Juliet balconies are named after Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. These are not true balconies, but rather are usually a part of an upper floor and do not project from the building. Instead, there are walls on the sides and a balustrade in the front. A balustrade, from the French and Italian words for pomegranate flower, is a series molded shafts that stand on a footing and support the handrail of the balcony.
The small space is designed to make a space feel larger and lighter, and as such is very popular in crowded cities, where outdoor space is hard to find. The large glass opening can make the outdoors feel directly connected to the indoor room, and both the light and aeration of the space will be enhanced. Gardens are also a valuable commodity in a city, and a Juliet balcony can allow for a garden of sorts by adding planters and hanging plants in the space.
Unlike a traditional protruding balcony, the Juliet balcony is not for extra space or entertaining, but instead are to add an outdoor feel to an indoor space. Many Juliet balconies still hold with the traditional shape of a narrow rectangle surrounded by a stone balustrade with glass doors leading inside.
The best spatial advantage is taken when the doors open inwards. The popularity of the Juliet balconies is growing, and some are even converting existing windows by exchanging the windows for double doors or French doors, with the balcony fixed to the external architecture for safety and for the beauty of design.
Because of the strength and sturdiness of iron, it is often used for Juliet balconies. It is also very malleable, which allows for many shapes. The downside to a large iron piece, however, is that they are very heavy. The iron on the Juliet balcony may pull away from the exterior of the house and the repair is fairly expensive.
One alternative to iron is aluminium, which is strong but light. However, aluminum is much more difficult to shape, making the balcony more function than form. Juliet balconies have a strong European influence and have a strongly traditional background, but several more recent manufacturers have been integrating more modern materials into their designs.