For me there is a difference from a front facing Balcony where pedestrians and vehicles pass-by and a back facing Balcony that is out of view from the non residential public.
Front balconies in my own personal view should help enliven an area. Therefore, a balcony filled with various planters with plants and a small dainty garden table with a chair would look lovely and charming.
However, most people seem to think it is acceptable to fill their front balconies with various unwanted items and hang their clothes out to dry which just contributes to the rundown of the flats and vicinity of the area and this has a negative affect peoples emotions.
Personally, as I am strolling to my destination I prefer not to have to come across a Balcony in full view of peoples Pants/Knickers hanging out to dry, it is just not a pretty sight!
Drying clothes without the expense of a tumble dryer could be done perfectly well indoors with the windows open (and the person(s) could be seated in another room if the weather is too windy) if one does not have the use of a back facing Balcony.
Centrally, Hanging clothes out to dry on a front Balcony in other countries maybe very acceptable and not look out of place but in London it just looks very wrong and untidy.
One wonders why architectures insist on placing front Balconies in their designs, given that most residents seem to miss use them.