Know the Definition Before You Buy

Balcony in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
Balcony in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Alina Vincent Photography, LLC/E+ Collection/Getty Images

A balcony is a supported exterior protrusion on a building's facade. A balcony's floor is usually level with the floor from which it protrudes, which is not the floor level (first floor) of a building. A balcony is typically large enough for a few people to stand. Railings are used to contain the area. It may be covered or uncovered by a roof, awning, or the floor of a balcony above it.

balcony 1. A projecting platform on a building, sometimes supported from below, sometimes cantilevered; enclosed with a railing or balustrade. 2. A projecting gallery in an auditorium; a seating area over the main floor. 3. An elevated platform used in a permanent stage setting in a theater.— Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, Cyril M. Harris, ed., McGraw- Hill, 1975, p. 37.

The Word Used in a Sentence:

Juliette stepped out onto the balcony from her sleeping chamber to hear Romeo's call.

The morning breeze as it rolled in through the balcony doors carried hints of summer jasmine and wisteria.

The Pope appeared on the Balcony of the Vatican to issue the morning blessings to the dense collection of followers below in the piazza.

Types of Balconies:

  • Juliette balconies are smaller and only large enough for 1-2 people—sometimes just a railing on an open door.
  • French balconies are often the size of Juliette balconies, with French doors opening onto the protrusion.
  • Balconet: "A pseudo-balcony; a low ornamental railing to a window, projecting but slightly beyond the threshold or sill."—Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, p. 37

Marketing Definitions:

The word balcony evokes romantic images—quiet relaxation, summer breezes, privacy, solitude, and to-die-for views. Many commercial establishments use the word's imagery to entice you to buy their product.

Beware of marketing definitions (Do they mean balcony or balconet?) from people trying to sell you things, including from these sources:

  • Realtors of urban apartments
  • Cruise ships

Learn More:

  • What is a Belvedere?