Cosy DIY winter balcony ideas on a budget

When the dreamy, snowy wintertime starts, the balcony garden has a certain feeling of emptiness. All the plants are hibernating, and I want to create a cosy winter balcony decor to push away the sadness of the empty garden. Are you with me? The simple budget-friendly winter decor ideas on a balcony are just a scroll away, so keep on reading!

The corner of the balcony, with an ice lantern, a chair and chain lanterns next to a foggy winter balcony window.

Look around in your balcony garden, and imagine what you are looking for. A winter wonderland? A cosy corner? Light in the time of darkness? Hug the darkness and make the cold wintertime your ultimate friend with these 5 + 2 tips!

5+2 cosy winter balcony ideas

To create a cosy winter garden on the balcony start with these ideas

Wollen blankets to add warmth and cosiness

On an enclosed winter balcony, one easy way to add warmth and cosiness is to add a throw blanket. It is very inexpensive for you most likely have one already at home or you can find one from a thrift shop. Choose the colour with your theme or feeling. The blue colour is my preference, read the name of the blog again if you don’t believe me(!), and it goes well with the snow and foggy windows. You could also go easily with a Christmas red colour to add more warmth to your decor.

The corner of a winter balcony with a sofa with a blue woollen throw blanket, an ice lantern with tea candles glowing inside and on the wall and the table a part of natural wreaths is seen.

Throw the blanket casually on the balcony sofa and it is ready for you to snug in to sip some hot cocoa or a hot Christmas Glogg with hibiscus. The blanket is best for chilliness when it is woollen or fleece – those will warm you up fast even when they are staying in cold.

Blue woollen blanket thrown on the sofa chair.

If you have an open balcony or terrasse check that the snow will not moisten or cover completely the blankets. It will take a long time to dry them and get back in use.

With a blanket, you can add some cosy cushions as well on the sofa with an additional woollen slipcover to boost the wintery look.

Light chains to soften the darkness

The lack of light makes it easy to fall into depression and unwanted laziness. Make the darkness welcome by adding some light chains on your balcony. Start already when autumn has started to ensure the adorable look when snow takes over your balcony railings.

Light chain on the railing of a winter balcony, covered with snow.

Choosing the lights

Nowadays there are hundreds of different light chains to choose from. The wide selection of the different chains, forms and lengths guarantees that you can find the one of your liking so that it matches For a cosy feeling aim for warm light. The warm colour is marked with Kelvins so the lower the K is, the warmer the colour is. Normal warm colours used in households are 2700K and 3000K.

The chains with tiny lights are perfect for making the ambience of the starry skies. With snowflake-shaped lights or other forms, you can make more playful decorations. I like to play with only a few shapes to keep the decoration calm and collected. The tiny ones to blink like stars, and the bigger light bulbs remind me of summer parties.

Close-up of a light bulb chain on a balcony railing.

Natural handmade wreaths for decoration

Include some natural materials in your decoration to soften the bare garden. Natural handmade wreaths are inexpensive. You need just the wire and cutters and head to the woods. Vary the raw materials you are using to make the decorations more interesting. Choose the thin fallen birch branches or the pliable willow branches to create the basis of your wreath. You can make several at one go.

Natural branch wreath, decorated with a white ribbon and dried wheat and other plants

choosing the raw materials for the natural wreath

When you are walking in nature keep your eye on the raw materials you could be using. Different types of hay dry up very nicely, for they do not contain much water. For greener outcomes use some blueberry or lingonberry branches or the branches of spruce and pine. In Finland it is not allowed to cut the branches directly from the tree without the landowner’s permission, but all the small branches that have fallen or plants that will regrow next year are good to collect. Check how it is in your area or country before collecting.

A branch and pine corn wreath lying on the table with a red candle lit in the middle.

Close-up of a natural branch wreath, decorated with white ribbon, wheat branch and other dried plants.

Nordic simplicity

If you are looking for a simple Nordic style of wreath you can make a small bouquet of hay and dried plants and I added even a curl of a birch bark in this one. Just use your imagination! Finalise the simple wreath with a large silk ribbon for a more festive look. When you attach both the bouquet and the bow of the ribbon a bit off-centred the result is very appealing, thoughtful and still so so simple.

Play with the raw materials

My daughter loves to collect pinecones, so we gathered plenty of them with the tiny branch bits in her backpack. At home, I attached first the layer of the branches and then the pinecons on the top of them with the wire. This way it is easier to attach them for they are so different in form. If the pinecones are closed just dry them bit in the oven or just let overnight to dry on the table and they will open up nicely.

Close-up of a natural branch and pine corn wreath on an old wooden surface.

Lanterns for winter cottage ambience

Lantern is one of the easiest and most inexpensive atmosphere creators to add to your winter balcony. You can find plenty of lanterns in different shapes and sizes from thrift shops. Make sure, that the glasses aren’t broken, and that the handle is, steady if you are planning to hang it up.

A lantern with a red candle burning hung up next to the foggy winter balcony windows.

A hand lifting a black lantern with a red candle burning next to a snowy winter balcony railing.

Maintenance tip!

Fold a piece of aluminium foil on the bottom of the lantern for stearine drops and such. The aluminium makes the clean-up faster and easier. When you use tiny tea light candles or other low candles the aluminium reflects the candle light and doubles the glow in a lovely way.

Dried flowers and plants to remind you of the garden

The lack of plants and the bareness of the winter balcony screams for ideas to add some reminders of the garden. I attached some dried flowers to the tiny bouquets to sprinkle around the winter balcony. Choose some flowers that will preserve their colour and make some difference in the dark and gloomy wintertime.

A bouquet of dried flowers is tied to a light chain next to a foggy winter balcony window.

A bouquet of dried red flowers is tied to the corner of foggy winter balcony windows.

Aiming for Nordic simplicity, I used the jute string to attach the bouquet to the light chain.

The iron shelf brings up nicely the colour of the bouquet.

A bouquet of dried red flowers tied on an iron shelf.
Close-up of a natural wreath with dried fauna.

In addition to flowers, you can use any plant that dries up nicely. Different hays, grains and bark are good ones too! You can gather the plants from the garden or forest at no cost!

+ Ice lantern for a winter wonderland feeling

One way to upgrade your winter balcony decoration is an ice lantern. The lantern is an easy thing to do and fits into anybody’s budget for all you need is a bucket, water and a tea light.

The ice lantern, with tiny candles burning inside, winter balcony railing with snow in the background.

The corner of the winter balcony, with an ice lantern, a chair and chain lanterns next to a foggy, snowy balcony window.

The light shines through the ice so beautifully that you can now call your balcony a winter wonderland – I swear!

Making the ice lantern in a bucket full of water that is half-iced.

How to do aN ice lantern:

Fill a bucket, pot, bowl or any kind of deep dish that has straight sides (easy to glide off the ice lantern!) with cold water to the height of your preference. Stick the bucket outside. You need at least -5°C (23°F) to defrost the ice. Close the lid only if you might have snow falling into it. Leave it overnight and check in the morning. You want to stop the freezing process before the whole block is completely frozen. For me, it took two nights for it was not too cold.

When you see that you have thick frozen walls and still air bubbles and water moving in the middle, take the bucket next to a faucet. Rinse the bucket quickly with hot water to lose the ice block. Hot water melts the ice rapidly so don’t hesitate: choose which side is up and which down, melt the way to the middle with running hot water and close the faucet. You can also damp a sponge with hot water and rub the sharp edges with it. If you pierce through the bottom of your ice lantern with hot water or it is uneven – don’t worry just put it back into the bucket and pour some water in to refreeze the bottom. When your lantern is ready, choose a plate that is deep enough to hold some water if the ice starts to melt with the sudden heat of the day or sunlight.

When you use the tea lights – remember that the aluminium cover they have will heat up and start making a hole in the ice if they are on longer times. Never leave the lit candle unguarded or next to tiny children!

Candle mark rings melted in the bottom of an ice lantern.

+ Choosing the candles for your need

I like to choose the candle depending on the occasion. The big tall candles burn for several hours and they look impressive. Closer to Christmas I love the red ones – they feel nice and warm when shining the light. They are impressive decorations themselves as well.

A red candle burning in the middle of a natural wreath on the table.
A red candle burning in the lantern.

For bigger lanterns, the taller candles are better. They create bigger flames but they are securely inside the lantern. A bigger flame equals as well more light.

The tea lights are cute and when added up they bring a lot of light too. Just remember that too many tea lights too close to each other is a fire hazard – so read the instructions from the candle package to stay safe.

Small candles burning inside the ice lantern

Let me know!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have tried some of these winter balcony ideas or other ones that work for you. Would you like me to do a more detailed post on the wreath making or step-by-step how to do the ice lanterns?

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Cosy DIY IDEAS on a winter balcony displayed in three close-ups: natural wreath, ice lantern and a corner of a balcony with a wreath and a red candle.

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