Some apartments only offer a Juliet balcony instead of a full-sized balcony. What are you supposed to do with the space if you can’t fit a chair on it?
You cannot sit on a Juliet balcony. They typically aren’t intended to be sat on, so they’re rarely big enough for a chair. These balconies are typically in front of French doors or large windows that can open and are meant to serve as a guard rail instead of as a balcony.
This article will discuss why people install Juliet balconies and how to make the most out of them, along with some benefits of having this feature.
The Purpose of a Juliet Balcony
Many people avoid apartments with a Juliet balcony because they seem like a poor excuse for outdoor space. Juliet balconies, which are sometimes called balconettes, are actually not supposed to be used as an actual balcony. They don’t have enough space for furniture and sometimes don’t even have enough room for you to stand.
So, what are they supposed to be used for?
They’re actually meant to be used as a guard rail. Juliet balconies are typically placed in front of large windows or French doors. They prevent you from falling and give you a sense of safety when you have your doors or window open.
They also turn your entire room into a covered balcony. When you open the doors or windows, you’re allowing fresh air and sunlight into your home. There are fully covered balconies on some apartments that have a roof and walls. These have limited sunlight exposure, but allow you to receive fresh air while you’re on it. This is what Juliet balconies accomplish.
Why Do Apartments Have Juliet Balconies?
For some people, a Juliet balcony might be a letdown when they’re looking for a new apartment. Creating a “balcony” within your home isn’t quite the same experience as actually having a balcony. If so many people don’t like to have these balconettes, why do so many apartments have them?
They’re common in Europe but are also popping up in urban areas in North America. This is typically due to zoning laws that create many restrictions. Many cities don’t encourage developers to create large balconies because the smaller ones “don’t count” when the square footage of an apartment is being counted.
Small balconies mean more room inside the apartment itself. Many developers see large apartments as more desirable over a large balcony. Large indoor spaces entice renters because there’s more room for furniture and their belongings. Balconies are open to weather and insects, making them undesirable to some people.
Juliet balconies are small enough that they don’t meet the requirements to be counted in the square footage, which is why they’re so common in tightly packed urban areas.
Don’t Sit on a Juliet Balcony
You probably don’t have enough space on a Juliet balcony to try to sit on it, but if you do, it isn’t recommended. Buildings have safety codes and regulations that they have to follow, meaning your balcony is probably safe to sit on. But you must remember that Juliet balconies, especially the tiny ones, aren’t meant to be treated as a sitting area.
Although it’s rare, it’s possible for balconies to collapse. In this article in The New York Times, a balcony built in the 1930s collapsed while a woman was sitting on it. The old balcony hadn’t been maintained properly, which is what caused it to collapse.
Some Juliet balconies are purely for decoration. While this is more common for houses, it’s possible that some apartment complexes have Juliet balconies for decoration. These decorative balconies still serve the purpose of acting as a guard rail, but they may not be as sturdy as an actual balcony.
If your balcony is so small that you can’t even stand on it, it’s probably best not to try.
How to Make Use of a Juliet Balcony
You may not be able to sit on your Juliet balcony, but you can still put it to use. Some people use them as bicycle storage, but there are far better ways to make this tiny space work for you.
Create an Indoor Balcony
Bring the outdoors inside by creating a “balcony” inside your home. Set up a table and chairs or a couch near the window or doors. Leave enough room to open them so you can let in the sunshine. Place decorative dividers, plants, or furniture around the area to block it off from the rest of your apartment. The sun will shine directly on your indoor balcony and will feel like an actual balcony.
To enhance the illusion, find small planters that will fit on the Juliet balcony so you can have some plants in front of you while you sit. You could also try to string some fairy lights on the railing to create a peaceful area to enjoy at night.
This is a great way to use the balcony as it was intended to be used. It allows you to decorate the space as you want without having to worry about furniture that can withstand extreme temperatures and precipitation.
There are larger Juliet balconies that are perfectly safe to sit on. They’re bigger than the average balconette but aren’t big enough to be considered a respectable balcony. You can place a stool or cushion on the ground along with a plant to create a tiny reading nook for you to enjoy.
Your Juliet balcony might be able to fit some planters, as long as they are tall and thin. You can plant flowers, herbs, and even fruits and vegetables. Many plants adapt well to container gardening. You might even be able to fit a small trellis that will allow you to grow vining plants like cucumbers or sweet pea.
More Benefits of a Juliet Balcony
When utilized to its full potential, a Juliet balcony will have more pros than cons. Yes, you don’t get as much outdoor space as you would with a full-sized balcony, but you might enjoy these benefits:
- Fresh air indoors. Whether your bedroom, living room, or kitchen has a Juliet balcony attached to it, you will be able to enjoy the fresh air. It can provide great ventilation in a kitchen or a calming breeze while you relax on the couch or in bed.
- Comfort for acrophobia. The fear of heights, which is called acrophobia, can prevent people from enjoying their balconies. Since a Juliet balcony creates a large indoor balcony, someone with a crippling fear of looking over the edge can enjoy the sun and breeze without having to go near the edge. Since the balcony functions as a guard rail, it might make them feel safe because of that function, as well.
- More room inside. As mentioned earlier, Juliet balconies are used so developers don’t have to decrease the square footage inside the apartment. If you have one of these, you probably have a larger living room or bedroom because of it.
Juliet balconies can’t be sat on because they’re so small. Some of the tiny ones might not even be sturdy enough to hold a person, so use caution if you want to stand on it. Juliet balconies function as a guard rail so you can open your window and turn your entire room into a covered balcony. This allows you to experience the benefits of a balcony without actually having a full-sized one.