There are two basic styles of interior balcony. The first kind is typically a second floor that ends midway across a building. A safety railing encloses the open side of this balcony and it can be accessed by a staircase or ladder. This type is also sometimes called a loft. The second kind of interior balcony serves as a passageway from the first floor to the second. It usually features a short section of railing, followed by a wall that conceals the rest of the second floor.
The loft-style interior balcony design is typically very open. It is most often seen in airy apartments, with the loft generally serving as the bedroom. The kitchen or living room may sit under the overhang of the loft, but the rest of the apartment is usually visible from the balcony. Those that like this kind of interior balcony generally enjoy plenty of space and natural light. Loft apartments often can only house one or two people at a time.
There are a few disadvantages to loft-style interior balconies. The loft is often separated from the rest of the apartment by little more than a wooden or metal safety railing. This means that light and noise from the rest of the home can easily pollute the silence of the bedroom. Those living in this kind of situation may put up noise-reducing curtains or mobile privacy screens, especially if they live with another person. Bedrooms located in lofts are often well-decorated and kept very neat because visitors can see them, unless they’re blocked by the aforementioned methods.
The second kind of interior balcony is usually much smaller and more closed than a loft balcony. These structures are usually little more than a small open space right at the top of the staircase that leads to the rest of an upper level. This is especially true in smaller homes with fairly narrow staircases.
Larger homes with grand, sweeping staircases may feature a larger interior balcony. In some cases, the interior balcony may even serve as a kind of 'half story' between the first and second floors. This style of architecture is especially popular in very large, elegant homes, such as manors or palaces. The movies “Beauty and the Beast” and “Cinderella” both feature large interior balconies in the scenes where Belle and Cinderella step onto the dance floor, respectively. Interior balconies in large homes, like those in the films, were often built by the wealthy to expand dance floor space and allow women to show off their dresses before they entered the ballroom proper.