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17,648 Balcony Ideas

Set Up Your Balcony for Year-Round Comfort

Here are 10 tips to make even the tiniest lofted outdoor space a sought-after spot for relaxing

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Balcony Ideas

A small space with huge potential, balconies are the unsung heroes of the exterior design world. A balcony has the ability to beautify an otherwise boring facade and up a home’s curb appeal while simultaneously housing a garden, workout area, storage unit or reading nook. Browse the wide range of outdoor balcony decorating ideas on Houzz, and find the ideal balcony design and style for your home.

What is a balcony, exactly?

Not to be confused with a patio or deck, a balcony is a compact outdoor platform that protrudes from the side of a building or home, typically on higher level floors, confined by balustrades or walls and reinforced by columns or brackets. Balconies are only accessible from the inside of the building through either a door or a window, and range from purely ornamental to highly functional.

What type of balcony design do I have?

There are three main designs available. Consider the following balcony types to figure out what kind you currently have (or want to have!).

True balcony. This most traditional type is also the most common, and includes a substantial deck area, surrounded by railing, usually designed for the second or third story of a home. A true balcony is a large part of a home’s exterior design and expands the square footage of a building.

Faux balcony (Juliet balcony). While the term “Juliet balcony” may elicit visions of Romeo and Juliet, funnily enough, a Juliet balcony can’t actually hold a person! Faux balconies can be installed on existing homes, traditionally part of an upper floor, used purely as ornamental window decorations.

False balcony. A balcony with a railing and small deck that is only about six inches deep. False balconies can easily be installed on existing homes and are utilized primarily to block off a large window opening or doorway.

What kind of balcony railing is available?

If you are currently building a new home or considering a balcony remodel, there are a variety of balcony railings to choose from. As you browse balcony designs and make note of your preferred railing materials, consider the pros and cons of each option below:

Wood railing. Wood is an affordable and classically beautiful material to outfit a balcony with, and it is usually less expensive than aluminum, steel, vinyl and wrought iron railing. While wooden railing is easily customizable, wood does break down with age and exposure to the elements, and issues like splintering, warping, swelling and decay can all occur, requiring continuous upkeep and maintenance.

Aluminum railing. Aluminum is quickly rising in popularity as a balcony railing material thanks to its simple beauty, easy maintenance and overall sturdiness. Aluminum balcony railing comes in a variety of colors and styles, and is able to withstand all types of weather conditions. However, aluminum lacks the customization ability of other materials, such as wood.

Vinyl railing. Vinyl balcony railing is a durable, weatherproof option that requires very little maintenance or upkeep. However, this type of railing is usually confined to a few color selections, and certain options can be made of cheap or recycled material that is not suitable for safety or stability.

Wrought iron railing. Wrought iron balcony railing is timelessly beautiful and easily customizable; additionally, given their decorative nature and thinner build, you can focus on the balcony design itself instead of being distracted by the railing. On the flip side, metal railing is not ideal for locations that experience extreme weather conditions or are close to saltwater, as this will increase the maintenance around rust and corrosion.

Glass railing. A highly modern option, clear glass balcony railing is a popular pick due to its minimalist appeal, ability to provide unobstructed views and overall durability. However, glass railing does err more on the expensive side and requires constant maintenance to keep it clean.

What kind of balcony decorating ideas should I consider?

When it comes to outdoor balcony design, simplicity is key. Given the smaller nature of a balcony, you don’t want to clutter it and render it ineffective, especially if you are also hoping to use it for some kind of storage. To get a sense of what strikes your fancy, browse the numerous balcony pictures on Houzz, and consider the following balcony design ideas to help you transform your outdoor platform into an outdoor oasis.

Balcony lighting. When it comes to balcony decor, unique lights are a great opportunity to combine functionality with flair, and an essential (and relatively inexpensive) component that will instantly upgrade your space. Consider hanging a string of bulbs across your balcony cover or railing, or — if regulations allow — consider a standalone fire pit or small barbecue. A glass lantern or large pillar candle will also provide some light as well as create an elegant ambiance.

Balcony gardening. As you browse various balcony photos, you’ll notice that modern-day balcony gardens have evolved into lush landscapes and botanical retreats. While balconies have traditionally been associated with whimsical plants like climbing ivy, they are now synonymous with lush herb gardens, vertical planters, succulent arrangements, hanging plants, flowering shrubs and much more. If you are concerned about security or solitude (or both), you don't need to sacrifice style — bamboo makes for an excellent privacy screen and is a beautiful addition to any outdoor area.

Balcony furniture. There is a huge variety of outdoor furniture one can choose to outfit their balcony with. If you’re looking to create a solo escape from the real world, consider a hammock or hanging chair, which will contribute to a dreamy, relaxed vibe. On the other hand, an l-shaped sofa or love seat is a genius space-saving solution for someone who is looking to sit, socialize and soak up some sun with a few friends. If your balcony is going to become a regular go-to for activities like meals or coffee, invest in a table and chairs.

Balcony storage. If you live in a small space, you might be more interested in using your outdoor platform as an outside depository. However, that doesn’t mean you need to forsake style for storage! As you consider various balcony ideas, take note of outdoor couches and love seats that also include storage, as well as cabinets and shelves that could also meet your needs — think about how you can use your space effectively going both up and side-to-side, but simultaneously create a personal space.