Urban Spaces: How Hoboken + Jersey City Locals Designed Theirs

There’s nothing like fresh air and a space of your own – two reasons why patios and balconies are so sought after in the city. Even the smallest space can be transformed into an oasis, a little getaway if you will. Hoboken and Jersey City residents have gotten creative with their outdoor spaces, despite the limited space. We thought it’d be fun for locals to share how they decorated their patio/balconies including the square footage, design inspo, budget, and more. Read on for the first three features of our new Urban Space Series.

To be considered for our Urban Space Series, email hello@hobokengirl.com.

Samantha Hanson’s Patio

Samantha Hanson's Patio

Samantha Hanson and Stephanie Hagans rent an apartment on Whiton Street in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City. Samantha is a school psychologist and does research for a social-emotional learning company. Stephanie is an emergency manager for NYU Langone Hospital.

HG: What is the square footage of the balcony?

SH: Our patio is 550 square feet.

HG: What type of building do you live in?

SH: We live in a 30 unit 6 floor building.

HG: What was the design concept + goal of the space?

SH: We wanted to have a cozy but fun place to entertain our friends and family!

HG: Where did you pull inspo from?

SH: We watch a ton of HG TV and live on Pinterest!

HG: Tell us about the furniture, where did you purchase each piece? Links help but not necessary!

SH: We got our furniture from Wayfair and Homegoods. Our run from target and Stephanie built our wooden table.

Samantha Hanson's Patio

HG: Any plants/decor/unique items there that you’re especially proud of?

SH: we wanted to have a container garden and we are very proud to grow catnip and cat grass for our cats along with peppers, lemongrass, sage, basil, and rosemary.

HG: What challenges did you encounter, if any, when creating your space?

SH: Just fitting everything we wanted, but we are lucky to have a big space!

HG: Share your budget for the space. How did you fare? Under/over budget?

SH: We did everything in stages but probably spent around 1,500-2,000 on everything.

HG: Any other things you’d like to share or tips for people wanting to beautify their urban outdoor spaces.

SH: Our heater was amazing and allowed us to use the patio into December! We even hosted thanksgiving dinner on it for our family!

Read More: Hoboken Couple Beautifully Rehabilitates Historic Property

August Galifi’s Patio

August Galifi's Patio

August lives on Grand Street in Hoboken and has owned his condo for 15 years, it’s also his fourth home in town. August is 51, single, and works in CRM/digital marketing.

HG: What is the square footage of the balcony?

AG: The balcony measures 10×16 (160 sqare feet).

HG: What type of building do you live in?

AG: Condo building with eight units, only four have balconies. There’s also have a parking garage under our building.

HG: What was the design concept + goal of the space?

AG: I wanted my balcony to feel like an outdoor living room. I didn’t want it to feel too kitschy or too Golden Girls. So I kept the fabrics/colors similar to what I would use indoors..shades of gray, plaids, and then splashes of color with the flowers/planters. It feels like I am in a comfortable living space while at the same time feeling like you are outdoors. A great space to serve drinks, a light meal, and lots of late conversations with friends.

August Galifi's Patio

HG: Where did you pull inspo from?

AG: A mixture of ideas from my parent’s deck down on the Jersey shore. They have a very large, three-level deck with lots of different living spaces, multiple dining, living, and porch swing. I wanted to bring a bit of where I grew up to my own home. My parents grew up in the Mediterranean (Sicily and Greece) and you spend most of your summers living outside on the terrace, so I wanted to adopt that idea. I also looked at a lot of stores and patio displays such as in Target, Ikea, Fortunoff, etc. Some of my neighbors in other buildings nearby seem to use their balconies as extra storage and I do not see the point in that. I wanted it to feel like an extension of my living room and be a welcoming place for friends.

HG: Tell us about the furniture, where did you purchase each piece? Links help but not necessary!

AG: I bought this set back in 2006 at Target when I closed on my new home. This was the first space I bought furniture for because I was so excited to have my own outdoor space. Target no longer carries this set, but they have variations on it. It is sturdy and holds up beautifully. It is resigned wicker, so it doesn’t decay, fade, etc. I leave it out all winter and summer. All my accessories are bought at Home Depot (the rug, all the flower pots except the planters on the railings). The railing boxers were purchased at 14th Street Garden Center in Jersey City. I wish I had discovered them before I had bought my other accessories, as they have some wonderful items. There is a white three-tiered plant shelf I bought at Ikea, very inexpensive.

HG: Any plants/decor/unique items there that you’re especially proud of?

AG: My mother is an incredible gardener and she comes up and I let her take over what plants I should get and what would grow well based on the sun. We then spend the day planting together. It is fun to share the work and spend that special time with mom. So any plants that she picks out are very special to me. I also have a plant (pothos) I bought for my very first Hoboken apartment back in 1996. I still have it and it is thriving and I have split it three different times to various pots. Bring your houseplants outside in the summertime, they will love the rain! I especially love a Grecian statue planet my friend gave me for my 50th birthday!

HG: What challenges did you encounter, if any, when creating your space?

AG: Because I am forced to keep my furniture outside all year (I have storage in my garage, but not enough for the furniture) I had to select something that wouldn’t show too much dirt, was easy to maintain, was durable, wouldn’t fade. The other challenge is that my balcony faces west, so I have strong sun from around 1PM until 7PM. Therefore, I have to choose plants that can handle the hot direct sun. I only really have shade in the early morning and the later evening. An ongoing struggle is all the squirrels that climb our building to make a meal out of my plants. I have been using a homemade spray of water, onions, garlic, and hot pepper on my plants and it seems to help keep them away! Although I have another balcony above mine, it offers no protection from the rain, as the flooring is trek planks and water passes through the gaps. So if you want to preserve your furniture cushions, bring them in when it rains so they do not get dirty.

August Galifi's Patio

HG: Share your budget for the space. How did you fare? Under/over budget?

AG: I have probably spent about $1,000-$1,500 on my balcony over the years. The entire patio set was only $399. I change the area rug every couple of years and I have changed the patio cushions. I also change the throw pillows and throw blanket every few years, to refresh or when my tastes change.

HG: Any other things you’d like to share or tips for people wanting to beautify their urban outdoor spaces.

AG: You do not need to spend a fortune to get a beautiful look. Shop at Ikea, Home Depot, Overstock, Target, Wayfair, etc. Also, plan ahead if you can when updating. Buy new area rugs, pillows, cushions, accessories at end of the season when they are all on clearance. It is a great way to spend less money and give it a refresh every couple of seasons without breaking the bank. Target and Ikea have an especially good selection and very affordable. Also, get patio cushions that you can unzip and throw in the washer for when they get dirty..and if you can, bring them inside when it rains! I strongly recommend keeping something like a dish/pie plate/saucer under your plants so they do not drip down to your neighbors when watering. You should treat your balcony with the same love and respect you have for your indoor living space. Take pride in your outdoor space!

See More: The Most Insta-Worthy Bathrooms in Jersey City

Jennifer Tripucka’s Patio

Jennifer Tripucka patio

Jennifer is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She owns a condo in Hoboken.

HG: What is the square footage of the balcony?

JT: It’s tiny — about 25 square feet.

HG: What type of building do you live in?

JT: We live in a condo.

HG: What was the design concept + goal of the space?

JT: My husband always had his eye set on transforming the space (which was just concrete when we moved in) into a mini oasis where we could sit and have breakfast, a cocktail, or read. Though she is small, she is mighty! The goal was to mix greenery, tiling, and wood — all while making it budget-friendly and easy to maintain.

HG: Where did you pull inspo from?

JT: Honestly, my husband Tyler did most of the inspiration — he has always loved landscape architecture and made the balcony his focus (I pretty much handled furniture for the rest of the apartment). I did peruse some Pinterest and Instagram imagery of small urban spaces to help with a vision, and my mother-in-law who is an interior designer (@kbtinteriors) helped give us some furniture tips to assist the space since it was SO small and hard to fit most things in.
Tell us about the furniture, where did you purchase each piece? Links help but not necessary!

We bought our furniture — just two gray weaved chairs and a table — from Target. That’s all we could fit, but it was a nice light design that fits seamlessly in the space. The owls are there to scare away the pigeons, and the tiling + green turf squares are from Amazon and Home Depot. For the holidays in 2019, I gifted Tyler a custom wood wall made by Ninja Wood Works that is a nice divider/privacy screen. The faux plants are from Home Goods, and the wooden planter (again holding faux grass) is from Etsy.

HG: Any plants/decor/unique items there that you’re especially proud of?

JT: I really love our wall – it completes the space for me.

HG: What challenges did you encounter, if any, when creating your space?

JT: The biggest challenges were twofold — space + pigeons. Space because we had just a little bit of it, and pigeons, because they really love our balcony!

HG: Share your budget for the space. How did you fare? Under/over budget?

JT: We spent about $1000 on the space I’d say, including the wall. Definitely “over budget” for the goal, but that custom wall was something that I knew would complete the urban sanctuary vibe, and it’s so fun to sit out there and look at the skyline on a clear night or morning.

HG: Any other things you’d like to share or tips for people wanting to beautify their urban outdoor spaces.

JT: Don’t be afraid to get faux plants — even for your outside space. I am a plant killer — I’ll admit it, and honestly, I used to beat myself up about it because I felt so guilty. Now, I have 80% faux plants inside and outside the house, and they look great and need low maintenance. We do have a few low-maintenance real plants, but I have embraced this aspect of things and know that faux greenery mixed with a bit of real is just the way to go for us!


Written by:

Victoria is HG's Associate Editor and Social Media Coordinator for the Hoboken Historical Museum + Fire Department Museum. She is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square, and Jersey City. Through playing softball in town for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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