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Tips for Covered Back Porches

A covered back porch has a host of benefits, like protecting you from the elements and increasing your design opportunities. Use these insights to draw inspiration for creating and decorating your own covered back porch.

Unlike their open counterparts, covered back porches offer even more opportunities for living and using these out-of-door spaces. And because these spaces offer some protection, you can flex your design muscles even more. Try these inspiring tips for bringing style and design to your covered back porches.

  • Stretch the seasons. Covered back porches can protect you from rainfall and sunlight, but open walls don't do much to discourage bugs or keep out the cold weather. You may want to consider screens for your covered back porch, as well as windows that help push the seasonal boundaries. And if you do include windows and screens, consider roll-down shades or light draperies to block the sun at key times during the day. Although it adds cost, radiant heat in the floor as well as insulation in the ceiling may also protect you from temperature extremes.
  • Warm up in front of a fireplace. It may seem indulgent, but a fireplace can serve multiple functions for a covered back porch. For starters, a fireplace is a natural focal point, a spot for family and friends to gather round for conversation and relaxation. A fireplace also helps to extend the season for the covered back porch, providing warmth in cooler mornings and evenings.
  • Dress up your light fixtures. There are outdoor lighting options for nearly every style and size of covered back porches -- and with protection, you may be able to use a fixture that's rated UL for damp locations. Depending on the type of walls in your covered back porch, fixtures that are rated for interior use only may also be an option.
  • Meld the rooflines. One of the easiest ways to make your covered back porch feel both in scale and in step with your home is to consider the rooflines of the two. It's best to repeat or complement the roofing material and the pitch, as well as the placement.
  • Extend the space. Most covered back porches simply extend along a single side of a home. But interesting function and design options may come into play if you extend the covered back porch around a corner for a two-sided space. That expansion of outdoor living space may provide room for an outdoor living area as well as a dining room.
  • Offer multiple entrances. A covered back porch that's accessible from several spots inside the home will increase its usability. Consider entrances off living and kitchen areas, or, for a two-sided covered back porch, into a bedroom.
  • Consider your flooring. Although a covered back porch offers some protection from the elements, it's still important to think through how well the flooring material will work and look. Exposure to moisture may make some materials more slick underfoot, while others, including concrete, are fairly easy to maintain. Wood may involve more upkeep but adds unusual beauty.
  • Mix and match built-in storage. There are always things that rotate in and out of use for a covered back porch -- outdoor cushions, grilling supplies, dishware. Consider storage as both a design and practical element in order to supply a year-round spot for stashing those goods. Ideas include covered benches with hinged lids as well as bookcases that surround a fireplace.

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