For many people living in apartments across the UAE, balconies have become a lifeline over the past few months, offering a slither of outdoor space when coronavirus restrictions required us to stay inside.
As such, many people have taken the opportunity to give their balconies a spruce up, and one Dubai household has achieved an incredible makeover – and for less than Dh500.
Samantha Hall, with her two flatmates, managed to revamp the balcony of their JBR apartment building on a shoestring budget, creating a Pinterest-worthy space for a total of Dh467.
“During lockdown when we were stuck at home – we spent more time out on the balcony but realised how uncomfortable and un-homely it was,” said Hall, who works as an office manager at a law firm.
They started to look on Instagram and Pinterest for ideas to make the most of the space, and liked the look of some seating made from recycled wooden that they came across.
“I posted on Facebook to try source the crate seat and received a lot of responses but they were all far too expensive as we were on a very low budget,” she said.
But after doing a little more research, Hall stumbled across the website Dubaipallets.com, where she was able to source recycled pallets for only Dh20 each, with free collection from its warehouse, or Dh50 for delivery.
They ordered three pallets – two for the base and one for the back of the seat – and set to work sanding them down ready to paint them white. The chair was assembled by using a drill to secure the pallets in place.
“Then we started to bargain hunt for the accessories,” she said. “The hardest part was the base cushion [for the chair], a lot of people were saying you need to have it custom made and that was looking to be Dh850 plus. We came up with the idea to find a crib mattress or futon which we would cover. We went to Carrefour to look for this and luckily we found a sponge futon mattress, which was really easy to cut to size.”
Once the sponge mattress was the right size, they covered it with an old grey bed sheet to match their chosen grey and white theme, and set about finding the finishing touches to create their dream balcony.
Most of the accessories Hall and her flatmates were able to source second hand, either from Dubizzle or from Facebook marketplace. They also used e-commerce website Shein to order a few finishing touches.
Here is the full cost breakdown of everything used:
Pallets, Dubai Pallets: Dh20 per pallet (three used)
Paint, 1 litre Ivory colour, Ace Hardware: Dh25
Sand paper, Ace Hardware: Dh10
Base cushion, Carrefour (Ibn Battuta): Dh69
Old bed sheet: Free
Decorative cushions, bought from seller on Facebook: Dh100 for all
Rug, Shein: Dh59
Hanging bulb lights, Shein: Dh27
Fake hanging plant, Shein: Dh10
Dreamcatcher, second-hand: Dh20
Hanging plant pot, Home Centre: Dh30
Small cream lantern, Daiso: Dh7
Pouffe, Dubizzle: Dh50