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Porch Ideas

Traditionally located on the front of a house, a porch creates a perch to relax and take in the neighborhood or yard.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Curtain Call

      Simple curtain rods and outdoor-friendly drapes shield a section of a porch from too much sun or nosy neighbors.

      • A glass-and-metal lantern offers a beam of light for the entry and porch.
      • If a porch floor is wood, it can be stained or painted; either way, it will require periodic retouching or refinishing.
      • Oversize cushions provide casual, flexible seating.
      • An eclectic mix of furnishings maintains visual consistency by relying on similar colors, including rich browns and greens.
    • A Place to Unwind

      Classic details dress up a roomy screened porch.

      • Whether for show or for structure, columns offer an interesting detail inside a screened porch.
      • Three layers of light -- overhead, task, and accent -- provide plenty of opportunities to set varying moods.
      • An outdoor rug protects the floor and supplies a softer surface underfoot.
      • On a porch, a ceiling fan increases ventilation during still, warm days.
      • Accessories such as baskets -- used to stash blankets and pillows -- can eliminate the need for shelves or other storage.
    • A Dose of Sunshine

      Details welcome visitors to this cheery front porch.

      • Three rectangular pieces of lattice shield the porch from the side.
      • Painted a pretty spring green, a trio of vases hung from the lattice supply a place to display an array of fresh flowers.
      • Window boxes are often placed on the outside rail of a porch; here, they hang toward the inside to provide a pretty backdrop.
      • To maintain a degree of material consistency, pieces of lattice frame the outside of the window boxes.
      • Ordinary but interesting yard elements transform into art when hung in an interesting way. Here, a piece of iron fence dresses up a wall.
    • Porch Perfect

      White finishes and furniture brightens a covered space.

      • Typically used inside a home, a mirror on this porch provides a unique accent and bounces light around the space.
      • Beaded board is a porch staple; here, the planks are painted a bright white to keep the porch from feeling dark.
      • Ceiling fans come with or without lights; if you want to include a fan in your porch design, have an electrician install an on/off switch for more resourceful use.
      • Even in a space that receives plenty of natural light, such as a porch, layers of light are still important. Here, spotlights offer overhead illumination while a portable lamp supplies task light.
      • If a porch is mostly covered, as this one is, it's still important to choose furniture and fabrics that can withstand outdoor conditions.
    • Fireplace Focus

      A rustic feature warms this screened porch.

      • A fireplace can extend the use of a porch; here, the dramatic design of this stone version gives the porch a focal point, too.
      • If the railing to a porch is placed inside screens or porch openings, it shields the screen from holes and tears.
      • Contrast draws the eye around a space; here, a ceiling stained a lighter tone stands apart from painted trim.
      • To create a color scheme for a porch, start with one hue -- here, a warm, rich brown on wood and floor -- and add pops of color, such as the yellow cushions and bright striped throw pillows.
      • Another idea to warm the floor of a porch? Consider including radiant heat under paving stones.
    • Contemporary Cool

      Restrained tones and furnishings greet guests in this screened porch.

      • If a porch is mostly shaded or secluded, consider a skylight to brighten a space.
      • Since a porch is typically attached to a home, it's important to maintain consistency in either paint or stain. This porch follows the warm gray palette used on the house.
      • Subtle contrast adds visual interest to a porch, too; here, the stained wood floor adds warmth.
      • Furnish a porch as with any other room -- utilize pieces that work together and complement a home's style. Here, the vibe is definitely minimalist and easygoing.
      • A sturdy, outdoor-resilient rug underfoot can help to grab dirt from outside.
    • Roll Out the Welcome Mat

      A wood porch welcomes with chairs and a dining set.

      • Ceiling fans offer flexibility and a minimal footprint; this one contains two adjustable fans.
      • Part sculpture, part light fixture, wire orbs illuminate from above on this porch.
      • A porch may need additional sun protection only on one side (often the west). Here, a pair of cream-color curtains shield from late-day sun.
      • A sleek metal railing guards the base of the screen and adds a minimalist detail.
      • Porches have six surfaces to address: four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. Use paint to complement, contrast, or -- as this porch exemplifies -- unify all the surfaces.
    • Porch View

      From inside this wide-open porch, the countryside beckons.

      • An overhead chandelier serves as a dramatic ceiling-height sculpture.
      • Screened porches often include rails for security and protection. Eliminating them, as this one does, opens up the view.
      • Shelves (here, above the fireplace) provide a spot for display of accents or other knick-knacks.
      • While many porches are located off the front of a home, consider the best place for a dramatic view -- in this home, at the back -- before choosing a site for a space.
      • Opening a porch up to the ceiling timbers provides dramatic architectural interest as well.
    • Screened Scene

      Accents supply bursts of color in this neutral, finished space.

      • Hung from support beams, a series of intricate metal light fixtures supplies pretty accent light.
      • Composite wood is another option for flooring; it offers durability and doesn't need periodic refinishing like painted or stained wood flooring does.
      • An interesting pattern provides visual relief at a porch's rails.
      • A bright ceiling lightens a space; here, the beaded board is painted bright white.
      • Turquoise, orange, and green in furniture and accents pop against the mostly neutral color scheme.
    • 10 of 11

      Four Square

      A compact porch deftly segues a house from outside to inside spaces.

      • Porches needn't be large; a small screened area can provide a nice transition to either a front or back space, as this intimate room does.
      • A five-panel door offers a rich design statement for the porch's entry.
      • Planks on the floor visually connect the porch spaces with the exterior stairs.
      • Since the wood frames on the porch are stained, accent colors in the furnishings pick up the accent colors on the house
      • Protect a porch floor as you would a floor inside a house by elevating planted containers to prevent damage from water accumulation.
    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Xeriscaping

      Xeriscaping

      In many parts of the country, water resources are becoming scarcer. That's why it's a good idea to landscape your home using waterwise techniques. Called xeriscaping, this process will help you have a less thirsty backyard. Here's how to do it.
      Begin Slideshow »

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