Not every home is lucky enough to come with a garden, or to have any outdoor space attached in the form of a balcony or terrace. So, how can people have better access to the outside without building an extension or adding an external balcony?
The answer is a Juliet balcony, a compact solution which saves space while letting light and fresh air flow inside. Named for the heroine of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Romeo & Juliet, these ‘false balconies’ are a popular feature in European apartment buildings.
If you’re not familiar with this design, you might be wondering what exactly a Juliet balcony is, how it’s different from a traditional balcony, and whether you can walk out onto a Juliet balcony or sit on one in the same way.
This blog has the answers to help you decide whether a Juliet balcony would be right for you!
Can you stand on a Juliet balcony?
A Juliet balcony is not the same as a standard balcony, which you would expect to have an outdoor floor area – whether recessed or as an extending platform. Juliet balconies do not stick out from the wall very much, if it all, so there will be no floor space to stand on.
This means you can’t step out onto the balcony or set up some chairs to sit on the balcony – it’s more like a guard rail set across the opening of an upper storey window or set of French doors. When the window or doors are open, fresh air can flow in, and you can lean out over the railing if you wish.
This is why Juliet balconies are also known as ‘false’ balconies, because they don’t actually add any usable outdoor living space to stand or sit on. Some may have a few inches to a foot or two of extending floor space, but these aren’t ‘true’ Juliet balconies, and may not have the load-bearing capacity to be walked on safely.
If you’re concerned that there’s not much point in having a ‘balcony’ that you can’t walk on and that doesn’t allow you to actually sit outside, you should consider the range of benefits afforded by Juliet balconies that still make them a desirable option.
What’s the point of a Juliet balcony?
Despite not providing more physical space to extend the home outwards, Juliet balconies offer a host of advantages, which is why they’re becoming an increasingly common choice in modern residential buildings where space is limited.
For one, Juliet balconies offer the exterior aesthetic of a real balcony, improving the appearance of the home (and likely its property value).
Secondly, the ability to have a large window or floor-to-ceiling glass doors lets more light into the room beyond, making it a more enjoyable place to live and helping to reduce electricity bills.
Thirdly, a Juliet balcony replicates the feeling of being on a proper balcony without the expense of building one, which requires a lot of consideration around building regulations and planning permissions, in addition to the higher cost of materials and labour.
How can you use a Juliet balcony?
A Juliet balcony can create a timeless look in a cost-effective way while providing a durable safety barrier, allowing you to lean on the rail and enjoy the fresh air, sunlight, and outdoor sounds while remaining sheltered from the harsher aspects of the natural elements.
It’s kind of like a covered balcony – you can set up a table and chairs or cosy area just inside, so you can sit and enjoy the window or doors being open without technically being outside. Which is also bang on trend for ‘indoor-outdoor’ living.
The best way to get the most out of this architectural feature, maximising the amount of natural light, is to opt for a Juliet balcony with a glass balustrade. You won’t need to walk outside when you can feel like you’re already there thanks to the unobstructed view!
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