Difference Between Terrace and Balcony

Terraces may also be completed isolated and detached from buildings.

Balcony refers to a platform protruding from the walls of a building. Balconies are always connected to rooms –or corridors- within the residence and have parapets enclosing them.

Terrace vs Balcony

The main difference between a terrace and a balcony is their location. The former is usually located on the top of a building, frequently used as an area for leisurely activities.

Terrace vs Balcony

The access to a balcony is limited and guarded by a single gateway, as it is located within the residence. Due to its location, a balcony is much more enclosed than a terrace.

A terrace is comparatively more exposed and also encompasses multiple entry points.

Comparison Table Between Terrace And Balcony

Parameters of ComparisonTerraceBalcony
LocationA terrace is commonly located on a rooftop or a raised platform.A balcony is always located as an extension of a room or corridor. It is an architectural structure protruding out of a building.
SizeTerraces are large open spaces.The size of a balcony is much smaller than that of a terrace.
Special OrganizationTerraces are large spaces. They are famed for their spacious character.Balconies are enclosed by the walls of the building, the parapet or with rails. They are partially open but are much more restricted than terraces.
AccessibilityAs large open spaces, they can have multiple access points.As enclosed spaces, they can only be accessed through the indoor rooms and corridors.
Architectural OrientationThey can be constructed as standalone structures.They cannot be constructed as standalone structures.

What is a Terrace?

Originating from the Latin linguistic family, the word terrace connotes ‘earth’. Terraces have been an indispensable and conspicuous part of architecture since pre-historic times.

They were a prominent part of Greek architectural designs. Terraces are large, open, spacious areas commonly located on the rooftops of buildings.

However, they can also be constructed on raised platforms outdoors. The distinguishing feature of a terrace is its spacious location.

Usually, there are multiple access points to enter a terrace. This is because it is a relatively open space.

Throughout history, their usage has varied. During the medieval age, they were used as primary gardening spaces by the Egyptians.

In 1500s Venice, they were used as spaces for laundry. Rooftop terraces gained immense popularity in New York during the 1890s.

The rooftop summer party trend gripped New York’s social elites. Today, they are commonly used for recreational purposes like sitting, strolling or even gardening.


What is a Balcony?

A significant amount of literature has been produced about the use and importance of balconies. They have a rather interesting and eventful history of evolution.

Greek architecture has beautiful balconies interspersed throughout its landscape. In certain languages, the term balcony means a large window.

The consistency in all the varied definitions of a balcony is that it is an enclosed space that protrudes out of a building. It is usually connected to corridors or rooms inside the residence.

Much like terraces, their usages have changed over the years. The role of balconies in the advent of surveillance mechanisms has also been widely studied.

They were used by rulers in ancient Rome to address gatherings. They were initially developed as natural ventilators to effectively filter in sunlight and fresh air.

Over the years this function has remained constant, but other social uses have been added to balconies. They are frequently used as spaces for spending leisurely time.

The aesthetic importance of balconies has been augmenting over the years. The only permissible access pathways to balconies are through the rooms and corridors of the indoor space.


Main Differences Between Terrace and Balcony

  1. The first important difference between the two is in terms of their location. Terraces are usually located on rooftops or raised platforms. They may also be located on the space adjoining buildings. Balconies, on the other hand, are located as adjunct architectural features of buildings. They are architectural forms protruding out from buildings and are usually enclosed with walls.
  2. Accessibility of terraces and balconies is also quite different. Terraces are more easily accessible than balconies, as they are open spaces. They can have multiple access points. Balconies are solely accessible through the indoor rooms and corridors.
  3. The next difference between the two is in terms of spatial organization. Terraces are inevitably open spaces. Balconies on the other hand are enclosed spaces. They are enclosed with walls or railings and can never be completely open spaces.
  4. The difference in the size of the two structures also posits a valid point of difference. A terrace is usually a much larger space compared to a balcony. Due to the location of a balcony, its size is invariably smaller than a terrace.
  5. Terraces can be standalone structures. They can be constructed on rooftops or as extensions of the building. But they can also be constructed as detached structures on raised platforms. Balconies can only be constructed as an extension of indoor spaces. They cannot be constructed as standalone structures.
Difference Between Terrace and Balcony


Both terraces and balconies have a rich architectural history spanning over several decades. These architectural forms are often confused and their nomenclature is frequently used interchangeably.

However, there exist significant differences between these two architectural structures in terms of location, size, accessibility, spatial organization and architectural orientation. A terrace is a comparatively large, open space located on the rooftop or a raised platform.

It has multiple points of access due to its size and spacious character. A balcony is a relatively smaller area that is connected to the indoor living space.

Balconies are always enclosed by walls or rails. Accessibility of a balcony is fairly limited due to its location.

While terraces can be standalone structures, balconies cannot be imagined as detached spaces from the building. Both, however, have common social usages.

They are often used for spending leisure time and engaging in recreational activities. Gardening is also commonly pursued in both terraces and balconies.


  1. https://libarynth.org/_media/roofgarden_thesis.pdf
  2. https://www.agriculturejournals.cz/web/hortsci.htm?type=article&id=166_2018-HORTSCI
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