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East Village, London

With 25 acres of parks and wetlands, East Village is a place to breathe the air and get active. Even our gigs and gatherings take place outdoors.

Elephant Central, London

Perfectly placed to make the most of the city, yet with a character and community all of its own.

New Maker Yards, Manchester

The buzz of two great cities. The cool calmness of the canals. A place to live, work, meet friends.

Balcony makeovers on a budget. What would you do with £250?

Never has outdoor space felt so important.

While 2020 is the year we discovered a love of the great indoors, many of us also turned to our gardens and balconies – however big or small – looking for an extension of our living space.

Research from Get Living found the average household spent £107.29 during lockdown on sprucing up their outdoor spaces, equating to a massive £2.6bn* spend across the UK. The nationwide poll showed that 69% of Brits splashed the cash on outdoor decoration, with 63% claiming they appreciate their outdoor space more than ever after being told to ‘stay home’ this year.

Balconies are the perfect space to enjoy a morning coffee, soak up the rays with a Gin and Tonic (made with our favourite Sis4ers gin naturally!)) and unwind after a busy day of working from home.

Because we know how special your balcony space can be, this summer we teamed up with three of Manchester’s top lifestyle influencers and challenged them to makeover balcony spaces at Get Living’s Salford neighbourhood, New Maker Yards.

We gave each of them £250 and gave them creative reign, showing how you can get the look you want – whatever your style and whatever your budget.

Here’s how they got on….

Anna Lysik @idontcrampmystyle – Boho Glam

Anna used gold and pink as her key colour theme to bring her ‘boho glam’ balcony space to life. She created a luxurious finish on a budget by getting creative and adding her own personal design touches.

She used gold spray paint and a mandala stencil to upcycle her simple coffee table which she found on ebay and paired this with furniture such as a gold chair from independent Knutsford boutique Olive and Sage.

Plants were a key part of Anna’s look and she made her own hanging plant rail by taking a plain white rail from Argos and spray painting it gold for a dip dye effect. She created boho themed macramé hangers, plant hangers and made sure the rail was weighted down with some heavy cushions, so it wouldn’t blow away!

Items featured: gold chair Olive and Sage £58; pink cushion Wayfair £24.99; basket side table eBay £19.99; foot stool eBay £29.99; rope lights eBay £14.49; gold plant stand eBay £19.99; clothing rail Argos £18; macramé plant holders Amazon £13.99; pink rug Olive and Sage £24. All other items are stylists own.

Kate Baxter @Fabricofmylife – Industrial

We challenged Kate to bring a bit of Manchester’s history into her design with an industrial theme with flashes of yellow as a nod to the city’s bee emblem. Kate styled her balcony from day to night, showing how you can enjoy the space around the clock.

IKEA is one of the go to retailers for affordable outdoor furniture and Kate chose several pieces such as her shelving unit and table and chairs set from there, which become centre pieces for the design.

She was careful to choose pieces which were durable, weatherproof and easy enough to be moved around or folded down and stored if needed.

Kate chose a range of accessories from independent Manchester boutiques, including a black and white throw, retro vases and rustic side plates. Her look shows it’s always worth checking out local small businesses for unique and one of a kind items that you can’t find anywhere else.

Items featured: Black side table IKEA £45; white table and chairs IKEA £60; lantern IKEA £7; Green shelving unit IKEA £45; yellow cushion covers IKEA £3.50; side plate Rose and Grey £13.90; vases Nordic Muse £30. Any other items are stylists own.

Hayleigh Jade @HayleighJM – Summer Garden

Hayleigh created a summery balcony design complete with pops of colour and greenery.

She opted for artificial planting for low maintenance, long-lasting luscious greens, creating an ivy wall complete with outdoor fairy lights, attached to the railings with cable tables ties, to make a magical yet weatherproof feature to her design.

She chose a stunning table and chair set from SKLUM and a neutral outdoor rug which gives the space a sense of comfort and adds some additional colour. More plants including an artificial ficus plant and yellow flowers in rattan holders finish off the look alongside some chic but cheap rope lanterns which will really set the mood come sundown – perfect for evening cocktails!

Items featured: Chair SKLUM £65; table SKLUM £48; artificial ficus £34; artificial fern in concrete pot £8; outdoor rug Benuta £33.95; artificial ivy Amazon £10; rattan wall planters Wayfair £18.99; solar string lights Wilkos £7; yellow artificial flowers Amazon £9; outdoor lantern Festival Lights £17.99.

5 tips for transforming your balcony space:

1. Safety first!

Make sure furniture and furnishings are fire retardant. Avoid bamboo or timber and stick to metals or fireproof rattan. If you’re unsure – always double check with your landlord.

2. Don’t get blown away!

British summer weather can be pretty hit and miss, and for those living in tall buildings a bit of wind could see some of your lovely furnishings whisked away. To protect yourself and others make sure all loose items are fixed or weighted down so nothing can fall over or blow over the railings. A handy tip – use cable ties to secure items to railings or sandbags to hold furniture down.

3. Get creative

Don’t be afraid of DIY. Upcycling simple or secondhand items furniture is one of the most sustainable ways to give a piece of furniture a new lease of life and an item which is a unique as you are.

4. Flexibility is key…

Choose furniture that can easily be moved or folded down so you can use the space for different set ups. Choosing a table and chair set that you can easily bring indoors means you can use your balcony for outdoor exercise or al fresco dining – making it a versatile space to accommodate a whole host of activities whatever your mood.

5. Fake it to make it

Being green fingered doesn’t come naturally to us all. You can create the perfect flowery oasis without having to worry about keeping them alive, using artificial plants. Our influencers each picked up some plant-based bargains on Amazon and faux plants tend to be cheaper than real ones.