An apartment balcony can be a great place to greet the day with a cup of tea; there's something very relaxing about being able to enjoy the open air as often as the weather permits. But balconies can also feel a little exposed. If you don't want neighbours and passers-by getting an eyeful of your morning hair, there are a few things you can do to improve privacy on your balcony.
Wooden or bamboo blinds are a good way to create privacy on a balcony. They're inexpensive and can be raised and lowered to meet the needs of the moment. In hot weather, they can keep bright sun off the balcony, creating an area of shady cool that still benefits from any breeze. Installation can be tricky; some balconies may simply not have anywhere to attach the blinds. For balconies that do, however, these are an ideal solution.
Heavier than blinds, shutters can not only improve privacy and create shade but also protect vulnerable items on the balcony -- such as furniture or small plants -- from the weather. Most balcony shutters have slatted openings to let air in. However, shutters are more substantial than blinds and will probably need alterations to the balcony to install. Tenants should make sure that they are allowed to make changes to the balcony before proceeding with shutter installation.
For those who can't make permanent alterations to their balcony, a portable screen can perform the same role as a blind or shutter. Folding screens can be put up quickly when privacy is needed and stored out of the way when not in use. Traditional Japanese or Middle Eastern screens can also add an exciting element to the balcony's decor. Because of their high area-to-weight ratio, however, screens can be vulnerable to high winds.
Adding plants to a balcony can be a great way not only to add a touch of green to urban living but also to improve privacy. Flower boxes along a balcony railing can add an additional level of cover, while a trellised vine or similar can create a beautiful, scented screen that adds both colour and shade to the balcony. Urban gardeners need to be sure to choose plants that can survive the city air.