Balcony vs. Terrace

What's the Difference?

Balcony and terrace are both outdoor spaces attached to a building, providing an area for relaxation and enjoyment of the outdoors. However, there are some key differences between the two. A balcony is typically a small platform that protrudes from the side of a building, usually on an upper floor. It is often enclosed by railings or walls, offering a sense of privacy and safety. On the other hand, a terrace is a larger, open space that is usually located on the ground floor or roof of a building. It can be surrounded by walls or be completely open, allowing for expansive views and more flexibility in terms of design and usage. While both balcony and terrace offer opportunities for outdoor living, the size, location, and level of privacy differ between the two.


Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash
LocationAttached to the exterior of a building, usually on upper floorsLocated on the ground floor or rooftop of a building
SizeGenerally smaller in size compared to a terraceUsually larger in size compared to a balcony
AccessAccessible through a door or sliding glass panel from a roomAccessible through a door or staircase from inside the building
UsagePrimarily used for relaxation, enjoying views, and limited outdoor activitiesOften used for various outdoor activities, dining, gardening, etc.
PrivacyMay offer less privacy due to being attached to the buildingCan provide more privacy, especially if located on a higher floor or rooftop
ConstructionUsually constructed with a solid floor and railingsConstructed with a solid floor, often with additional features like walls or parapets
ViewOffers a view of the surroundings, but may be limited by the building's heightOften provides a wider and more panoramic view of the surroundings
Photo by Collov Home Design on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to outdoor spaces, balconies and terraces are two popular options that provide a connection to the outdoors while offering different experiences. Both balconies and terraces have their unique attributes and advantages, making them desirable features in residential and commercial properties. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of balconies and terraces, highlighting their differences and similarities.

Definition and Location

A balcony is an elevated platform projecting from the wall of a building, typically enclosed by a railing or balustrade. It is usually smaller in size and located on upper floors, providing a private outdoor space for relaxation or enjoying the view. On the other hand, a terrace is an open, flat area either attached to the ground floor or on the rooftop of a building. Terraces are generally larger in size and can accommodate various activities such as dining, gardening, or hosting gatherings.

Size and Layout

Balconies are often compact in size, designed to fit a few chairs or a small table. Due to their limited space, balconies are ideal for intimate settings or for individuals who prefer a cozy outdoor retreat. On the contrary, terraces offer more room for creativity and flexibility in terms of layout and design. With their larger size, terraces can accommodate multiple seating areas, outdoor furniture sets, and even additional features like outdoor kitchens or fire pits.

Privacy and Views

One of the advantages of a balcony is the potential for increased privacy. Being elevated and enclosed, balconies offer a sense of seclusion, shielding occupants from the prying eyes of neighbors or passersby. Additionally, balconies on higher floors often provide better views, allowing residents to enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding area. On the other hand, terraces may offer less privacy due to their open nature. However, they compensate for this by providing unobstructed views and a closer connection to the immediate surroundings.

Accessibility and Safety

Accessibility is an important consideration when comparing balconies and terraces. Balconies are typically more accessible as they are directly connected to the interior of the building, often through a sliding glass door or a French window. This easy access makes balconies convenient for quick outdoor breaks or for bringing in furniture and plants. On the contrary, terraces may require navigating stairs or elevators, especially if they are located on higher floors or rooftops. Safety is also a crucial aspect, and both balconies and terraces should adhere to building codes and regulations to ensure the well-being of occupants.

Design and Aesthetics

When it comes to design and aesthetics, both balconies and terraces offer opportunities for personalization and style. Balconies, with their smaller size, can be adorned with potted plants, hanging gardens, or decorative lighting to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. They can also be enhanced with privacy screens or retractable awnings for added comfort. On the other hand, terraces provide more space for landscaping, allowing for the creation of lush gardens, green walls, or even small ponds. The larger size of terraces also makes them suitable for outdoor furniture arrangements and the inclusion of various decorative elements.

Usage and Functionality

Due to their size and layout, balconies are often used as personal retreats, providing a peaceful space for relaxation, reading, or enjoying a morning coffee. They can also serve as a small outdoor extension for apartment dwellers who lack access to a garden. On the other hand, terraces offer more versatility in terms of usage and functionality. They can be transformed into outdoor dining areas, entertainment spaces, or even mini-gyms. With their larger surface area, terraces can accommodate a wider range of activities, making them ideal for social gatherings or hosting events.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Both balconies and terraces require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity and aesthetic appeal. Balconies, being smaller in size, are generally easier to maintain. Cleaning the floor, railing, and windows is more manageable, and any necessary repairs or repainting can be done with relative ease. Terraces, on the other hand, may require more effort and resources for maintenance due to their larger surface area. Regular cleaning, pruning of plants, and inspection of any additional features like water features or outdoor appliances are essential to keep the terrace in good condition.


In conclusion, while both balconies and terraces offer outdoor spaces that connect us with nature, they differ in terms of size, layout, privacy, accessibility, and functionality. Balconies provide a more intimate and private setting, ideal for individuals or small groups, while terraces offer more space and versatility, accommodating various activities and larger gatherings. The choice between a balcony and a terrace ultimately depends on personal preferences, the available space, and the desired functionality. Regardless of the choice, both balconies and terraces can enhance the overall living experience and provide a refreshing outdoor retreat.

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