For most of us living in apartments, opportunities for outdoor-indoor living are like a pipe dream. So, if yours comes with a balcony, don’t just rejoice: make the most of it by turning it into an outdoor oasis you can turn to whenever you need a little outdoorsy escape. We’ve put together 11 stunning DIY ideas to upgrade your balcony.
1. Motorized Plant Hanger
Vertically installed planters are the way to go on a balcony with limited space. They provide much-needed privacy and do not get in the way. However, they can be quite a hassle to water and maintain, especially if you’ve got high ceilings. Luckily, there’s always a hack for everything, and this motorized system, as detailed in the Make: Magazine project, is a good fit for this predicament. Once you build it, you can hang your plants as high up as you want because you only need to press a button to bring them down when you need to access them.
2. Smartphone Controlled Bluetooth LEDs
LEDs are the perfect form of lighting for a balcony. They are neither too bright to sacrifice your privacy nor too dull to hurt your eyes. In other words, they provide ideal illumination on a balcony.
You can make them even more interesting by adding smartphone control like the genius behind this Instructables project did. From a smartphone, you can control the lighting sequence and even sync it to your playlist for that extra oomph when you’ve got friends over. However, it involves working with electricity, so take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. These out-of-this-world DIY chandeliers will suffice if you need more elegant lighting projects for your balcony.
3. Raspberry Pi Bartop Arcade Cabinet
We might be in an era where you no longer need to go to the arcade (games are accessible from every device nowadays), but retro gaming is still very much alive. In fact, old retro games like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man are nowadays ported to modern consoles, and classic arcade machines are getting a revamp.
But if, for nostalgia’s sake, you prefer your retro games on a classic arcade machine, then building one and adding it to your balcony would be a great idea. You’ll enjoy retro gaming every day after work, and there is no doubt that your buddies will love it, too, when they come over. Check out this Hackster guide to complete this Raspberry Pi-based project.
4. DIY Flower Pot Made From PCBs
If you are into art, and less into watering and maintaining houseplants, or can’t keep a houseplant alive to save your skin, here’s a perfect flower pot for you. It combines a couple of PCBs, LEDs, and other supplies listed in the Instructables guide. Here are some more art in motion projects that you can consider building to spice up your balcony or any other space.
5. Particle Photon Project
The Internet of Things, or IoT, has taken the world by storm. Not quite familiar with the concept? In the simplest terms, IoT refers to regular objects equipped with sensors and data processing abilities to connect and exchange data with other devices. This Hackster guide puts the concept into action by building IoT-controlled LED lighting. It’s perfect for balconies because you don’t need to turn it on or off. The installed Particle Photon boards detect brightness levels and activate lighting accordingly.
6. Flower RGB LED Decorative Light
If aesthetics are of the utmost importance to you, this flower RGB LED decorative light Instructables project is just what you need to spruce up your balcony. It has cardboard as the base, and everything else, from the LEDs to the old cooker washer, fits on it. The results are a stunning, flower-like RGB illumination whose lighting patterns you can adjust to achieve your desired ambiance during those cozy evenings spent on your balcony.
7. Smart Hanging Basket
Are you a plant lover but always on the go? Do you only remember you had plants to water once out of the door or tucked comfortably in bed? If you answered yes to either of the questions, this smart hanging basket, detailed in a Hackster guide, would significantly change your life and that of your plants. It’s Arduino-controlled to water your plants automatically, and it even features sensors that let you track other key elements for plant growth, like weather and lighting intensity.
8. Arduino Fireflies
Can’t remember the last time you saw fireflies? You are not alone because, sadly, these mystical insects are disappearing. We’ve done so much damage to their environments through toxic chemicals, and taking over their habitats, that these dazzling beetles are slowly becoming extinct. You can do a lot to help bring them back, but for now, check out how to build Arduino-controlled fireflies on this Instructables guide to spruce up your dull balcony. Here are some more Arduino LED projects that you can also consider trying out.
This DIY project would be a perfect addition to your hanging plants.
9. Remote-Controlled Colorful LED Lights for Aquarium
Fish tanks and aquariums make a suitable addition to a balcony. Not only do they make a great focal point, but the little fish and marine animals swimming there can be quite relaxing to watch on a laid-back evening while you chill on your balcony. Add colorful, remote-controlled LEDs to make your balcony’s aquarium more intriguing. This Instructables guide gives detailed steps to building these LED lights.
10. Bluetooth Speaker With Reactive LED Matrix
Music is always a superb addition to any setting, and bringing it to your balcony will certainly make your relaxed evenings even more interesting. While you can always turn up the volume of your home theater’s system, getting a Bluetooth speaker specifically for your balcony is more convenient for everyone. Check out how to build one with a reactive LED matrix in this Hackster guide. If you need to explore more options, these unique DIY speaker projects will be a perfect match.
11. Electric Wooden Drink Dispenser
Want to bring the party to your balcony? Build the above Bluetooth speaker, and add this electric wooden drink dispenser to the equation. With music and drinks at arm’s reach, your balcony will now fit the title ‘outdoor oasis’ or the ‘chill spot.’ Check out the Instructables guide to build this awesome drink dispenser.
Make the Most of Your Balcony
Apartment complexes don’t always feature a balcony. So, if you are among the lucky few who have one, make sure you make the most out of it by converting it into an inspiring space. And you don’t need to break the bank for that. Remake any of our DIY ideas above, and you’ll have added one more balcony feature you didn’t have before. With a little creativity, you can even come up with something completely new and innovative by adapting any of these projects.