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What Is A Veranda?

Who doesn't love relaxing in a beautiful peaceful outdoor setting? Learn all about what a veranda is and what makes it different from similar outdoor spaces.

backyard, raised wooden covered deck with small patio furniture, palm trees, blue sky and pool

Sitting on a veranda can be a delightful and relaxing way to spend a warm or sunny summer evening. While there are many outdoor spaces to enjoy a glass of lemonade, a veranda is specifically designed to provide shade and a cool breeze.

In general, a veranda is a roofed outdoor living space attached to a house or building. It is an open-air structure typically connected to the back of the building of the main house and used for outdoor activities.

Sunroom with large windows all around letting in natural light, dark brown tile flooring, potted trees, brown couch and chair with glass coffee table

Do you have a home with an outdoor structure attached to your house? You may wonder if you have a veranda and how to distinguish between popular outdoor areas like a veranda, patio, deck, and balcony. Read on to learn more about the veranda and the characteristics of each outdoor space.

What Is the Purpose of a Veranda?

Covered patio attached to a brick home, wraught iron enclosing front, two chairs with small table, green grass and flowers along front, sunny day

A veranda is a roofed, open-air gallery or porch typically attached to the exterior of a building. It is often used as a space for relaxation or entertaining and may be partially or fully enclosed with screens or windows to protect against the elements. Verandas are typical outdoor spaces in tropical or subtropical regions, providing shade and comfortable outdoor areas for people to enjoy.

There are several veranda styles, including an open veranda, a screened veranda, and a glass veranda that provides shelter but lets in lots of natural light. An open-air veranda is the most common and is simply a roofed gallery with no walls or windows. Screened verandas have walls and screens to keep out insects. In contrast, glass verandas have walls and windows made of glass to enclose the space and provide additional protection from the elements.

The concept of a veranda or porch dates back to ancient times. A variety of architectural styles have incorporated the veranda throughout history. The word “veranda” derives from the Spanish word “baranda,” which means “railing around a terrace. The word veranda was initially used to describe an open, roofed porch or gallery with a railing, usually located outside a structure.

What Is the Difference Between a Veranda and a Porch?

Gorgeous covered back patio, stone columns with matching stone fireplace, wooden patio furniture with dark gray cushions, green grass and trees in yard all around, sunny day

A veranda and a porch are both outdoor structures attached to a building. A house can have both a front and back porch. You will find the front porch outside the front entrance of the main floor of a residential building, and the back porch is usually off of the kitchen or garage. A veranda is an outdoor space attached or just a few steps from the back door of either residential or commercial buildings.

 A porch and veranda are outdoor spaces that offer places to sit or relax, and homeowners can furnish them with outdoor furniture and potted plants. Though similar, there are differences between the two outdoor structures.

Riased front porch of old home with large white round columns, old wooden front door, small light hanging from abouve lighting up porch in the night,

The main difference between a porch and a veranda is its purpose. Often a covered porch is more functional and used as a shelter to protect from weather conditions as you enter the front door. A porch and veranda can both be used as spaces to entertain guests, but leisure is the primary purpose of the veranda.

Another main difference between a porch and a veranda is location. Look for the veranda at the back or side of a house. In comparison, you will find that a porch is usually attached to the front of the house. For example, a wrap-around porch, primarily located in the southern United States, is a large porch surrounding the front and sides of the home. This long porch can wrap around the back entrance and provides a space for relaxing and gathering with family and friends.

Beautiful wrap around front porch, white home with white columns, red brick accents on lower portion of home, metal chairs and potted red roses placed all around porch, sunny day

A veranda and a porch share similar characteristics. One is that they are both ground-level shelters. However, a veranda is generally more prominent than a porch. Typically a veranda is large enough for a dining area and outdoor kitchen,

Is A Veranda the Same Thing as a “Ground-Floor” Balcony?

Quaint little patio space with small wooden table and chair, blue lap blanket and yellow and white pillow on chair, open book and small potted flowers on table, sunny day

Often a veranda is referred to as a “ground floor” balcony. Both a balcony and veranda are outdoor structures attached to the main structure and provide an area for people to enjoy the fresh air. A veranda and a balcony are typically partly enclosed by a railing to provide safety and support. 

Generally, a veranda is similar to a porch because both are attached to a house. At the same time, a balcony is different because it is a platform on the upper floors of a house or apartment building. However, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and the definition can vary depending on the region or context.

True Balcony

Balcony space with small area rug, wooden lounge chair and small table with magazine and potted plant, balcony framed in by black wrought iron, clear sunsetting sky

A true balcony is a small platform, typically built onto the exterior of a building, that is, a small extension that projects out from the wall of the main structure. A railing surrounds a balcony, often made of cast iron. Unlike a veranda off the ground floor, a balcony is always on an upper floor of a building. Balconies can be small or large, with room for outdoor furniture and other amenities. Some balconies are enclosed with windows or screens to protect them from the elements. A balcony can cover the entire width of the home, or it can be private for a single room like the home’s main bedroom.

Outside of a apartment building with smal balconies

A balcony is a similar structure but is on the upper floors of a building, and you can access it by a door or window. Balconies are architectural design elements of apartment buildings or multi-story homes and may offer a view of the surrounding area. Like verandas, balconies are outdoor structures for relaxation or entertainment.

False Balcony

Brown stone biulding with white framed windows and doors

A false balcony, also known as a Juliet balcony, is a type of balcony designed to give the appearance of a full balcony but does not have the structural support or functionality of a traditional balcony. It is made of metal or wood and attaches to an exterior wall. False balconies are always on the upper floors of buildings. They are used to add a decorative element to the exterior or to provide a small outdoor space for residents. They are not functional outdoor living spaces, and you cannot stand or sit on them.

3 Popular Alternative Outdoor Living Spaces to a Veranda

Lovely outdoor space with hanging string lights, outdoor furniture, table covered in food and drinks with people hanging around, large green trees all around

Terrace Outdoor Space

Outdoor terrace on upperlevel of building with people sitting at samll tables, old buildings all around, sunny day, clear sky

A terrace is an outdoor structure for leisure or recreational activities, like a veranda. A terrace is located on the upper floor of a building, generally found on the roof, second floor, or higher. It is often accessed through a door or staircase from the inside. 

The design and style of a terrace can be different from a veranda as well. A terrace can have a more modern or minimalist design. In contrast, a veranda, often found in older architecture like colonial and victorian homes, may have a more traditional or rustic look, with features such as columns or a porch swing.

Deck Outdoor Living Space

Beautiful backyard space with long pool with light blue and dark blue combination tile bottom, wooden deck along house with large sliding glass doors, blue sky with white fluffy clouds, green trees and bushes along fence on other side of pool

Like a porch, a deck is a flat or slightly raised platform, typically made of wood or composite materials. A deck is attached to the exterior of a house, and a deck is on the most wanted list of upgrades on modern homes. Homeowners consider a deck a great selling point and return on investment.

You can use a deck for outdoor leisure activities, such as lounging, grilling, and entertaining. A deck can also provide additional space for outdoor storage or serve as an outdoor extension of a living area. A deck can be attached to a house, apartment building, or other structure, and a deck can be located at ground level or elevated. A deck can also be a roofed open-air structure, or a deck can be a partially covered structure to protect from the elements.

Backyard of a two story beige home with white window trim, raised back wooden deck with dark bark surrounding it, green grass, blue sky with scattered white clouds

A deck is a flat or slightly raised platform, typically made of wood or composite materials, that attaches to the exterior of a house. It is built at the back or side of a house with access from the kitchen or back door. A deck is sometimes smaller than a veranda, but often it can run the width of the back of the house or be multiple levels. Like a veranda, you can use it as a central outdoor space for your home. A deck is typically an open-air platform but can have a roof to protect it from weather conditions.

The main difference between a deck and a veranda is the size and location. A deck and veranda can add value to a house and are a great place to enjoy the fresh air.

Patio Outdoor Space

Birdseye view of a bcakyard with bushes, plants and flowers surrounding a stone path and patio with black metal table and chairs

A patio is the most common outdoor area. A patio is a paved outdoor area adjoining a house or main structure for recreation or dining. A patio is rarely covered, and this paved outdoor area resembles an open-air porch. A patio is a beautiful addition to a home, providing an open space to relax and enjoy the outdoors without being in the grass or dirt. 


A patio and a veranda can be located at the rear of the house. They are both used for recreation or relaxation. Unlike a veranda, a patio can be separated from a house and built further into the backyard. Often a property will have more than one patio off the main structure and will place a second one near a focal point like a pool or garden.

A patio is usually made of concrete, brick, cement paving stones, or natural stone; you can  locate it at ground level. On the other hand, a veranda differs from a patio because it is usually made of wood and is often raised off the ground and covered.