Even if the surface of a balcony is not considered in the calculation of the total surface of an apartment, it can greatly complete it. Therefore, it is worth taking a close look to this tiny space before buying or renting your future home.
Balconies: a few square meters, a lot of possibilities
The potential of balconies is rarely optimized though they offer interesting possibilities of layouts, notably in urban environments, where they can bring more nature into urban lives. For a reasonable cost, a balcony can be turned into a real mini-garden where flowers and vegetables grow. If you close it, it becomes a loggia, which you can enjoy both in summer and winter and use as an actual living space.
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A well exposed balcony
If a balcony is well exposed, it is a pleasant space to use; if not, it might be difficult to do something of it. It is easy to understand that a North-facing balcony, deprived of sunlight, will be much less enjoyable than a South-facing balcony with direct sunshine all day long. However, orientation is not the only criterion a buyer should take into consideration. He must also check that nothing prevents the sunlight to reach the balcony. In town, notably, it is rather frequent that a building, a wall, a tree, or anything else, shades a balcony even though the latter is well oriented. In case of doubt, do not hesitate to visit the apartment several times and in various conditions, to check that no undesired shadow darkens your charming balcony.
“A well-oriented balcony is highly enjoyable, otherwise it might turn to be unusable.”
A balcony with a pretty view and privacy
A high storey and a nice view are major advantages for your future mini-garden, but such criteria also contribute to push up prices. An obtrusive element in front of your balcony will certainly make it less enjoyable, but all is not lost. There are some tricks to gain more intimacy. Classical screens in straw or wood are an efficient solution to provide privacy, but you can also go for woven bamboo panels, which will last longer. And bamboos can be used in a different manner: planted in big decorative pots, they will provide a nice green screen. Or, obviously, you can prefer planting vines climbing along trellises, which will be as efficient. And there are a lot of other possibilities, like blinds or pergolas, or simple sunshades, which will protect you from the sun as well as from prying eyes.
“An obtrusive element in front of your balcony will certainly make it less enjoyable, but all is not lost.”
When a balcony turns into a loggia
If your balcony is closed at each end, it is possible to turn it into a loggia by closing it totally with simple or sliding windows. It then becomes a tiny veranda, an actual additional room that you can use all year long. If you opt for sliding windows, this space can be used as a classical balcony in summer and a closed veranda in winter. Though loggias are not considered in the total surface of an apartment, they can become an actual additional usable space, opening on the living room and light-flooded thanks to its wide windows.
“Loggias are not considered in the total surface of an apartment, but they can become an actual additional room.”
Check the condominium regulations
When visiting your future home, always try to forget its current configuration and to imagine, within reasonable limits, what you could do with it. Before you decide, carefully check if the condominium regulations allow you to do what you plan to do.