When the weather’s nice, it’s time to kick back with friends and family outside. For those who don’t have a private yard for enjoying the summer sun—for example, apartment dwellers who rent—a balcony can become the perfect seasonal escape. But a bland, sparse balcony isn’t doing anyone any favors.

If you have a balcony, it’s time to get it in shape for entertaining and relaxation. From surrounding yourself with nature to setting up the perfect seating space for hanging out with friends, we’ve got some suggestions on how you can give your balcony a beautiful makeover.

The Bare Essentials
If you want to transform your balcony into the ultimate summer hangout, you’ll need a table and some seating to gather friends around. Depending on the size of your balcony, you may be limited here. Look for smaller pieces; this simple three-piece set by Hammer is attractive and functional, and doesn’t take up too much space.

If you have more seating, don’t forget to jazz it up with cute cushions! Get to customizing your balcony furniture with cushions and cloths in fun, varying colors. The Trellis Gate Summer Outdoor Collection is a great place to start, covering all your outdoor needs with a bright and vibrant palette and pattern.

Plants and Greenery
Once you’ve set the stage, it’s time to dress things up with greenery, good lighting and other décor. Let’s start with plants. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry—this artificial boxwood topiary  is diminutive in size looks quite sophisticated on a balcony table, and you won’t have to go through the trouble of trimming it. For something a little more rustic, go with this artificial boxed garden of basil, rosemary and mint.

Those who do love to garden should still be able to enjoy the hobby on their balcony. This slim log planter goes a long way in establishing a natural, forested look, and comes in two different lengths—perfect for an accent table or for placing just beside the balcony railing. If you want to put a plant on display as a table centerpiece, try this slate grey square planter.

Lighting & Decor
A summery balcony hangout spot needs dim, moody lighting for evening company and fun. You can’t go wrong with placing lanterns throughout the space; this black wire lantern, for example, produces a stunning glow. Browse our candle and candleholder collection for more lighting options.

For a romantic and upcycled look, outfit wine bottles with this string of LED lights from Torre & Tagus. A bit like Christmas lights, just let the string unravel in the bottle and keep the cartridge in the neck for a beautiful lantern glow.

Finally, don’t forget to put something on a wall. Wall art isn’t just for the indoors; you can bring a space to life by hanging lights, plants or sculpture. This molded wall hook lets you hang whatever you please. When it’s not in use, it takes the form of an intriguing and modern work of art.

Living and Fun
We’ve covered all the bases, but don’t forget the most important element of your balcony: you and your friends! With a couple finishing touches, your balcony will become an awesome place to laugh, lounge and live with the people you care about most.

First, enjoy a night cap by placing a chrome bar cart outside bedecked with all your drinking essentials. When the night is done, simply roll it back indoors. If you like champagne, put it on ice with a curvy ice bucket from Final Touch. And because nothing beats BBQ in the summer, cook up something delicious on this petite portable grill from Ricardo, which is the perfect size for the balcony.