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Balcony vs. Patio: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 18, 2024
A balcony is an elevated platform projecting from a wall of a building, often with a railing, while a patio is a ground-level outdoor area usually used for dining or recreation.

Key Differences

A balcony is typically a small, elevated platform attached to the side of a building, enclosed by walls or railings. In contrast, a patio is a ground-level outdoor space, often adjoining a house, and is open to the sky.
Balconies are accessed through the building, offering private outdoor space, usually for small gatherings or personal relaxation. Patios, being on the ground floor, are more accessible and often used for larger gatherings, barbecues, or as an extended outdoor living area.
Balconies are constructed as part of a building's architecture, often made of concrete, steel, or wood. Patios are usually made from concrete, pavers, stone, or brick, and are separate from the main building structure.
Balconies, being elevated, often provide a panoramic view and a degree of privacy from street level. Patios, on the other hand, are more integrated with the garden or backyard, offering a more immersive outdoor experience but with less privacy.
Maintenance for balconies involves ensuring structural safety and dealing with limited space. Patios require regular upkeep of the surface and landscaping but offer more flexibility for changes and decoration.

Comparison Chart


Elevated, attached to a building
Ground-level, adjacent to a building


Generally smaller
Can be larger and more spacious


Accessed through the building
Directly accessible from the ground

View and Privacy

Often provides a better view and more privacy
More open, less privacy but closer to nature


Made of concrete, steel, or wood
Constructed from concrete, pavers, or stone


Suited for small gatherings, personal relaxation
Ideal for larger gatherings, outdoor activities

Balcony and Patio Definitions


An elevated platform on the exterior of a building.
She stood on the balcony, admiring the city skyline.


A courtyard, especially one that is open to the sky.
Their Spanish-style home had a beautiful central patio.


A platform enclosed by a railing, above ground level.
They enjoyed breakfast on their private balcony every morning.


An outdoor space for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence.
They hosted a barbecue on the patio last weekend.


A small terrace attached to a room or apartment.
Their apartment had a balcony overlooking the garden.


A paved area outside a home.
The patio was adorned with potted plants and outdoor furniture.


A gallery in a church or hall.
The choir performed from the church's balcony.


A terrace for leisure activities adjacent to a house.
She relaxed on the patio with a book in the afternoon sun.


An upper floor projecting from the rear over the main floor in a theater.
We watched the play from the balcony seats for a better view.


A landscaped outdoor area for entertaining.
They added string lights to the patio for a cozy evening ambiance.


A platform that projects from the wall of a building and is surrounded by a railing, balustrade, or parapet.


An outdoor space for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence and is often paved.


A gallery that projects over the main floor in a theater or auditorium.


A roofless inner courtyard, typically found in Spanish and Spanish-style dwellings.


(architectural element) An accessible structure extending from a building, especially outside a window.


A paved outside area, adjoining a house, used for dining or recreation.


An accessible structure overlooking a stage or the like.


An inner courtyard typical of traditional houses in some regions of Spain.
The flat looks out on a patio on one side and a churro café on on the other.


A platform projecting from the wall of a building, usually resting on brackets or consoles, and inclosed by a parapet; as, a balcony in front of a window. Also, a projecting gallery in places of amusement; as, the balcony in a theater.


A paved yard or floor where ores are cleaned and sorted, or where ore, salt, mercury, etc., are trampled by horses, to effect intermixture and amalgamation.


A projecting gallery once common at the stern of large ships.


In Spain, Spanish America, etc., a court or courtyard of a house or other building; esp., an inner court open to the sky.


An upper floor projecting from the rear over the main floor in an auditorium


A usually paved area adjacent to a dwelling, used for outdoor lounging, dining, receptions of guests, etc.


A platform projecting from the wall of a building and surrounded by a balustrade or railing or parapet


Usually paved outdoor area adjoining a residence


How is a patio different from a balcony?

A patio is a ground-level outdoor space, often larger than a balcony.

What materials are patios usually made of?

Patios are often made of concrete, stone, pavers, or bricks.

Is a balcony considered private space?

Generally, balconies are private, belonging to a specific apartment or room.

Can patios have a roof?

Yes, patios can be covered with a roof, pergola, or awning.

Can a balcony be enclosed?

Yes, some balconies are enclosed with glass or screens.

What is a good size for a patio?

It varies, but a patio should accommodate your outdoor activities comfortably.

What is a balcony?

A small, elevated platform extending from the side of a building.

How do you furnish a patio?

With outdoor furniture, plants, lighting, and décor suitable for weather conditions.

Can a balcony be extended?

It's possible but requires permission and adherence to building codes.

Are balconies safe for children?

Balconies should have safety railings, but supervision is recommended for children.

What is the best flooring for a patio?

Durable materials like concrete, tiles, or natural stone are popular choices.

Can you grill on a balcony?

It depends on building regulations, but often grilling is restricted on balconies.

Do balconies add value to a property?

Yes, balconies often increase property value by providing outdoor space.

How does a balcony drain rainwater?

Balconies have drainage systems to channel water away from the building.

How do you maintain a patio?

Regular cleaning, sealing the surface, and maintaining furniture and plants.

Are patios environmentally friendly?

They can be, especially when using sustainable materials and native plants.

What is a Juliet balcony?

A very small, decorative balcony, often without an accessible platform.

How to light a patio for nighttime use?

Using outdoor lights like string lights, lanterns, or built-in lighting.

Is planning permission required for a balcony?

Often yes, particularly if it involves structural changes to a building.

Can you enclose a patio?

Yes, patios can be enclosed with screens or glass for extended use.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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