Porch Ideas

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

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.
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