The Art Of The Balcony: 8 Designs That Inspire

For people who live in condos and apartments, their balcony is an essential outdoor living space that has become more necessary than ever before. They can be an outdoor dining room, a reading nook, a fitness center or even a stage for performances; but most importantly they are safe spaces of retreat. Architecture often goes through trends of change, but one thing that has survived throughout history is the importance of having a balcony to expand your living space and to allow easy access to fresh air and views. Architects who realize this also know that balconies can add visual interest to help set their buildings apart from the rest.

Thinking about all this inspired me to put together a collection of beautiful balconies I’ve photographed in the past. Each of these designs is a unique solution to creating an outdoor space with varying degrees of privacy, shelter, and room to move around.

#1 Toronto - Multi-Coloured Micro Balconies

Toronto, Canada | Photo by Alan Chakota

This first image is a great example of how balcony design can bring visual interest to a building’s facade. The colourful glass panels brighten up the otherwise flat gray building, giving it personality and excitement. Although these balconies can fit one or two people, they don’t give enough room to be considered an outdoor living space. The staggering of the balcony locations offer more privacy than their upstairs neighbors, who have larger balconies but a glass panel is the only thing between them and the adjacent unit.

#2 Copenhagen - Sunny Yellow Sanctuary

Copenhagen, Denmark | Photo by Alan Chakota

These warm and welcoming alcoves are an example of how even the smallest spaces can have a large impact. These balconies present the same size issue as our earlier building, but the combination of asymmetry, warm colour, and complete privacy gives it a touch of whimsy that can’t help but make you smile. The solid surround makes the space feel cozy and inviting. And from the sidewalk, the white frames create little snapshots into the lives occurring inside. 

#3 Copenhagen - Forest Green Hideaway

Copenhagen, Denmark | Photo by Alan Chakota

#3 Copenhagen - Forest Green Hideaway

This building does a fantastic job of blurring the lines between public and private space. A unique mixture of materials create an illusion, causing the balconies to disappear. Thin vertical posts repeat at random locations to allow each unit some privacy while still being open to the fresh air and sunshine. The colour palette and integration of plants give you the calm feeling of being in nature, even though you’re in an urban environment. The final result is truly a retreat from reality just outside your door.

#4 Toronto - Staggered Outdoor Spaces

Toronto, Canada | Photo by Alan Chakota

These monolithic-style balconies, while simple in form, attract the viewer’s attention with their staggered pattern. Their large size allows the user to have functional outdoor living space that can act as an extension of their home. Both the staggered pattern and the concrete surround offer privacy from neighbors and protection from varying weather elements.

#5 Copenhagen - Triangular Shaped Balconies

Copenhagen, Denmark | Photo by Alan Chakota

The balconies on this building capture the viewer’s attention with their fascinating shape. Although they have been artistically crafted, the architect has chosen to sacrifice function in order to achieve this design aesthetic. The unique layout of these balconies helps to maximize the views of each unit. But still, the awkward steep triangle limits the kind of furniture arrangements you can have, making it harder to live in.

#6 Vancouver - Harbour View Canopies

Vancouver, Canada | Photo by Alan Chakota

The architect of this building provides a creative solution to the design of these functional outdoor spaces. A distinctly shaped canopy, meant to mimic the sailboats docked in the nearby harbour, offers shelter from the elements without sacrificing style. The repetition of this shape as one balcony folds into the next also gives privacy to the owner.

#7 Mississauga - Marilyn Monroe Towers

Mississauga, Canada | Photo by Alan Chakota

Famously known for being inspired by a woman’s figure, these curved balconies are truly inspiring. The balconies surround the outside perimeter of every unit giving the owner lots of outdoor space to occupy. Semi-transparent glass adds a texture to the facade while also adding a layer of privacy to the balcony.

#8 Toronto - Condo Balconies With Contrast

Toronto, Canada | Photo by Alan Chakota

These eye-catching balconies boast a unique shape using materials that stand up to the harsh Canadian weather. The white perforated paneling on the balconies contrast with the dark clear glass of the windows to create a fascinating facade you can’t take your eyes off of. Even though this building is densely populated, the balcony fronts create an illusion of total privacy.

I hope this article serves as inspiration for your next project or perhaps motivates you to get out and observe some of the balconies in your area as well.

Words by:

Alan Chakota and Emilia Majerus.