Living in an apartment is no reason to miss out on some of the luxuries of an outdoor space. One such luxury is a hammock, which is an ideal way to relax and watch the world go by.
Of course, you need a balcony hammock that’s suitable for your needs. Along with the usual considerations, such as size and weight capacity, you also need to consider the installation method.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about choosing a hammock for an apartment balcony. Along with types of balcony hammock, we also cover ways to install one depending on whether you own or rent your apartment.
Why Buy a Hammock?
Hammocks were invented in the Americas as a portable, lightweight sleeping setup. Over time, though, they’ve become a luxury in outdoor living.
The reasons for wanting a balcony hammock should be obvious. A hammock is a great way to relax when napping or reading a book. Alternatively, you could share it with a friend when having a drink.
Perhaps the main benefit of a hammock in an apartment context is that you can fold it away. When space is at a premium, the ability to whip out a bed-sized on demand shouldn’t be overlooked.
Hammocks can also help relieve back pain and improve circulation in your upper body.
In short, a hammock is a convenient and often affordable way to create a relaxing space on your balcony. While you might not want to sleep in one, it’s good for that too!
Types of Hammock for an Apartment Balcony
There are more types of hammock than you could possibly imagine. Some are more suitable as a balcony hammock than others, and these are the types covered below.
A rope hammock is the classic design. It consists of rope tied together in knots to form a hammock. It does the job fine but isn’t as comfortable as a fabric hammock because the holes can create pressure points.
A hammock chair is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a hammock that’s a chair. You’ll usually hang it from the ceiling but you can buy stands that are basically big hooks on a pole.
It’s a good choice if you need a small hammock for your balcony, as it takes up much less room. You can still relax in a hammock chair, you just won’t be able to lie down and nap.
You might also hear this described as a hammock swing, but they’re the same thing. It’s a chair swing design, like something you’d see hanging under a tree or on a front porch.
Hammock with Stand
A freestanding hammock can be any type. Rather than fixing to poles or walls, it comes with a stand that you assemble. Usually, the stand is made of metal poles on feet to provide stability.
It’s the most obvious choice for a balcony hammock if you don’t want to do any drilling, as you can just put the stand up wherever you want.
The main disadvantage for an apartment is that the stand will take up much more space than the hammock itself. You can fold a hammock up into almost nothing, but the stand will often break down into 4 or 5 pieces.
A fabric hammock is usually made of cotton or canvas, but you might find polyester ones too. It’ll feature a spreader bar at each end, which helps to keep the hammock open while you’re sitting in it.
It’s perhaps the best choice for a balcony hammock because it’s comfortable, will often come with pillows, and can be hung up on a stand or a wall.
If you’re clever with your material choice, you can find weatherproof hammocks too.
If you’re feeling crafty, you could always make a balcony hammock yourself. Doing so means you could create a small hammock for your balcony that’s just the right size.
Check out this video for a quick guide on how to make a hammock.
But, considering hammocks aren’t very expensive, it makes sense to buy one unless you specifically want a craft project.
How to Hang a Hammock on a Balcony
At the most basic level, when it comes to how to install a hammock on a balcony, you have two options. These are drill or no-drill. Which you choose will probably depend on whether you own or rent your apartment, but could also depend on your building codes.
When installing a hammock, make sure you choose one that’s the right size. As a general rule, you’ll want a hammock roughly 1-2ft. longer than the space in which you’re hanging it.
This’ll give you enough sag when you sit in the hammock, which should equate to roughly a 30% difference between its resting height and sitting height.
A couple more tips for getting the most from your balcony hammock include:
- Set it up so you can lie diagonally. This gives you the best use of space.
- A looser hammock is better than a tight one. You want a good amount of movement for the best comfort.
- Don’t overlook a pillow or hammock pads to make it as relaxing as possible.
Here are your options for how to hang a hammock on a balcony.
Hang from the Walls
Hanging a balcony hammock from the walls is perhaps the most obvious option. Of course, this involves drilling, but you’ll only need to make 4-8 holes.
The easiest way to hang a hammock from a wall is with a carabiner set. These are usually suitable for solid walls and stud joists, giving you plenty of installation options.
Make sure the weight capacity is suitable. Most hook sets will support a minimum of 1,000lbs., which should be more than enough.
You shouldn’t need much in the way of installation instructions for these hooks. Simply mark the correct location on each wall, drill the holes, and screw in place.
The easiest way to make sure your hooks are level is to measure up from the balcony floor. That said, it won’t matter too much if they’re off by an inch or two – just make sure your head goes at the higher end!
Hang from the Ceiling
This is a better option for a small balcony, as it should generally take up less space. You’ll most likely hang a swing hammock from the ceiling, but you could do the same with a full hammock.
First, you’ll want a hook set like the one linked above. You might also need some hanging chair chains depending on the height. But you could use some nylon rope instead.
When hanging something from a ceiling, you must drill into a solid surface. Ideally, this should be a joist or concrete surface. You’ll also need wall plugs so the screws can get a good grip in the ceiling.
Hang off Railings
Hanging a hammock off a balcony railing is one of the easiest no-drill methods. You need very little in the way of extra materials other than some heavy-duty hooks or carabiners.
Again, this doesn’t require much of an installation explanation. You hang the hooks from the balcony railing and then hang the hammock from them. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
Alternatively, you could use hammock suspension straps. These are designed for use with trees or poles, but nothing is stopping you from using them with a hammock on a balcony railing.
In fact, you could use suspension straps between any two solid points on your balcony. Just make sure said points can take the weight. If you’re not entirely sure, avoid it.
Other than a hammock stand, hanging off railings or beams is your only other choice if you can’t drill holes. The main thing to consider is that a hammock might hold a lot of weight, so the support method needs to match.
DIY Hammock Stand
It’s not that difficult to build your own hammock stand. Providing you have the tools, you can make a stand perfectly suited to your balcony size.
The method is a bit too long-winded to explain in full here, but essentially you build a boat shape out of lumber and put some feet on it. If you’ve seen a hammock stand before then you’ll know what it should look like.
Check out this video on how to build a DIY hammock stand.
You could theoretically make a C-stand or similar for a hammock chair if you know your way around some tools. It would be slightly harder due to the different angles you’d be working with.
With a bit of research, you’ll find plenty of options for a balcony hammock. You can easily customize them to suit the size and setup of your outdoor space.
Most importantly, there are options for how to hang a hammock on a balcony that don’t involve drilling or DIY work.
Whatever option you choose, you’ll have a great new way to relax on your balcony, whether reading a book, taking a nap, or enjoying a cocktail!