It's common for the body to go into relaxation mode just by looking at a hammock. As it turns out, there's a good reason for this—studies indicate that the swinging nature of hammocks causes people to fall asleep quicker than a stationary bed.
Since it doesn't get much better than taking a snooze and enjoying some fresh air, balconies are an excellent place to hang a hammock.
We'll show you how to hang a hammock on a balcony so you can start reaping the benefits of better naps.
How Your Balcony's Size Determines Your Hammock Size
Balconies range in shape and size. Luckily, hammocks do too.
So, if you're worried that your balcony is too small to hang a hammock, we're here to assure you that it probably isn't. However, you might need to compromise on the type of hammock you hang.
For example, if your balcony is less than eight feet long, then you're better off hanging a hammock chair. These nifty pieces of furniture hang from a single rope that originates from your ceiling.
You'll still get the rocking benefit of hammock chairs, and you can even spin around in them. They allow you to lean back into the hammock fabric, but you won't be able to lay out flat with your legs extended like traditional hammocks.
So, this is the bottom line: If your balcony is eight feet or longer, you can hang a traditional hammock. If your balcony is less than eight feet long, consider hanging a hammock chair.
Tools to Install a Hammock on Your Balcony
Before we get into the nitty-gritty process of how to hang a hammock on a balcony, it's important you prepare the right tools.
So, head to your garage or your local hardware store and gather the following:
- Drill and drill bit
- Tape measure
- Eyebolts (you'll need two of them)
Additionally, you may need two carabiners and hammock straps or ropes. These items will come in handy if you have an extra-long balcony. That way, you can adjust the height of your hammock so that it doesn't hang too high off the ground.
And, of course, don't forget about buying a hammock!
In addition to a traditional and chair hammock, there are also extra wide hammocks that can fit two people.
Choosing a Weather-resistant Hammock
Since you'll be hanging your hammock on your balcony, the chances are high that it'll come in contact with rain, sun, and other wear.
Cotton fabric hammocks are a favorite among hammock users because of their comfort and breathability. However, the fibers tend to wear quicker, and they take a while to dry. Furthermore, your hammock's colors will likely fade over time.
For these reasons, we recommend choosing one of the following materials for your balcony hammock:
Understanding Hammock Lingo
As we walk you through the steps for hanging a hammock on your balcony, we'll be using some vocabulary that you might not be familiar with.
So, you can refer back to here if you need a refresher on the following hammock words.
Eyes: Every hammock has two eyes, which are fabric loops on either end of the hammock. That's the part where you'll either attach it directly to your wall or loop rope through to extend it across longer balconies.
Scale Lines: The rope that connects the hammock bed with the eyes. Note that the scale lines are part of the hammock and not the rope you use to hang hammocks across extra-long spaces.
Bed: We saved the easiest for last—this is the part you lay in.
Step-by-Step Guide for Hanging a Balcony Hammock
With your hammock and tools in hand, let's get your hammock up!
Hanging a hammock on your balcony isn't hard. However, you must take care when doing so. Deaths and injuries from hammocks aren't common, but when they happen, it's often because someone didn't properly install it.
We'll talk more about the safety precautions you should take when hanging your hammock at the end of this article. But for now, read on for how to hang a hammock on your balcony.
Step 1: Identify Your Balcony's Beams
Assuming your balcony is at least eight feet long, you have two options for where to drill the holes to hang your hammock—in the wall or ceiling.
In either case, it's critical to identify where the beams are. Can you imagine sinking your weight into a hammock that hangs from drywall?
Unlike the interior of homes, many times, a balcony's beams are visible. However, if they aren't, you have three options to identify them.
- Use an electronic stud finder.
- Look for an outlet.
- Use the tapping method.
The first point is self-explanatory; with the click of a button, the stud finder will let you know when it encounters a beam as you scan your balcony's walls and ceiling.
As for outlets, these sit on wall beams. So, if you're lucky enough to have an outlet on your balcony, work your way around the wall from there until you get to the vicinity where you want to hang your hammock.
Wall beams typically sit 16 to 24 inches apart from one another. Therefore, you can use the tapping method to identify the beams that branch out from your outlet.
The tapping method involves knocking on your wall or ceiling and listening to the noise. If you're tapping in an area that doesn't have a beam, it'll sound hollow. Once you land on a beam, it'll have a deeper sound.
Trust us; you can't miss it!
Step 2: Mark the Drilling Area
Identifying the center of your wall or ceiling beam is crucial. That way, your hammock will have the strongest support possible.
If you use a stud finder, it'll be easy to find the center of the beam. Furthermore, an outlet is likely at the center of a beam.
Otherwise, use your best judgment by tapping on your wall or ceiling and estimating where the center of the beam is.
Once you determine the center, use a pencil to mark the spot.
Step 3: Measure the Distance Between Beams
With your first beam identified, it's time to find your second one.
Use the same process described above, ensuring that you leave at least eight feet between the beams. However, when possible, 10 to 15 feet is the ideal spacing between hammock beams.
That'll offer you more opportunities to control your hammock's height.
Ideally, your hammock should hang about 18 inches off the floor. That's about the same height as when you sit in a chair.
Step 4: Secure the Eyebolts
Take your drill and make a 3/8-inch pilot hole into the area you marked on both beams.
Then, use a screwdriver to screw in the eyebolts. When choosing eyebolts, you want to ensure that they are long enough so that you can screw a minimum of 2-inches deep into your beams.
Step 5: Attach Your Hammock
It's finally time to hang your hammock on your balcony. However, this process will look a little different depending on your balcony and hammock's size.
For example, if you have a small balcony, you'll likely want to attach the hammock's eyes to the eyebolts directly.
Alternatively, you can loop a rope or chain around the eye and determine a length that's good for you. You can then either tie the other end directly to the eyebolts or use a carabiner so that you can easily detach your hammock.
In fact, a heavy-duty carabiner is an excellent option regardless of the hanging method you use. That way, should you have a small balcony and want to make space for grilling or company, you can quickly move your hammock out of the way.
Understanding Double Hammock Dimensions
You can eyeball your double hammock measurements, which will need to be more than the single dimensions we covered above.
However, to give you a base, below are the approximate measurements you can use.
Type of Hammock
Width Between Eyes
Height of Eyes
Distance from Ground
Alternative Balcony Hanging Methods
The process we just described is applicable for almost any balcony (assuming, of course, you're not renting a place that doesn't allow you to make holes).
However, let's look at a few other options you can consider for hanging a hammock on your balcony.
Alternative #1: Utilizing Overhead Beams
If you have sturdy beams on your balcony that allow you to wrap a rope around them, you can hang your hammock without making any holes.
In that case, you'll want to purchase thick rope. Then, wrap the rope around the beam several times and loop the other end through your hammock's eye.
Alternative #2: Drill and No-Drill Combo
If you don't love the idea of drilling holes on your balcony, but you only have one beam to wrap rope around, consider doing a hybrid combination.
In this case, you'd drill a hole into a wall or ceiling beam. You'd then wrap the rope around your single external beam.
Alternative #3: Use a Hammock Stand
There's a reason you see more people hanging balcony hammocks from their walls, ceiling, and beams instead of using a hammock stand—hammock stands take up a lot of space.
However, they're an excellent option if you have a large balcony and don't want to drill holes in your wall.
Furthermore, many hammock stands come in attractive styles and materials, so they can offer extra décor to your balcony furniture.
The Importance of Suspension Angles
Two factors determine your hammock's suspension angle: The amount of suspension you allow between the anchor points and the person's weight using the hammock.
A hammock with too tight of a suspension angle doesn't offer the comfortable curved bed that's classic of hammocks. Furthermore, such a scenario increases the strain on whatever you're using to hold the hammock in place.
If your hammock has too much rope, you'll sink too much towards the floor, and your legs will get uncomfortable quicker from them pointing too high into the air.
Therefore, we recommend a 30-degree suspension angle to maximize your comfort and put less strain on the supporting beams.
Safety Precautions to Note When Hanging Your Hammock
There are several items you should keep in mind when hanging your hammock to avoid safety concerns. They include:
- Never hang a hammock from metal beams. Metal isn't as strong as wood beams, so your hammock could collapse.
- Check your hammock before using it. That's especially the case for balcony hammocks, where weather conditions can deteriorate the material quicker.
- Always use a rope to make your hammock reach a beam instead of stretching the bed itself. A stretched hammock increases the risk of it tipping over with you in it.
- If you tie your hammock to a beam, it should have a minimum diameter of six inches.
- Don't hang your hammock more than 18 inches off the ground. The higher it is, the greater risk of injury if it breaks.
- Never put more weight in your hammock than the instructions recommend.
While we're on the subject of weight, it's important that you test how well your hammock handles weight before you lay in it for the first time.
To do so, try setting a pile of books or other heavy material in your hammock. If you can't get the weight to add up to a person, that's okay. Just get it as close as possible.
If all goes well with the book test, gently sink your body weight into the hammock. Then, lift your feet off the ground. If all goes well with that, then it's safe to lie down.
Now that you know how to hang a hammock on a balcony, we hope you're inspired to get the process started.
The important items to remember are to select a suitable hammock for your space and secure the hammock using the safety precautions we described.
If you end up realizing that you hung your hammock too far off your balcony's floor, this might comfort you as you redo your work—there's a 400-foot-high hammock that hangs over a canyon in the Moab Desert in Utah.
Now that's high!