How to Create an Urban Oasis


When we moved to a bigger home two years ago I wasn’t sure how to decorate our front balcony, but my husband, Charles, had a pretty clear idea. He wanted a two-person hammock, and although I wasn’t immediately sold on the idea, I was willing to give it a go for a year. And of course, I spent hours in that hammock last year—writing, napping, reading, and sipping on wine. It turns out that having a hammock in a spot with a solid Wi-Fi connection is a glorious thing!

This year, knowing that the hammock was on the balcony for good, I wanted to see how I could transform the somewhat cold and unwelcoming space into our very own urban oasis.

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The first order of business was to add some lighting. Even though I already have lanterns in the the balcony, the spot was still too dark to hang out in after sunset. I ended up hanging two strands of the Clear Bulb String Lights from the roof of the balcony, and then I hung Multicolor Rattan Orb Lights around the doorway. The lighting adds personality, romance, and a little pop of color to the space.

Next, I needed to do something about the concrete floor. Not only was it always cold—it wasn’t very attractive, either. The solution was easy. I purchased the Yellow Citron Gabriella Reversible Floor Mat, and it completely transformed the space. The floor mat is made of a material that can handle unpredictable weather, so I can leave it out on the balcony all summer without worrying about it too much.

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Then I needed to give some life to the space by adding flowers. I chose Small Green Geometric Planters that are light enough to easily move inside during bad weather, and when you live in Chicago, having versatile and portable planters is very important since it can literally be 65 degrees and sunny one day and snowing the next! When the temperatures eventually drop, I’ll just move the plants inside so they don’t succumb to the cold.

The last step was to hang the hammock; it easily rolls up so it can be stored inside during colder months, and stored on rainy days, too. The hammock hangs up easily; it’s a one-person task that takes about 30 seconds.

World Market Urban Oasis Before and After

I am loving the bright and colorful space that is our little urban oasis! While it once felt lifeless and unwelcoming, now it feels cozy and inviting. The balcony is ready for summer, and I eagerly await the arrival of warmer temperatures—because there is nothing better than taking a hammock nap on a warm day, and feeling the way our Chicago wind sways the hammock perfectly.

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