Porch Ideas

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

By Kelly Roberson

  • view all thumbnails

Outdoor fabric adds a layer of intimacy to a narrow front porch.

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.

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.

Popular Slideshows
Tight on time? No problem. These crowd pleasers ar...

Make these hearty dinners ahead for a quick and ea...

Sick of staring at a cold, stark, empty wall? Infu...

Looking for an inspiring container garden? Take our short quiz and receive a customized planting strategy perfect for you. Start now!

Top Brands

Related Links
Tight on time? No problem. These crowd pleasers ar...

Make these hearty dinners ahead for a quick and ea...

Sick of staring at a cold, stark, empty wall? Infu...

A three-step makeover lets this living room accomo...

Share Your Thoughts