6 Products to Make the Most Out of Your Fire Escape This Summer

Posted On Wed, June 8, 2016 By

Posted On Wed, June 8, 2016 By In apartment living 101, Features, NYC Guides, Products

6sqft’s series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we’ve found products that can help turn your fire escape into a mini warm weather oasis. 

If your fire escape is the closest you’ll get to a backyard this summer, fear not–6sqft has dug up some products that will turn this tiny space into much more than a place to set up some potted herbs. From grills to desks, we’ve found six clever items that require nothing more than the railing of your fire escape. Of course, consult your lease and talk to your landlord before installing them (technically putting objects on the fire escape is illegal, however they’re becoming a thing of the past due to safety concerns), but once you get the go-ahead these designs are sure to maximize your outdoor enjoyment.

Michael Hilgers, balcony-desk, BalKonzept, outdoors desk, balcony table, Rephormhaus, recyclable polyethylene plastic, colorful design

1. BalKonzept ↑

6sqft previously featured German designer Michael Hilgers‘ balcony desk known as BalKonzept. The lightweight piece simply hooks onto the rail of a fire escape to function as a desk, dining table, or even a bed for your four-legged friend. It comes in a variety of colors and does double duty as a planter (though we can also see the cavity working well as an ice bucket to keep drinks chilled).

Eckling planter, Michael Hilgers, fire escape furniture, balcony furniture

2. Eckling ↑

But if you want the planter without the desk, Hilgers also has created Eckling, what he says is the first planter made for balcony rail corners. The 90-degree mounting corner makes it easy to snap on, and like BalKonzept, it comes in a variety of colors to pretty up your outdoor space.

Sky Desk, Torafu Architects, fire escape furniture

3. Sky Desk ↑

If you want a platform that’s a little simpler and more compact, Torafu Architects have created the Sky Desk. Its clever locking system hooks onto a railing, and the cedar platform is the perfect size for a laptop or couple of drinks.

clamp-on bird feeder, Duncraft, balcony furniture

4. Clamp-on Bird Feeder ↑

A lot of balcony accessories are made for wooden decking, but Duncraft has several bird feeder hooks that clamp on as opposed to screwing in. They come in a variety of sizes, some of which can swivel in to make refilling food easy.

balcony tea light holders, Esschert Design

5. Balcony Tealight Holders ↑

Want to add some natural candlelight on the fire escape, but don’t want to risk knocking them over? These petite stainless steel holders from Esschert Design use silicone loops to attach to the railing for a no-worry glow. Consider adding citronella candles for bug-free enjoyment.

Bruce Handrail Grill, fire escape grill, Henrick Drecker

6. Bruce Handrail Grill ↑

This compact grill is a much more summer-friendly option that firing up the George Foreman and filling your apartment with smoke and meat odors. Designed by Henrick Drecker, the Bruce Handrail Grill is shaped like a flower box and hangs from the railing freeing up space that a traditional charcoal grill would use. It’s also pretty affordable at $78.


Editor’s Note: It’s technically illegal to put objects on a fire escape in NYC or use it as a balcony. However, due to recent issues over safety concerns and shifts in the building code, many buildings are losing their outdoor fire escapes in place of fireproof interior stairwells, which are now seen as the emergency exit of choice.


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