Many people love the look of metal balustrades for balconies; depending on the style chosen, they can radically alter the appearance of one’s home. Wrought iron metal balustrades for balconies add a classic, opulent look to one’s dwelling which immediately calls to mind the stately homes of the Victorian era, whereas gleaming modern railings coupled with glass lend a cutting-edge contemporary attitude to one’s abode.
Full balconies are, however, a large and complex undertaking, one which not everyone wishes to attempt; for those seeking a compromise, Juliet balconies provide an excellent alternative. Juliets are one option in balcony construction that is suited to almost all homes.
What is a Juliet Balcony?
Juliet balconies actually go by many names, with some of the other common terms for them being “faux balcony” and “balconet.” As you might have guessed, the name “Juliet” is indeed a reference to the famous Shakespearean play, “Romeo and Juliet”; during one of the most well-known scenes in English literature, Romeo meets Juliet beneath her window after she utters the immortal lines, “Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” While balconies did not exist in Shakespeare’s time, since the Victorian era, the play has often been performed with Juliet situated on either a full balcony or leaning over a balconette at her window. As such, the term Juliet balcony began to show up in architecture catalogs dating from the 1920s. (Many buildings built during that decade still have their original iron Juliet balconies, owing to the incredible durability of wrought iron.)
A Juliet balcony is typically a very shallow balcony surrounding a second story floor-to-ceiling window. Today, these balconies are made from a wide range of materials, utilising everything from classic wrought iron to steel to lightweight aluminum and glass. While the use of metal balustrades for balconies remains common, some modern designs forgo metal bars altogether in favour of thick pieces of glass.
Why Install a Juliet Balcony?
The practical benefits of Juliet balconies are not always immediately obvious; some people decry the fact that they give the “illusion” of a balcony without providing an actual outdoor space, but this view is a bit short-sighted. While full balconies are of course charming in many ways, Juliet balconies come with their own distinct set of advantages, such as:
Juliet balconies add value to your home, without requiring a large investment: Juliet balconies greatly enhance the way one’s home looks when viewed from the outside, substantially adding to its “curb appeal”. They offer an easy way to add visual interest to a plain home which might not otherwise capture the fascination of buyers, allowing you to sell your home for thousands of pounds more than you would be able to otherwise.
Juliet balconies are very cost effective and easy to install: Adding a full balcony to a home that was not built with one can be costly, whereas Juliet balconies are typically quite reasonable expense-wise. They are also much simpler to install; they do not require the foundations of a property to be re-evaluated to accommodate them, making them a very popular option for refurbishment and renovation projects. Likewise, in some areas where it is not permitted to install a full balcony, a Juliet may be allowed.
There is also more than the initial expense to consider when weighing up the difference between a Juliet and a full balcony; full balconies require a great deal more maintenance over time, as they are exposed to the elements constantly. Water damage can crack concrete, for example, leading to the need for costly repairs on one’s already costly investment. If you live near the coast, where it is especially damp and hostile, a Juliet balcony may therefore be a more logical option.
Juliet balconies allow you to enjoy the outdoors without being exposed to the elements yourself. With a Juliet balcony, when the weather is fair, one can simply open the floor-to-ceiling window and let sunshine and fresh air stream into the home, creating the sense of having an outdoor space without having to leave the comfort of one’s own home. One can easily enjoy this effect without having to sit outside in the harsh sun, be exposed to wind, etc.
Many people compliment their Juliet balconies with an array of houseplants, a nearby chair and table set, and other accoutrements which come together to create a sort of café-like ambiance.
Juliet balconies are quite safe. Juliet balconies are designed to strict standards; those with metal bars have the bars placed too close together for a child to fit through, and those made of glass are of course impossible to penetrate. Many parents find they feel more at ease with this style of balcony than they do with a full one, especially given that the window facing the balcony may be shut and locked when one is not around.
Likewise, if you already have a large upstairs window in place (and are concerned about potential safety hazards), adding a Juliet balcony to it is the perfect way to ensure the safety of pets and children in the home.