In space-starved homes, chic and engaging balconies are in demand. From reading to small gatherings, a lot can happen at the balconies.
How can one pick the right design for the balcony at home? Experts share insights.
Keeping it seamless
Rishad Khergamwala, director of developments, MAIA Estates, Bengaluru, worked with a multi-use balcony space that connects to the living area at a Bengaluru residential project (named Pelican Grove). The space features a glass balcony railing with a marble-skirting detail. The living area also features marble, making the balcony feel like its extension, he shares.
The balcony floor is articulated using vitrified tiles in randomised patterns to break the monotony. The aesthetic is further softened by a wooden ceiling soffit (underside of the roof). In one section, we have a cosy seating area for reading. In the middle, we have a bar, and in the third section, we have a jacuzzi, he illustrates. At night when the jacuzzi lights are on, it glistens against the ceiling soffit along with the reflection of water creating a magical vibe. When you have a long deck, dividing the space for multiple purposes is a wise idea, he says.
At the terrace level of this project, Rishad created a balcony lounge that takes in a spectacular view of Jakkur lake. He used glass balcony railings here, which lend a sense of seamlessness to space while accentuating the views. “We used a deck flooring that ends at the glass railing to make it appear like the space is on top of the clouds,” he remarks.
In place where one experiences strong wind, Rishad recommends a 1.65-meter-high terrace railing in place of the traditional 1.1 meters. It allows for a windbreaker feel, which will let you enjoy the space even on a windy day, he says. Set up balconies at points that give maximum vantage. Place them on the east (the cooler section). Go for indirect lighting in the skirting or floor level for terrace balconies, he suggests.
A series of interactive indoor balconies at the SIS Bungalow, Chennai, which overlook the atrium space on the floor below, were created by Varsha Jain, principal architect with Creative Architects and Interiors, Chennai. These establish a connection across the two floors. The space features an Armani brown marble floor and handrails made of cast iron and travertine stone. “The home also features an open-to-sky balcony with a Moroccan-style (matching the bedroom theme) fountain in the center,” she notes.
Go-tos for good looks
For balcony aesthetics, decking is our go-to, says Rishad. This allows for subsystem drainage, so you don’t have any ugly finishes on the floor. Take utility zones to the rear side of your façade, he offers.
Prathima Seethur, principal architect with Wright Inspires, Bengaluru, created a walkout terrace balcony with sides covered for privacy at a Bengaluru home. It features a terracotta roof and exposed brick masonry walls. “Since this was a west-facing balcony that gets heated up easily, we added jaali openings to draw in air,” she notes. In a city context, unless you have good views around, it’s best to close the sides and open the space to the sky, she says. These are called courtyard balconies, popular today for an outdoor feel that doesn’t compromise privacy.
Prathima prefers creating light patterns using terracotta pergolas and jaali roofs for balconies. Sunlight patterns change the mood throughout the year. So you can add a daybed swing and complete the look with a stone floor or green lawn, she adds.
Inspiration from around
It is important to count on locally available, natural materials for the right colours and textures in balconies, says George E Ramapuram, managing director of Earthitects, Bengaluru. “These are best fits for the context and climate of the place, and help shrink your carbon footprint,” he says. At a Kalpetta residential project, George opted for stone flooring with black oxide edges. The railing features insect-repelling eucalyptus logs as the top members and teak wood for the smaller members.
Design according to the users and what is around — their living area balconies are larger, open, and allow conversations to flow. “For bedrooms, you will want a more narrow, private, and quiet balcony,” he notes.
Dean D’Cruz, principal architect with Mozaic, Goa designed a slanting balcony railing at an Olaulim residence. The railing here appears to emerge from the building. They work when there are great views and just basic security and privacy needs, he says. At another Goa project, he worked with a property that was on a waterfront. Inspired by it, he shaped the balcony space like a ship’s deck.
Walkway-cum-balconies are another way to enhance connection with nature. Dean explored this idea at a Goan home where he created a passage with a pause deck in between to appreciate the forested area.
- Treat your decks with Linseed oil. This complements the effect of aging on wood, says Rishad.
- Use outdoor exterior-grade furniture.
- Add greenery to help filter out the dust.
- Balancing the design of the balcony and the user’s needs with the overall façade aesthetic.
- Ensuring security is a challenge, says Prathima.
Depending on the design, the cost of building a balcony space varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 per sq ft.