How to Turn Your Juliet Balcony Into Functional Space

How to Turn Your Juliet Balcony Into Functional Space

In the hands of a skilled realtor, every confounding aspect of a home can be spun into something desirable. There’s no clearer example of this than the Juliet balcony—those narrow, not-really-a-balcony things bolted to the sides of buildings. (They’re named for Romeo and Juliet, although Shakespeare didn’t actually refer to a balcony, making deception just one more crime these so-called balconies have perpetrated.) If you’ve ever gone to a real estate listing promising “private outdoor space” only to puzzle over a railing slapped over a tall window, you know the dark mystery of these “balconets.”

Any access to fresh air and more sunlight is a good thing, of course—but Juliet balconies are only marginally more effective than any old window when it comes to ventilation and natural light. So you wouldn’t be the first person to wonder how, exactly, you’re supposed to use your tiny scrap of outdoor space. Like a lot of modern “innovations” that don’t actually add much value, making a Juliet balcony work requires just a little creativity.


The most common way to make your Juliet balcony into something useful is to transform it into a garden. If you have a shallow floor to work with, some narrow planters with vertically-growing plants will work nicely, and some railing planters will add even more visual interest. If the railing has spokes, you could also consider a climbing vine to provide a natural privacy screen.

Your garden could be decorative, or you could put it to work as a vegetable garden, relying on dwarf fruit and vegetable plants (there’s even a tomato variety literally called the Patio Princess) to provide fresh food in addition to natural beauty. And if your Juliet balcony overlooks a busy city street, your lush balcony garden will hide the urban sprawl behind a much more peaceful wall of nature.

Dining area

If you enjoy eating out in the fresh air but your Juliet balcony is your only access to it, you can create a comfortable dining area with a folding rail table and some folding chairs (that can also be stored out on the balcony). Open the doors or windows to your balcony, fold out the table, and set out your meal (or coffee, or cocktails). When you’re done, everything folds up and you can close your doors or window until next time.

You could also turn your Juliet balcony into a nice little reading nook. A comfortable chair, a folding table for a beverage or a pile of books, and an arc reading lamp will make your Juliet balcony a cozy spot to catch up on your reading list while enjoying the breeze.

Outdoor kitchen

If you love to grill, having a Juliet balcony as your only “outdoor space” is disappointing. But don’t let a narrow space stop you—get yourself a rail-mounted grill and a folding rail-mounted table and you’ll be grilling up a storm in no time. Get a folding dining table and some chairs you can set up just inside, and you can serve a feast to a guest or two without smoking up your whole apartment.

If you’re not into cooking, a rail-mounted outdoor bar cabinet can transform your Juliet balcony into a great outdoor bar area for get-togethers or a quiet cocktail after dinner on your own.


If you’re living in a small space that’s bursting with stuff, a Juliet balcony might be more useful to you as a slice of extra storage. A vertical bicycle stand, for example, will allow you to store your bike on a Juliet balcony as long as there are a few inches of floor space out there. A narrow, water-resistant deck box will let you safely store a lot of stuff out there, freeing up valuable indoor storage or floor space.

Extend the balcony

If you really wish you had a real balcony but had to settle for a Juliet balcony, consider extending the balcony into your interior space. Get some wood deck tiles, start them out on the balcony, and extend them into the room a few feet. Add some container plants and a table and chairs and you have a full-size balcony and patio experience despite the fact that most of your patio space is located indoors. It’s a little unconventional, but it works.

A Juliet balcony isn’t the most useful architectural feature you can have in your home—but with a little effort it can be a lot more useful.

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