How to Decorate Balconies, Porches, and Decks for Fall - QC Design School

Tammy Hart, I.D.D.P, CAPS is a graduate and tutor of QC Design School as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist from the National Association of Home Builders. She is the owner and award-winning designer for Designer Chick Co., and she’s the previous director of the National Board for DDA (formerly CDECA). She is a professional speaker and has spoken at venues like IIDEXCanada and the Small Business Forum. She’s been featured in East in the City Magazine, has had a guest spot on Daytime Durham, Rogers TV and has won the HOUZZ Service Award 2017. She works to empower young women to become successful future leaders and supports ocean clean-up efforts.

Ahhhhh! Chunky-cable-knit-sweater season! My favorite time of the year is definitely autumn. I love it for so many reasons. But my favorite reason of all is the natural color palette that comes alive – the burnt oranges, golden yellows, and deep reds. These seasonal colors create a perfect backdrop for exterior decorating.

I thoroughly enjoy designing and decorating exteriors of homes—most designers and decorators don’t for whatever reason. Autumn is the perfect time to create cozy and welcoming exteriors, from front porches to balconies. Front and back doors also get plenty of love!

When decorating outdoors, you’ll want to consider the following:

front porch decorating with hello fall chalkboard sign white pumpkins and chairs

Decorating materials

Your options for materials are endless for autumn decorating. This year, I love monochromatic color palettes for decorating outdoors, especially using white. I also never get tired of decorating with flowers like potted mums. Set them in planters with tall grasses and combine them with cascading white pumpkins and lanterns down staircases.

Under covered porches, I like to set up tall wood signage (like a Welcome sign) next to a rocking chair with an oversized chunky blanket. It’s the perfect spot for snuggling up in with a cup of tea.

Be conscious of the materials you do use outside, though. You want to ensure they are weather resistant or at the very least covered by an overhang.

Exterior Decorating Precautions

Like any decorating project, you’ll have many different considerations when developing your concept. There are a few different factors to consider when moving outside. Although I love the ambiance of a candle burning, I use battery-operated candles for my outdoor lanterns. Especially in the lanterns sitting on the staircases.

lanterns on steps outside of home with battery powered lights

Speaking of lanterns, I’m cautious about the amount of glass I use in my designs outside. You never know what weather event (or animal) could cause an accident. You don’t want shards of glass littering your lawn!

I try to use solar-powered lighting when I can. In the event that I can’t, string lights or any other electrical decor is powered using outdoor-rated extension cords for the proper amount of amps.

Apartment/Condo Rules

When it comes to condos and/or apartment buildings, balcony decorating can be a bit tricky. Most condos and apartment buildings consider the balcony to be a common area and not owned by the owner/renter. This is because they are located on the façade of the building. So before decorating the balcony, please refer to the condo corporation’s bylaws or apartment building’s rules. Not complying with these bylaws can lead to fines!

Some of the most common pieces banned from balconies are barbeques. They are often considered illegal for safety, fire hazard, and intrusive smell reasons. And don’t try to use the balcony as extra storage space—those tubs and containers act as visual pollution and may cause a weight concern.

You can definitely rely on plants to add life to your balcony, though! Try using overhanging planters for greenery. Most condo boards will allow plants, but be cautious of height, amount, weight and placement. You also want to make sure you’re choosing outdoor plants that won’t wither away as the temperature drops!

outdoor plants for condo or apartment balcony exterior decorating

Don’t be surprised if you can’t hide the cold grey concrete of your balcony. Even though floor tiles or faux turf can warm up a balcony, condos may not permit them even if they are temporary. Why? They are a fire risk from falling cigarette butts that can set the balcony ablaze!

No matter where you’re decorating, enjoy seasonal decorating outdoors as there are so many opportunities and it creates beautiful curb appeal that your clients and their family and friends will enjoy coming home too.

What decorating trends do you love this season? Leave us a comment!

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