DIY Porch Ideas to Steal

They say that all good artists steal from each other. Not literally, of course -- but creative types do glean inspiration from the projects and ideas of those around them. In that spirit of sharing, let these 15 fantastic ideas stir your creative juices to pump up the pretty (and the practical) of your outdoor porch.

Yipes, Stripes!

It wasn't daring enough to coat this porch's ceiling in sky blue paint (a Southern tradition) -- nope. This room goes full-tilt with two walls of blue and white stripes, which somewhat resemble outdoor siding. It's an eye-catching accent that revs up the room despite its otherwise-neutral palette. (There are few color combinations more classic and comforting than the blue and brown of sky and soil.)

In The Pink

Because porches often bask in sheets of sunshine, they can usually handle strong color with aplomb. For proof, see this screen porch, where one (screen) wall is "decorated" almost entirely with outside greenery and a second wall is sheathed in botanical-printed pink paper. The play between pink and green delivers vivacious contrast made all the more lively by the leaves and flowers (both real and printed) on the two walls.

Swing and a Hit

Few things are more inviting than a porch swing, but pile on the pillows and a light blanket to ward off any chill, and you've got a bona fide crowd pleaser on the porch. Paint it a cheery color, and keep a table or ottoman nearby to hold drinks and snacks.

Give your outdoor room a wallet-friendly revamp with these quick and easy decorating ideas.

Refresh in a Flash

Perk up your porch on the cheap with these fast and fabulous decorating ideas.

Spheres of Celebration

Paper lanterns in a rainbow of hues resemble a bundle of balloons when strung by ribbons from the ceiling, but they're much sturdier and longer lasting! They're not expensive at all, but they deliver a lot of bang for your buck -- just choose lanterns in a handful of colors and a few different sizes for visual dazzle.

Prepped to Serve

Who says indoor furnishings have to stay inside? Let their form and function spillover onto the porch too. Here, an all-weather metal table in zingy lime-green serves as a sideboard of sorts for drinks, napkins, and plates. A pair of movable seats -- really, fat logs made mobile with casters -- can scoot around the space as needed for extra seating or as a surface for setting glasses. And a giant glass cloche encases a couple of houseplants on a wooden tray for an eye-catching centerpiece.

Curtain Call

Whether a porch needs privacy, shade from the sun, or a little of both, cloth curtains are an airy answer to both desires. Choose clean, cream-color ones, like on this sunny stucco porch, so they disappear into the background, or opt for curtains in a vibrant pattern for a louder style statement.

Rustic Charm

Unfinished walls and exposed studs can be quaintly endearing with a coat of whitewash and a few beloved collectibles. Use the wall's horizontal members (they're called stiles) to prop up a couple of framed pieces, stack some books, and set a host of shapely bottles, and slip a humble tension rod between the window frames and thread on a breezy curtain.

Red Hot

Of all the colors of the spectrum, red grabs our attention the quickest, so it's a savvy choice for something you want people to see with ease, like this front door. (There's really no missing it, is there?) A length of driftwood, mounted on the wall and drilled with hooks, catches towels, hats, and other items before they make it inside.

Inspiration Underfoot

A striped rug in saturated hues enlivens this screened porch and provides a color palette for the rest of the room. (Notice how its blues and greens pop up on cushions, pillows, shutters, and the trunk.) Wall hangings, including an ornate mirror and a pair of framed pieces, give the impression of indoor-type walls, rather than wide stretches of screen.

Book Pocket

If you're lucky enough to have a porch swing -- or any comfy seating, really -- it's near impossible to resist reading for hours on end snugged in its embrace. Keep periodicals and books at hand by gluing a clear acrylic magazine holder to the side of the swing (use construction adhesive for good grip).

Perfect Pallets

Available for a song -- or even for free -- wooden shipping pallets find a useful second life as durable outdoor furniture. Assembled two high, screwed together, mounted on casters, and protected with glossy white spray paint, these pallets transform into a wide coffee table sitting at just the right height and stacked with built-in shelves.

Sheltered from the Storm

If you're lucky enough to have a protected porch -- enclosed on all sides with screens and walls -- options for furnishing and decorating it are almost endless. Even indoor pieces, such as this blue armchair, crocheted pillow, and fabric ottoman, can comfortably nest in such a porch without fear of damage from sun or rain.

Drinks on the Go

What could be more versatile -- or more adorable -- than a traveling cart on casters bubbling with drinks, snacks, and other party essentials? Its wheels let it roll from the kitchen to the porch with ease, its folding leaves allow it to expand or shrink as needed, and its shelves can corral all manner of goodies for guests.

Living It Up Outside

Plumping up an outdoor porch with all the comforts of home will stretch your living space beyond four walls -- in fact, you might want to stay outside all day! Lavish a porch with sturdy, weatherproof chairs, colorful pillows sewn from outdoor fabric, a breezy ceiling fan, and nubby rugs underfoot to give it all the amenities of the living room -- and with fresh air to boot. Fashion a mobile coffee table out of metal basins (available at garden centers and refreshed with tangy orange spray paint), a pair of salvaged doors (or plywood slabs cut to size), and casters. A thicket of chrysanthemums in tall containers provides a bit of a barrier for privacy.

The Best of Both

Conventional practice says to string a hammock between two trees, but that means you'll have to contend with bugs and harsh sunshine while you're trying to kick back and relax. Mounting a hammock on a screen porch, though, eliminates any airborne pests as well as the risk of sunburn -- while still letting you sway in the breeze.

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