Difference between a terrace and a balcony in modern times

A balcony and terrace are both very integral parts of an architectural plan; and any house or building is as such incomplete without them. They form the open space of a house which connects the interiors with the outside world. These open areas can be used for many recreational purposes such as sports, work-outs, parties etc. They also serve as private spaces where one can leisurely sip the morning tea whilst watching the sunrise, or sit back and unwind after a long and hectic day.

Although a balcony and terrace serve almost similar purposes, there are a lot of differences between the two. The most glaring difference is that terraces are usually much bigger in area than balconies, which is a major factor that determines the end uses of the space. However, before getting into the differences between a modern day terrace and balcony it’s important to first understand their independent place in an architectural design.

Understanding Terraces-

A terrace is a raised flat area which stands on the top most surface of all the stories of a building. The word ‘terrace’ is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘Earth’, indicating the fact that a mound of earth needs to be built in order to build a terrace.

Terraces have come to serve many functions in the modern times. Beautiful terrace gardens cultivated with invigorating plants and flowers are increasingly becoming popular in urban cities, Building a terrace garden can be extremely fulfilling if you are passionate about gardening. Besides, they are your own private haven of natural beauty where you can be at peace with yourself. You can also install a Jacuzzi or a small pool in your terrace to enhance its usability.

However, not every building allows access to the terrace. And in the ones one can access the terrace, the top most storeys sell out for much more than any other floor. This is because the resident can use the terrace in whatever way he fancies, giving him a lot more usable space.

Understanding Balconies-

The word ‘Balcony’ comes from the Italian word ‘Balcone’ which means a large window. A balcony is an elevated platform extending from the wall of a building. It is usually a small area with a railing and can be attached to any of the rooms of a house.

Due to their small size balconies usually do not find as many uses as terraces. However they have their own importance as they act as an interface between the house and the outdoor surroundings. A room without a balcony often makes one feel confined and stuffy. A balcony attached to your room not only gives you a good view but also makes for an airy and comfortable environment.

Balconies make for an excellent “extension” to a room. Many people keep putted plants to give it a greener look. Many even grow creepers along the railings to try and get a small green patch in to their apartments. However, a balcony attached to the kitchen can also be used for utilitarian purposes, i.e. keeping your dishwasher, washing machine and any other appliance you may not be able to use more effectively in the house.

Difference between Terraces and Balconies-

A terrace is an entirely open and large space on the top most level of a building, whereas balconies are relatively smaller areas affixed to a room of the house. A balcony may or may not be covered depending upon the construction of the house. Some balconies extend much further than the periphery of the plot and are hence open spaces; others are contained within the framework of a house with a covering on the top.

Balconies are accessible only through the room that they are attached with and terraces will usually have independent entrances. However, it is not always necessary that a proper staircase would lead to a terrace. Many terraces might just have a fire escape as an access point.

Lastly, a balcony can be easily covered using glass whereas it is not possible to cover a terrace without a floor plan signed by authority.

Published by in How To, Tips, and Advice, on February 9th, 2011


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