What Is a Juliet Balcony?

published Aug 22, 2023
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Old balcony in the oldtown
Credit: :adasvasiliauskas / Getty Images

When it comes to creating an outdoor oasis at home, it’s easy to begin by decorating your balcony or patio. Some balconies add extra floor space, where you can set up a seating area to enjoy the fresh air. Others, like the Juliet balcony, help bright natural light into the interior of a home without adding any additional outdoor living space. Juliet balconies, while primarily decorative, are a fairly easy — and inexpensive — way to bring the outdoors in. If you’ve never heard of a Juliet balcony, here’s what you need to know before considering making this kind of upgrade in your space. 

What is a Juliet balcony? 

A Juliet balcony, also called a mini-balcony or a balconette, is a European-inspired detail that spans the lower half of a floor-to-ceiling window or pair of doors. “They are often used on the street side of the house as a decorative element and as a vehicle for additional light and air,” says New York–based interior designer Lisa Frantz. “Sometimes they have a shallow floor, just deep enough for a planter or window boxes.”

What is the history of Juliet balconies? 

Juliet balconies became popular in early 18th- and 19th-century England. Like the name suggests, Juliet balconies are named after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “The play helped to coin the eponymous name as an homage to Juliet’s call for Romeo from a high-floor window,” Frantz says. 

How does it differ from a traditional balcony? 

The biggest differences between a traditional balcony and a Juliet balcony are the size and function. “A traditional balcony has a floor and enough depth to stand, and often has room for furniture — the balcony itself is a cantilevered platform tied to the structure of the house,” Frantz explains. “A Juliet balcony is attached directly to the house and typically has no floor, making it mostly decorative.”

Why is a Juliet balcony used? 

Rooted in classical architectural styles, Juliet balconies are used on both contemporary and traditional homes and apartment buildings, Frantz says. “Often made of decorative iron, Juliet balconies are an easy and cost-effective way to dress up the curl appeal of the home and to bring the outdoors in,” she says. Though Juliet balconies can exist on any level of a building or structure, you typically see them on higher floors. 

Looking for a little Juliet balcony inspiration? These five facades will show you this architectural feature’s range, so you can look for apartments or homes with Juliet balconies in the future — or maybe even add one to yours for a little bit of extra curb appeal. 

Credit: Shutterstock / Lavinia Mazdul

Window with a View

A balcony so beautiful Juliet herself would have loved it! The flower boxes across the top of the railing add a romantic touch.

Credit: Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Planters on Planters 

Create an outdoor garden right beyond your window with flowers and plants. The potted flowers on this Juliet balcony feel like an oasis when they’re in full bloom; some are sitting on the little bit of floor space the balcony offers, while others are placed and secured directly on the railing.

Credit: Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

A Living Wall

These Juliet balconies have a narrow floor, just big enough to fit a row of large pots. The lush, overgrown greenery adds a living “wall” of privacy. 

Credit: Imran Khan's Photography / Shutterstock

Modern and Minimalist

The clean lines of this simple, modern Juliet balcony add visual interest to the exterior of this building, even without any decorations on them. French doors open up to let the fresh air in. 

Credit: :adasvasiliauskas / Getty Images

Trailing Greenery

The iron railing on this Juliet balcony is dressed up by entwined ivy leaves. With windows that open, you can get a better view — and a little bit of fresh air and extra greenery — from the comfort of your home, thanks to a Juliet balcony.