So this probably isn’t a great first date idea. . . Maybe after a few good dates you feel comfortable to invite them over to your place. But you’re still trying to impress them, right? This could be a romantic or casual date depending on the time of day and the sophistication of decorating.
For a truly romantic date, plan for dusk or later. For more casual, plan for mid to late afternoon. Think lemonade or iced tea versus a glass or two of wine.
Start with LIGHT:
This could be candles, a tiki torch, or a string of lights–just a light source.
Wrap lights on a railing, or hang from rafters. Remember to be safe and buy indoor/outdoor lights. And, if you’re running an extension cord, make sure that is safe for outside use, too. (Remember, you’re trying to impress your date, nit accidentally burn down the neighborhood).
Candles can be a little tricky. Try to grab a few, medium sized plain candles (don’t break out the Yankee Candle) like tea lights. There are some really charming tea lights holders out there, but you won’t need them. Consider a citronella candle for the benefits of a bug repellent. It’s not the most wonderful smell, but it beats swatting mosquitos all night!
Tiki torches should be kept far enough away that if the flame sways it won’t get too close (burned hair smells horrible). A few of these will do, as well, since they put off so much light.
A few Quick Tips for Lights:
Lights are best on for night time, but can be hung up and ready to go during the day (in case, ya know, they stay through the evening, too)
If you must put lights on during the day, use the string lights. They put off the least amount of light and are the least awkward to leave on during the day. outside.
Have some sort of light source between you and your date. Hopefully you want to look at one another. And, think about sitting around a campfire with a group of people–even if you don’t know them well–the fire is still something to look at while you talk.
Outdoor patio lighting idea: link together strands of Edison bulbs for an urban chic feel. Super minimalist and delicate.
Add some pillows, or outdoor cushions to chairs. Or get new chairs. There are plenty of inexpensive plastic and metal chairs available all over–even grocery stores have some.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is comfortable. You and your date will be spending some time out there talking for a while.
Have the chairs face toward one another, but not directly across from one another unless there is a table between you. (which leads me to. . .)
A single side table between the chairs, or one on each side is ideal for setting down any drinks, food, or cell phones (you won’t need it if you’re talking to your date).
A table in between the chairs, facing one another can also be sweet, but there is an expectation that you will be feeding them, so bring the snacks out, too! Personally, I used an antique sewing machine base for a table between two chairs because it is what I could get onto my balcony. I don’t recommend it for everyone (it was ridiculously heavy), but it is a nice piece to talk about because it is unique and quirky. The foot pedal works, which can be fun to play around with, too.
Don’t be afraid to add a little decor. If garden gnomes are your thing, own it and add one to the side table. It could be a fun conversation starter.
If you’re me, you add lots of plants. My balcony has lots of greenery. I also added sheer curtains to mine to make it feel a little more private (even though my boyfriend wouldn’t let me pull them shut). Using a tension rod, I was able to put curtains up between the posts. My neighbor has a straw shade that he rolls up and down throughout the day.
My balcony at night with my date (featured)
Decor to consider:
grabbing some fresh mint for that mojito or Moscow mule that you just made your date makes you sound fancy!
Candles, tiki torches, lights, etc.
Sheer curtains or a shade
Funky door mat, furniture
Remember the sewing machine base. . . Find some mismatched side tables and chairs, or mismatching pillows–just make it look purposeful.
Galvanized steel is popular right now
Consider a watering can or planter
The outdoor rug and white wicker furniture are the center of attention on this balcony.