The Development of Balconies Through the Ages
Balconies might have gone through something of a resurgence in recent years, but their origins can be traced back over the centuries. As lifestyles have developed, so have the styles of balconies. Advances in manufacturing technologies and changes in design styles are some of the ways in which balconies have developed. Once reserved exclusively for luxury houses, they are now achievable on a wide range of properties.
Balconies in History
The first types of balconies were seen in the UK during the late Georgian period. These homeowners favoured the Juliet style, or balconettes, where there was a set of upper floor doors that opened but there was no deck for standing on. They were built to provide a touch of elegance to properties and acted as a sign of the owner's wealth and standing in society. The balustrades were made with exquisite designs from wrought iron. Cast iron designs began to develop at the start of the 19th century, with the use of balconies spreading into the major cities.
The Victorian era was definitely the heyday for balconies, with more and more of them appearing on properties. They looked to other European countries for design ideas and tended to opt for decorative railings produced from cast iron.
With the start of the Edwardian period came an increase in the size of balconies. They wanted to harness the use of them for additional outdoor space and so started building them longer and wider to accommodate this need. Their preferred designs for balustrades were to use wrought iron or to carve wood into intricate patterns.
Today we are seeing an increased demand for new housing, but the space available to build these is limited. This is a particular problem in the major towns and cities, where any outdoor space is at a premium. Properties are becoming increasingly taller and thinner, with a growing number of three-storey townhouses. To make the properties as large as possible, the size of the gardens or other outdoor areas is being significantly reduced.
In order to accommodate this need for new houses in relatively confined areas, balconies are becoming increasingly popular once again. For apartments or houses with limited garden facilities, they provide homeowners with somewhere to enjoy the outdoors. They increase the available living space and effectively become an extension of the house.
Not all properties are lucky enough to have great views and, especially in cities, they can be squeezed between other buildings. This can affect the amount of natural light that comes into the property. Building a balcony on to the side allows you to fit glass patio doors, drawing more light into the rooms.
Technology has improved the design and construction of balconies, with low-maintenance materials available. Balconies are extremely versatile and allow you to create your own unique look and style. They can be combined with a range of different materials, such as wrought iron and glass, to complement the existing property style.