7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Balcony

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Balcony

By Michele Koh Morollo
A balcony is a wonderful architectural feature that connects the indoors with the outdoors, presents homeowners with elevated views of their surroundings, and helps introduce fresh air and natural light into a home.

Sometimes however, balconies get forgotten and end up not being used as often as they could be. Here are some ideas for creating a usable and comfortable balcony space that you'll love spending time on. 

1) Allocate the Space You Need

One of the main reasons why balconies aren’t used as frequently as they could be is because they're often too small to have multiple people out there at a time. If you're given the opportunity when building a new home, think about how you want to use the area and what amount of space you'll require—whether it's entertaining, sunbathing, or grilling. If you can, try to place it in a prime spot for views, like what architect Bruce Bolander did with this canyon house on a sloping site in Malibu.

By extending the second-level balcony into a deck that wraps around the length of one side of the building, and connecting it with a staircase that leads down to the pool, the balcony of this midcentury home in Pasadena's San Rafael Hills sees high foot traffic and is always well used.

When architect Marc-André Plasse realized that he was unable to add a second story to his Montreal house due to a weak foundation, he squeezed out another 500 square feet with a clever multilevel addition on one side to create a master bedroom with an interior-facing balcony that cantilevers over the dining area.

At Casa Solo Pezo, a holiday rental property in Aragon, Spain, architect Pezo Von Ellrichshausen of Solo Office followed the proportions and interior layouts of traditional Mediterranean homes with a strong indoor/outdoor connection, and created a bedroom within a balcony terrace.

For this rural Scottish family residence, architect Andrew McAvoy created an earth-sheltered house with a Grace & Webb-fabricated, laser-cut steel balcony with artistic reed-like patterns that add a distinctive decorative element to the facade.

In Bozeman, Montana, Intrinsik Architecture designed a number of boxy decks and balconies with colorful window frames to add some liveliness to the house’s gray exterior. One of these balconies is located on the second level, right above the front door, so its owner can see his guests as they arrive, even before they ring the doorbell.

Designed by Italian architect Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo, this holiday villa in the Sicilian countryside is designed so that its wood boards can be opened to create a balcony that looks out to the countryside and sea beyond, or closed to maximize interior space.


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