Sometimes I have a hard time telling the two apart. For example, the following:

enter image description here

enter image description here

It's called veranda and balcony by the author (who lives in Japan):

Unlike the old "clothes line" of my childhood, we use the veranda (balcony) as our drying place.

Source: http://thedelacourier.blogspot.tw/2006/05/cloudy-with-high-probability-of-wet.html

But guess it can only be one option? (Or a structure can be a veranda and a balcony at the same time?) What are the main differences?


4 Answers 4


A veranda is an open roofed walkway/standing area attached to the side of a building.

A balcony is an elevated walkway/standing area attached to the side of a building (or attached to an interior wall).

See Google Images for veranda and balcony.

It's possible for a given structure to be both, but generally "balcony" would be used for an elevated structure.

  • 1
    Is it my idea or both definitions sound pretty much the same? (So the veranda is not "elevated"?)
    – alex
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 1:15
  • 3
    @alex - One is elevated and does not necessarily have a roof. The other must have a roof but need not be elevated.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 1:16
  • Thanks for the clarification. But what do you mean by "elevated"? You mean that the veranda can be on ground level? (Like attached to the ground?)
    – alex
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 1:21
  • 1
    Yes, a veranda is at ground level, more or less. The covered porch seen on many houses in the southern US could be called a veranda. See Google Images for veranda and balcony.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 1:25
  • I think verandas in Japan are always elevated (which stirred my initial confusion): farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/3029031085_89f2b8c3a4.jpg
    – alex
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 3:41

A veranda (or verandah, also piazza) is a ground floor appendage. A balcony is a similar appendage found above the ground floor. A veranda is often confused with a porch, which is generally shorter in length. According to American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, in Cottage Residences (1842) pp53-56, one may have a veranda that comprises nearly the entire length of a residence, with the central (entrance) portion of the veranda called a porch and the next level directly above called a balcony. Note the term piazza was historically used for veranda - chiefly in New England.

  • 1
    It needs to be noted that the definitions are quite "squishy", and will definitely vary from one part of the world to another.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 2:02
  • @Hot Licks, you're correct re. the piazza term. I will edit my answer. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 2:07
  • But I think verandas in, say, Japan are always elevated? farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/3029031085_89f2b8c3a4.jpg
    – alex
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 3:40
  • @alex - Anywhere else the platforms shown in your picture would be "balconies".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 12:02

What is called a balcony in English, is called a ベランダ (veranda) in Japanese. It's not an accurate usage of the term "veranda" within the context of English. However, it's not wrong if you consider the etymology of veranda. The original Portuguese word "varanda" meant "long balcony or terrace". So it is likely "veranda" did not make its way into Japanese through English.

Although in recent years "balcony" (バルコニー) is making its way into Japanese more and more. But it carries a different nuance than "veranda". A veranda would be just for hanging laundry up to dry, whereas a balcony would usually be more spacious, and you might even fit a small table there with a couple of chairs for tea.


in my view, varandah means the roof covered space just before the entrance of the house ( main entrance (simh dwaram ) or back door / side entrannce. it means varandah is the roofed way between the house and out side area. Balcony is also the roofed, covered / un covered space attached to or just before any entrance, where there is no provision to go outside by normal walking or running from the house.

  • 2
    Welcome to English Language and Usage vsn. Please take the tour and when you have a moment, read-up in the help center about how we work. Could you provide links to references for your claims? Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 2:39
  • 2
    Answers should be more than just opinion. We expect them to be backed up with reputable references.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 9:24
  • 1
    If you cite your sources rather than experience or opinion, you will also be able to remove the opening phrase of "In my view." I think you are saying that a veranda is a porch with inside and outside access, but a balcony has only inside access. Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 0:33

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