When Australian Patrick Dalton was looking for a rental apartment back in 2012, he was drawn to the large balcony and ample outdoor space of a 3,900 sq ft sixth-floor unit at The Residences at W in Sentosa Cove. That sealed the deal for the 44-year-old owner of a property firm.
Mr Dalton, who has been living in Singapore for eight years, wanted a balcony because he enjoys fresh air. He lives in the apartment with his partner, a housekeeper and two dogs.
With the proliferation of shoebox apartments these days, units with expansive balconies have generally been popular among home buyers who crave bigger space.
Apart from The Residences at W, other new condominiums that offer substantial balcony space are Sims Urban Oasis in Sims Drive and Botanique at Bartley.
Home owners prefer units with large balconies because the open space lets in natural light and ventilation and can be used as an alfresco dining area, an outdoor spot to relax in or a space for plant lovers to flex their green fingers.
Mr Dalton says: "Singapore's tropical climate makes it pleasant to spend time outdoors. And balconies make ideal spaces for recreational and entertainment purposes."
Having a balcony also means space for outdoor furniture.
Furniture retailers tell Life! they have seen a recent jump in sales of dual-nature furniture, which can be used indoors and outdoors. Outdoor furniture comes in many forms, ranging from suspended swinging chairs to loungers to bar tables and stools.
Retailers say many home owners choose to furnish their balconies and patios with furniture made of teak and stainless steel.
Mrs Susan Jensen, 60, director of furniture company Teak&Mahogany, which has a store in Pasir Panjang Road, says: "Teak is the king of wood - it neither rots nor breeds termites, which makes it ideal for outdoor furniture.
"It is also easy to clean and maintain. You just have to wipe it with a damp cloth or use teak cleaners to keep it in good condition for years."
Home owners can also opt for pieces coated with waterproof layers.
Ms Shirley Ho, manager of Singora, a multi-label firm that oversees high-end furniture brand Missoni Home, says: "Polyester coated with waterproof layers is feasible for outdoor use as it is crease-free. Canvas with a similar coating is also ideal as it is hardy, comfortable and durable without being vulnerable to weather changes."
Another rising trend in outdoor furniture is the substitution of chairs and tables with poufs, which are cushioned footstools with no backrests.
Ms Ho says: "They can be used as low tables or stools and are easy to move around and store."
When picking outdoor furniture, home owners generally consider factors such as form, function, durability and their ability to withstand the elements.
Two months ago, Mr Mark Liu, 34, a relationship manager, picked out an egg-shaped suspended swinging chair that would complement his balcony's timber deck and give it a resort feel.
But the owner of the 1,500 sq ft three-bedroom condominium in King's Road also took into account the hardiness of the piece. In the end, he felt it was a worthy buy at $269 as it was comfortable, easy to maintain and weather-proof.
"It has withstood several heavy winds and storms already," he says with a laugh.
Mr Dalton also believes that practicality is important. He owns several pieces of outdoor furniture, including an L-shaped sofa made from viro resin fibre, weather-resistant cushions, a teak folding dry bar, stainless-steel bar stools and a high bar table.
The fan of dual-nature outdoor furniture says: "The versatility of the pieces means you can put them wherever you want or change their positions when you feel like it. They are pieces worthy of investment."
Ms Jensen has some tips for home owners looking to furnish their balconies and outdoor spaces.
"Before you go to the store, have an idea of your ideal balcony and take along the measurements of the dimensions.
"Different materials combine to create different looks, so know what best fits your personality and style."
Missoni Home: 02-37/38 Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Road, tel: 6235-3396
Space Furniture: 77 Bencoolen Street, tel: 6415-0000
Wihardja: 183 East Coast Road, tel: 6344-8336
Ikea: 60 Tampines North Drive 2 and 317 Alexandra Road, tel: 6786-6868
CMYK: 27 Teo Hong Road, tel: 6410-9678
Teak&Mahogany: 100E Pasir Panjang Road, tel: 6273-8116
Marquis Qsquare: 16 Tai Seng Street, tel: 6383-0119