**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Kijiji. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.The dog days of summer are finally here and I am absolutely thrilled to be spending more time outdoors with my son - especially on our balcony which I recently gave an overhaul. Patio season used to mean finding the best perch at my favourite coffee shop or eaterie but now that I’ve created my dream space right here at home, I’m finding myself entertaining more and spending each evening on the balcony.

My son and I moved into our heritage apartment just over a year ago and while last year we did enjoy spending time out there, I didn’t end up putting a lot of effort into making it feel like home. It felt drab and lifeless. This year it was my goal to create an extension of our home out to the balcony, essentially creating another living space that was functional for entertaining, relaxing or eating. I wanted to continue the warmth and colour scheme of the interior of our home into our outdoor living room.

I knew I was going to shop second-hand for almost everything, since saving money is one of the top reasons why people use the second-hand economy and because this space will only be utilized for a small part of the year. According to the latest Second-Hand Economy Index Report, data collected by Kijiji shows that I’m not alone in this. In 2017, a total of 2.3 billion items were given a new life in the second-hand economy while Canadians saved an average of $825 by shopping second-hand versus new.

I started designing the balcony makeover from scratch after I sold some of my older patio pieces on Kijiji; an old bistro set I had been carting around and some festival chairs I no longer had use for. I also repainted my son’s toddler-sized picnic table to give it a fresh new life for resale. For the new design of the balcony I wanted to have a designated eating area, a relaxing spot where we could lounge, read books or work and as a place to house my ever-growing collection of plants. The balcony gets great natural light for most of the day so it is ideal for growing beautiful flowers and we’ve already had three tiny harvests of strawberries!Seating was definitely important to me but I wanted something that was comfortable for just Jack and I or for friends if I was entertaining. I ended up finding a beautiful wooden chaise lounger on Kijiji that fit beneath my balcony window perfectly. My Mom and I sewed a gorgeous custom cushion for it (the mid-century modern-inspired fabric was from IKEA) and added some cute throw pillows (Simons) and cozy blankets (Simons). I like how the second-hand economy gives me the opportunity to create, DIY or upcycle items into something brand new! It turned out beautifully and I love sitting out there reading magazines or writing on my laptop.For our eating area, I found a great long and skinny sofa table that also just happened to fit the space. There wasn’t much DIY to be done but I repainted it a fresh bright white to liven it up and provide a blank canvas for the beautiful outdoor meals to come. While I was able to find pretty much everything on my list on Kijiji, the only must-have I wasn’t able to find was a pair of cute chairs for our little eating bar. After selling my old patio furniture on Kijiji, I had enough extra cash to pick up a pair of white metal chairs that I had my eye on at Structube. The table actually sits four chairs all of the away across but since it is usually just the two of us I opted to only buy two outdoor chairs and bring out chairs from our dining room when we have company.The last furniture piece I found on Kijiji was an unfinished wooden utility shelf to house all of my flowers and plants. Because I’m a sucker for a glowing twinkly patio, I wrapped wire LED twinkle lights around it - it looks gorgeous at night!

Beyond the furniture pieces, I sourced some gorgeous accessories including a blush ceramic plant pot, a metal wall planter and a lovely hanging LED candle lantern - all on Kijiji. All combined, these six pieces cost me less than one brand-new piece of patio furniture. I saved nearly $100 from buying these items second-hand versus brand new! I get really excited thinking about the kind of savings I am taking advantage of by shopping the second-hand economy. If you’re outfitting an outdoor space the savings from buying used over new can be incredible. Outdoor furniture is pretty expensive despite it being of limited use in a place like Calgary so if you are able to save some money on it, it’s a huge win for your bank account. According to Kijiji site data, patio furniture is actually one of the top searched and listed items during the month of June so it really is a great time to start seeking out those deals.I am beyond thrilled with the transformation of the balcony. It feels so welcoming, comfortable and a true extension of the interior of our home. I always describe my personal aesthetic as - Scandinavian Princess Moves to Venice Beach and Learns to Surf - I feel like this space totally embodies that - minus a cool surfboard propped up in the corner! Every time I go out there, surrounded by all of my flowers, I feel so happy and at home. Jack and I can spend hours out there - blowing bubbles, reading books or enjoying a meal together. It is our little happy space and we’ll be taking full advantage of it until the first snow - fingers crossed that won’t be for a long long time.

A few other details from the space:

The wall hanging is a cute rug (Simons) that my Mom added handmade pom-poms to. The outdoor rug is also from Simons.

Many of my plant pots were bought from thrift shops over the years. Kijiji is a great resource for that as well. Always look for showhome furniture sales listed on Kijiji as they often have great accessories for sale - and believe me, they are priced to sell!

My twinkle lights and pink flamingo lights are all from Jysk.

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