What is the Difference Between a Porch, Balcony, Veranda, Patio and Deck?

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When you are tired from work and you go home to relax, where will you go directly? Will you proceed immediately to your bedroom, to the living room, to the kitchen, or to the balcony, deck or veranda?  Well, I know that you have varied answers to this question but some of us, if not man of us, would prefer spending some tine in the veranda, balcony, or deck, or wherever we want to spend our time alone. Speaking of that, what’s the difference between all these spaces in your home? Some people would use these words interchangeably but which is which really? They are certainly similar to a certain extent, however, one can not be used to mean another.  They are completely different spaces. So, let’s find out their differences here:

The porch.

The Spruce says that porches originated in early America and are often portrayed simpler than what they look now.  Traditionally, a porch before during this period was a physical open room attached to the front of a house or residence. Eventually, they evolved to mean any structure outside of the house but is attached to it that serves as a place to sit or as an access to the house. It can be large enough to accommodate various furniture, like chairs, a settee, table, etc.

A porch is described as a low structure — often with a roof — placed at the entrance of a house or building. Because it is an open space, it doe snot have windows and is an outdoor living space. Porches also can be enclosed or screened-in to provide protection from insects or extremes in weather.  The structure is external to the walls of the building but it may be enclosed in certain types of frames including walls, columns or screens, extending from the main structure. Porches were often built on houses in the early 1900s. Among their many purposes, porches:

  • Serve as an informal extension of the parlor or living room.
  • Provide shade and a place to relax during the summer
  • Used to be a form of neighborly socialization in small towns.
  • People would go for evening strolls and visit with neighbors sitting on their front porches.

The balcony.

A balcony is a platform on the outside of a building, enclosed by walls or balustrades, supported by columns or console brackets. The platform is projecting from the wall of a building, usually above the ground floor. Balconies are typically small and are not used as social spaces or for entertainment purposes, however, you can make them larger if you wish depending on your preference and requirement.

A balcony has many functions. The first one is that it functions as a space enlarger. Most importantly it serves as an area for outdoor activities especially for families who do not have a spacious yard for their outdoor activities.

A balcony can be open or enclosed depending on what the homeowners prefer.  An enclosed balcony offers privacy to the owners especially if they want to stay up late at night doing their personal activities like phone calls, chatting, simple party, etc. and they do not want to disturb their neighbors with the noise and at the same time they want to be protected from their prying eyes. An enclosed balcony also protects the owners from extreme hear or the stormy weather.

Difference Between.net states that in different perspectives away from home, a balcony has been used for ceremonial purposes. For instance, the Pope in the Vatican gives his blessing from a stone balcony at the Basilica. Also, most churches have internal balconies for concerts and choirs.

The veranda.

A veranda, sometimes spelled ‘verandah’ is a roofed, open-air gallery or porch. It is often partly enclosed by railings and balustrade and it is leveled with the floor. The veranda is very close to a porch, it is actually a porch that extends from the front of the structure to the sides A wrap-around porch is really a veranda. A veranda is a Portuguese porch.

Image source: Lugarde

The functions of the veranda is dependent to what the homeowners would like to use it for.  Some families would like to dine alfresco in their verandas.  It can also be used as a receiving area for guests who do not want to stay long.  During occasions, the veranda can also be used for small gatherings of the family and a relaxation lounge.

The patio.

Patio comes from a Spanish word. It literally means inner courtyard. A patio is usually located at the back of the house. Depending on the preference of the homeowners, it may be made of concrete or paving stones or sometimes tiles. Patios are usually used for hanging around, maybe barbecuing, or a place for relaxation during a sunny day.

A patio is generally used for dining or recreation. They are often decorated with plants and outdoor furniture such as a table, chairs, a hammock, or rocking chairs.

Patio with pergola by House Magazine.

The deck.

A deck is a flat, usually roofless platform that connects to a house. It can also be built on top of a building or house like in the modern house designs that we see today. Decks have evolved ever since.  If before they were built from lumber and usually connected to the building, now they are build from concrete and steel materials.  lstyle of decks are still present though.  Decks are generally enclosed by a railing. In some cases, decks can also be covered by a canopy or pergola.

The terrace.

The term “terrace” comes from Latin where it means “earth” indicating the fact that a terrace is built on a raised plan. So basically this space is a raised flat area, usually at the top of a building or residence.

The gazebo.

Gazebos are not attached to a house or part of it.  They are built separately and you find them in the backyards of a house or in parks.  A gazebo is an octagon and usually has a domed roof that is supported by eight symmetrical pillared columns.  They can be stuffed with benches, chairs, and a round table. Sitting in one on a sunny afternoon can often improve a person’s overall mental health. This is called the Gazebo Effect.

I hope I distinguished one space from the other and hopefully you were enlightened about the difference and functions of these spaces you have in your home.  If you want to see more house designs you can check our other websites listed below.  Just click on the hyperlinks and you will be redirected to them.  You may message us if you need further assistance.  Looking forward to hear from you very soon! If you like this article, please share it with your friends. Come back soon to check our other articles.  Thank you so much!

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