For the small forged balconies that appeared in the architecture of medieval Europe, the name “French” was fixed for a long time. The French themselves call these elements decorating ancient buildings “portefenetre”, which means “window with a door”. This definition accurately reflects the essence of the classic French balcony. In the current architecture, they also found application, having undergone some design changes. What does it look like, what does a French balcony consist of in a classical and modern interpretation and what are the ways of its design?
Features of the architectural solution
In the traditional sense, the French balcony is a wrought-iron fencing of a panoramic window with large swing doors as in the photo below. Such a structure either does not have an external platform or is equipped with a small protrusion of a width of 20-30 centimeters. These balconies adorn the facade of the building, fill the room with light and air due to the high window “to the floor”. It’s impossible to keep anything there, the maximum that you can do is to step out of the apartment with a cup of coffee. Modern options involve panoramic glazing of a small part of the apartment or loggia. Forged or steel elements with tempered glass are installed outside and perform decorative functions. Inside the design and decoration of the balcony are chosen at the discretion of the owner.
Advantages and disadvantages
With all their decorative and impracticality, French balconies have a lot of advantages. Among them:
- the ability to visually expand the space of the room, decorating its interior;
- improved room isolation due to panoramic windows or window-doors;
- many design options, which are quite simple to implement;
- no need for insulation and plating, reducing the cost of balcony design;
- The spirit of romance and aristocracy, introduced by an elegant forged lattice.
Skeptics and alien romantic’s practical people will definitely pay attention to the shortcomings of the French balconies. These include:
- The inability to store some things on the balcony, to dry the laundry, exposing it for everyone to see;
- Overheating of the room in the summer and the inability to use the balcony, discomfort in the winter without additional insulation for glazed options;
- An increase in the area of cleaning when installing modern French glazing, additional costs for the installation itself, if it is carried out in private.
Types and differences in the interior and exterior of French balconies
The main difference between the types of French balconies is the presence or absence of the site. It is either very small or not at all. The design of the balcony without a playground includes flower pots or climbing plants, exterior wall décor. Inside, a part of the room adjoining the balcony is decorated with beautiful curtains, pillows on the floor or light furniture. Decorate a tiny platform will help candles, beautiful lights, soft pillows, a small ottoman or a table, flowerpots with flowers.
A typical design option for a classic balcony is a wrought-iron lattice; it is usually decorated with floral ornaments, beautiful curls, made convex. Perhaps the use of bronze plating, patina, gold or white paint. In private homes, this issue is decided by the owner himself, in an apartment building the balcony is part of the exterior and must be in harmony with the facade and other architectural elements.
Another difference lies in the design of classic and modern French balconies. The latter has not only decorative fences but also panoramic glazing, often in the whole wall.
When it comes to creating a modern version of the French balcony in a private house, the owners often stop at the design with a small protruding platform. This part is made of concrete or wood or reinforces the existing site. It is installed construction of PVC or aluminum with energy-saving double-glazed windows. Glazing must comply with the ability to support structures to withstand its weight. The lower part can be decorated with wood paneling, plastic, but usually involves modernly hinged or sliding windows-panels from ceiling to floor. Another option is to install the glass opaque from the outside, but letting in light and giving a full view from the inside.
Similar balconies adorn the modern city buildings, representing a loggia or terrace with panoramic views. Outside, they are complemented by lightweight lattices, openwork or laconic designs of glass and metal in a minimalist style. Each owner can decorate such a balcony inside at his discretion, adding warm floors, infrared heaters, and ventilation. As for the interior design, there are plenty of options from arranging a home greenhouse to a hookah corner and personal account, as in the example in the photo.
Design and Finish Options
The type and style of decoration depend solely on the tastes and fantasies of the owner of an apartment or house but is limited to the area of the balcony (if it exists at all). However, even the owners of private cottages or individual apartments on the upper floors of modern new buildings should not forget about the original purpose of the French balconies. They should bring aesthetic joy, the pleasure of beautiful views from the window, so they should be furnished accordingly, without cluttering up unnecessary furniture and not arranging a warehouse of unnecessary things.
The additional exterior decor of balconies
This option is available and the owners of French balconies with a small platform, and the owners of the designs of the glass door and curly lattice. On both sides of the window, you can hang decorative lanterns that blend in style and color with the balcony railing, as in the photo. The same applies to visors and tents. It is necessary to take into account the general appearance of the facade; it is unacceptable that your balcony is knocked out of the overall picture and looked outlandish dissonance compared to the other architectural details.
In a private house, as well as those who occupy the lower floors, you can use constructive or decorative lattices. Their ornament should coincide with the balcony lattice in style, shape, and shade. If you have conceived a modern glazed balcony door or the entire balcony, consider options with colored, frosted and tinted glass. Panoramic windows with tinted elements will muffle bright sunlight, an opaque glass will create a beautiful effect, and colored glass or film will turn your balcony door into an elegant stained glass window from our photo collection, scattering magical highlights inside the apartment.
Flowers and other plants as part of the design.
Unfortunately, to arrange a blooming garden on the classic French balcony will work only in the warm season. Winter pots, pots and pots have inside, in the heat. But with some imagination and proper selection of plants that bloom at different times of the year, even a tiny balcony can be turned into a fabulous corner. If the balcony does not have a playground, choose climbing plants that creep up the wall, beautiful varieties in pots and other mounting structures. In the presence of a small area on it, you can place a tub with a large flower or several floor vases. A French balcony is also suitable for the cultivation of edible vegetables (tomatoes, beans, and others, depending on climate and light), spicy herbs. Such a mini-garden or garden, as in the photo, will be an elegant detail of the interior balcony in the kitchen, dining room, living room or bedroom,
Design of a French balcony as a place of rest
If you are a happy owner of a balcony with modern French glazing, you have plenty of options for decorating its interior. To begin with, you should decide on the design style: it should correspond to the style of the room adjoining the balcony. For modern rooms in the spirit of minimalism, in the style of hi-tech or modern, a neutral finish will do. The floor can be covered with parquet flooring or laminate, painted walls can be painted in a calm tone, blinds, Japanese sliding curtains, Roman curtains should be hung on the windows. The furniture should be in harmony with the modern interior: choose fashionable transparent chairs, chairs with leather upholstery and a coffee table with chrome details. Perfectly fits into any interior solutions of rattan furniture, including artificial, rocking chairs, hanging hammocks, cocoon chairs, as in the photo.
If the room inside is decorated in a classic or Scandinavian style, choose light chairs and a table of light colors from wood, straw, wicker, rattan. Adjacent walls can be painted, and clapboard trim will do. For windows, you need light-colored curtains, lightweight tulle, white curtains. For apartments with high isolation, choose curtains with the “blackout” function, which do not let in sunlight. Green plants, textiles (pillows, rugs, especially relevant in rural interiors, country style design, Provence) will help to complete the design and fill the composition with comfort. In classical and provincial interiors decorative lamps will come to the courtyard: floor lamps, sconces, candlesticks, wall decoration with floral wallpaper. You can give the balcony an oriental flavor, as in the photo below, picturesquely spreading pillows on the floor, setting a low table, a hookah,
The decor of the classic French balcony is limited to its miniature size. It’s great if there is a place for a folding chair and a table surrounded by pots of flowers. You can decorate the grid with a garland and light it in the evenings, put candles on the threshold in beautiful vases, candlesticks, decorative lanterns. Soft pillows or poufs next to a miniature table or tray with coffee, champagne, pastries, and fruit will complete the romantic idyll. Inspire photos from our collection and create your own balcony interior!