Terrace vs Balcony vs Rooftop: What's the Difference? - NewDevRev (2023)

Knowing the big differences between a terrace vs balcony can mean the world when you are on an apartment hunt, and finding the right outdoor space has the power to make your condo, house, or apartment truly feel like home.

When you move into a new apartment in NYC, finding a space with a terrace, balcony, or rooftop space feels like you hit the jackpot. Having access to an oasis like this can give you the right spot to entertain and simply relax after taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

NewDevRev has an extensive list of properties with terraces, balconies, rooftops, and other urban spaces. With the help of an associate, a home with one of these amenities is in easy reach. Before giving an associate a call, make sure you know exactly which kind of space perfectly fits your ideal home before you truly buckle down and start the home hunt.

Table of Contents

What is a Terrace?

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If you end up finding an apartment building with an accessible terrace, you can start planning all of the events you could ever want to host. These large, accommodating outdoor areas feel just like a communal yard, but don’t expect a ton of privacy. According to The Spruce, you probably won’t find a terrace attached directly to your apartment like a balcony — these spaces have to sit adjacent to your property or on the rooftop of your building.

Additionally, terraces shouldn’t feature any sort of covering, have a fairly large space to move around in, and you can’t enter a terrace through an interior space. Expect to share this area with a bunch of your neighbors as well. Typically, terraces function as communal areas for a variety of folks, especially those that end up sharing an apartment building.

If you love the idea of mingling with folks from around your building, you need to have a terrace on your list of must-haves next time you look for a new place to live. If you crave a bit more privacy but don’t want to give up the luxury of some outdoor space, then you might need to search for a unit with a balcony.

What is a Balcony?

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The difference between a terrace vs balcony goes beyond simple space. Unlike a terrace, a balcony offers a fair amount of privacy for anyone who has the privilege of accessing it. The Spruce found that these portions of a home typically come attached to the side of a building and you need to access them through an indoor space. Balconies characteristically take up far less space than a terrace and feature a rail or bar to protect users from tumbling over the side.

A building can accommodate a wide variety of balconies as well. According to Homedit, the above description constitutes a true balcony and generally describes the mental image many folks imagine when they think of this home feature. While many apartments and houses feature a true balcony, some properties sport faux balconies, false balconies, and mezzanine balconies.

What are the different types of balconies?

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If your home comes with a faux balcony, expect the exterior of your property to sport something that looks like a balcony from the street, but can’t actually function like one. Faux balconies don’t have floors, but do feature railing. Architects include these features in a home to make the house look more appealing from the street, but fail to deliver any true function.

A false balcony has more of a purpose than a faux balcony, but doesn’t have the same size as a true balcony. These false balconies have a smaller amount of total usable space and typically don’t have the room to hold furniture. They get used as a way to make a space appear bigger and more open, while failing to deliver the same oomph you would want from a true balcony.

If you stumble upon a gem of a property while you are on an apartment hunt, you might find a unit with a mezzanine balcony. While a true balcony looks out onto the street or surrounding outdoor area, a mezzanine balcony sits somewhere in the middle of your home and looks down into your foyer, living room, or other interior space. You typically find this style of balcony in bigger homes and they give the property an extra bit of character.

If you love the idea of a space with a bit more room, you might just need to find a property with a balcony somewhere in NYC. Some of the most scenic areas in the city lie uptown and downtown, but knowing the difference between the areas can really help you narrow down what kind of home you truly want to live in.

What Does a Functioning Roof Look Like?

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After moving into your new apartment, you might stumble upon a fire escape or ladder that gives you roof access. Housing How reports that you should never have a shadow of a doubt that your roof functions simply as a roof, as opposed to a terrace. Functional roofs that aren’t intended to party on have flat or arched structures, occasionally feature skylights to let in more light, and support function over entertainment.

You might also stumble upon a larger complex that ends up featuring a roof designed to host parties, comes covered in seating options and plants, and looks like an area you could easily see yourself relaxing in after a long day at work. If you have an area that looks like this, you have a rooftop terrace on your hands.

Can a Rooftop Also Be a Terrace?

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Some apartments feature a functioning rooftop instead of opting to give you a balcony or a terrace. Housing How found that your rooftop should also function as a terrace if it goes beyond serving the simple function of keeping the weather out. This might mean that the area simply looks good and provides some kind of aesthetic touch to the property, or could feature a grill or gazebo area.

These rooftop terraces also differentiate themselves from other urban spaces and the typical roof through very manicured landscaping and design suited to the residents and guests that might use the space. This extends far beyond a few potted plants — some rooftop terraces feature a wide variety of umbrellas and coverings, while others use stones and wood grills as construction material. These spaces usually only appear on flat roofs, and have fewer points of access due to the fact that they exist on the top of the building and serve as a way to keep uninvited guests out.

Why Would You Want a Terrace, Balcony, or Roof?

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Living in a unit or property with outdoor access in the form of a terrace, balcony, or roof can make a world of difference and help your space truly feel like a home. Living spaces with balconies made of certain kinds of material can evoke the feeling of locales from across the world, per Architectural Digest. These features can add a sense of drama and space into your apartment that you wouldn’t get otherwise, and can help expand the feeling. Even if you don’t want to decorate this extension of your apartment with outdoor furniture or plants, it can do wonders for your living experience.

On the other hand, a terrace or rooftop terrace offers a wide range of advantages and disadvantages. Fiv Magazine reports that terraces overall can improve the quality of your living experience, gives you quick and easy access to nature when you need it, and presents you with the perfect outdoor space if you need to entertain a crowd.

Retirees, families, and students can make the best use of these outdoor spaces. Families with children can utilize terraces as a makeshift yard or mini park, while students and pensioners have the opportunity to use terraces as a way to escape the confines of their home and actively double their living space.

At the very end of the day, even if your unit doesn’t have a rooftop terrace, balcony, or attached terrace, just make sure that it does have a functioning roof, or else you will be in for a bad time.

Where to Find the Perfect Terrace, Balcony, or other Urban Area Outdoor Space

Finding a new home with a balcony, terrace, or rooftop terrace can make your New York City apartment feel like it was ripped out of a novel or movie. While these amenities might seem like a world away, having the right team to guide you through your apartment search can guarantee you find your dream home with the right outdoor space for you.

Next time you need to locate a house or apartment with the perfect balcony or terrace, consult NewDevRevto help lock down the right home for you. With properties spanning the five boroughs, any NYC apartment with the right urban space is easily within your grasp and you won’t have to go another day without enjoying the sights and sounds of the city from your balcony or terrace.

Start looking for your place with outdoor space today!

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