Mandy, Fabric Paper Glue [...]

  4. [...] of Fabric Paper Glue, combined black and white, geometric, and floral patterns with this happy, intense green adirondack chair and reading nook. Mandy’s beautiful plant selection repeats the green theme and creates the illusion of a [...]

  5. [...] up a smaller space, Adirondack chairs are a great solution for a relaxed and laid back vibe. For a small urban setting where space is limited, grab a couple of these loungers and add a small table for a drink, a snack [...]

  6. [...] design on her blog Fabric, Paper, Glue. She lives with her husband in Nashville. Take a look at how she styled a small apartment balcony in a previous Style Challenge here on The Home Depot [...]

  7. [...] image credit and tutorials – 1, 2, 3 [...]

  8. [...] Create layers and texture with this striped plant stand. Tutorial HERE. [...]

  9. Initiall Act says:

    Great ideas! well done! you really made a cosy place out on this balcony!

  10. Sarah Burton says:

    Where did you buy this rug? Never mind…I see it’s from IKEA. I wonder if they still have it….

  11. [...] We’ll leave you with a balcony makeover filled with amazing design highlights and easy DIY ideas from Mandy Pellegrin of Fabric Paper Glue. Black, white, Kelly green and pink create a refreshing outdoor palette, and crafty details like handmade herb markers help you put your own special stamp on your space. For more details, including some amazing DIY how-tos, check out Home Depot. [...]

  12. I think you nailed it with the balance of pattern, color, etc. I’d be trying to escape here every chance I got! I’m actually pretty inspired for the balcony on our home ~ thanks girl!

  13. Amazing collection of colors and items! Is the rug from THD? I love the black and white, very nice space.

  14. So pretty! I don’t know what I like more – the gold garden stool or the DIY striped plant stand! The rug is pretty great too :)

  15. I love the color scheme :) Great idea wrapping the plastic pot too! xo Kristin

  16. I LURVVVE it! That green is magnificent, and the floor pillows are perfect!

  17. I’m LOVING all those graphic black and white stripes against that amazing outdoor rug. The green adirondack chair looks killer in the middle of the graphic prints. Beautiful makeover!