22 Creative Porch Updates for a One-of-a-Kind Outdoor Room

table with flowers by hanging chair on porch
Photo: Karin Lidbeck Brent

Porches are much more than spots to enjoy the outdoors. Well-decorated, well-planned porches can boost curb appeal, exhibit a homeowner's style, and extend practical living space. Here are 22 ideas to inspire your own porch designs.

01 of 22

Try On a New-Traditional Look

Porch with wicker furniture, pillows
Tria Giovan

Approach a porch layout as you would an indoor living room with comfortable seating in traditional shapes. Try a wicker settee that mimics the silhouette of a scroll-arm sofa and deep armchairs. Anchor the seating arrangement with an outdoor rug. Black-and-white is a perennially sophisticated choice, and a graphic print helps camouflage dirt.

02 of 22

Add a Fireplace

Porch with fireplace and wicker seating
Brie Williams

Thanks to a fireplace, a screened porch can be an extension of your living space during all types of weather. Here, the pine framing of the fireplace makes the 17-foot vaulted ceiling an added focal point. The wicker chairs and love seat surrounding the fireplace create a cozy living area, while blue accents contrast the otherwise neutral color scheme.

03 of 22

Relax with Beachy Decor

table with flowers by hanging chair on porch
Karin Lidbeck Brent

No matter how far you are from the coast, coastal style says relaxation. Woven textures and sunny colors are at its core. Look for furniture pieces with open frames and lighter lines—something the ocean breeze could pass through. Here, a swinging chair keeps the porch casual and fun.

04 of 22

Extend Your Inside Color Scheme

Porch with dining area, colorful décor
Brie Williams

Make your porch feel like it's an extension of the inside of your home. Here, bistro chairs reflect the interior's recurring blue-and-white palette. A floor-to-ceiling glossy white paint job on the porch's natural wood also mimics the home's color scheme. Crisscrossing strands of string lights stand in for overhead lighting.

05 of 22

Vary Furniture Shapes

Porch with couch, chairs, pillows
David A Land

A lot of outdoor furniture can be bulky and boxy. To keep things light and airy, vary the shapes of your porch's furniture. If your sofa frame is solid, for example, get chairs that are spindly. Then switch silhouettes. Here, barrel-back wicker chairs contrast with an angular daybed and perforated metal tables.

06 of 22

Screen the Sun

Porch with columns, stone floor
Ray Kachatorian

A pretty pergola or trellis can extend the use of a porch by blocking intense sun rays. Here, the structure offers support for blooms, too. The potted plants scattered throughout the porch add a natural element to this outdoor space.

07 of 22

Divide Your Porch into Zones

Front porch with two chairs, ottomans
Karyn Millet

Even the smallest of porches can benefit from smart space planning. A walkway benefits from a sofa-and-chair combo, pushed or angled with backs against a wall or railing. And when you need an instant refresh, look to a new furniture arrangement.

08 of 22

Add Bold Color

Porch with blue tan theme, chairs, pillows
Richard Leo Johnson

Bright hues or bold tones can help to draw attention to a particular feature of a porch, whether it's an architectural detail or a centerpiece furniture item. Paint is an inexpensive way to update a porch based on your whims or design needs. Bold orange and vivid blue light up this screened porch like a vibrant sunset over water—creating a stylish look that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

09 of 22

Easy Porch Update Ideas

Bring flair and function to your front porch with these eye-catching, can-do ideas. You'll discover how to maximize space, comfort, and curb appeal. Here are simple storage add on ideas and ways to use furniture to maximize square footage.

10 of 22

Add an Overhead Focal Point

porch with couch swing
Robert Brinson

Lights and ceiling fans do double duty in a porch: They add much-needed function by moving air and improving illumination into dusk and nighttime hours. Both lights and ceiling fans can serve as focal points for overhead spaces. Use a sculptural version to boost the visual interest even more.

11 of 22

Make It Comfy

Porch swing with white pillows
Werner Straube

Extra pillows, overstuffed cushions, task lights: All these elements help to maximize the enjoyment and use of a porch. This swing covered with indoor-outdoor fabric and edged in super-sized piping beckons relaxation. Place a table close by as a surface to hold glasses, decor, and books.

12 of 22

Dress Up the Floor

Front porch with porch swing, dog
Jeff Herr

There are thousands of options for outdoor rugs that withstand the elements and add color and comfort. Use a large one to delineate a living space or smaller versions to transition between zones on the porch. If you’re unsure of a rug, try painting the floor in a pattern or accent color.

13 of 22

Utilize Extra Amenities

Porch with fireplace, seating for two
Robert Brinson

The key to maximizing the use of a porch is to include amenities that fit within your budget and lifestyle. For some, those may be as simple as a table and chairs for outdoor meals. Others may find that items such as a fireplace boost enjoyment and use of a porch.

14 of 22

Use Fabric to Add Pattern

Front porch with seating, red white theme
Jay Wilde

A cost-conscious solution, fabric offers a trend-forward way to add a punch of the latest decorative motif. Try slipcovered pillows in a mix of motifs or a bold throw. Bonus: Swap the covers when the season or styles change. Because they’re both primary colors, red and blue make a no-fail pairing. Toss in white, and you’ve got palette-brightening contrast. Varying the shades of blue keeps the classic scheme from going too patriotic.

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Hang Artwork

Porch with dining table, benches, chairs
Robert Brinson

Most porches have a large expanse of wall space that often goes undecorated. Artwork—a single painting, a cluster of photographs, a narrow sculpture—can be a great way to add color and visual interest to a porch. Used deftly it can also do double duty and shield a view.

16 of 22

Freshen Furniture with Paint

A can of paint and a paintbrush are about all it takes to change the look of dated furniture. To brighten a porch, consider glossy white; for furniture that fades into the background, use gunmetal gray or matte black. Although your porch furniture may not be directly exposed to the elements, it's best to use exterior paint to protect it against weather and UV rays.

17 of 22

Include Flowers

Brick porch with rustic chairs, wire table
Jean Allsopp

Containers on the floor, hanging baskets from ceiling supports, window boxes on railings: Flowers and plants do more than offer pretty blooms. They’re a great way to soften the edges of a porch and gently transition between landscape and house. Try flowers in complementary colors to your home’s exterior color scheme or those that are in the same style as the plantings in the rest of your yard.

18 of 22

Hide a Porch Base with Plants

Outside porch with chairs, white columns
John Bessler

A low hedge or flowerbed just outside the porch at its boundary can help to hide an otherwise uninteresting part of the structure. Plantings can also soften the space between house and landscape, and add color and plant interest, too. The plants should be in careful scale so they enhance rather than dominate the space.

19 of 22

Store More in Style

Porch with wicker furniture, rustic coffee table
Michael Partenio

Well-done porches feel perfectly in-step with the rest of a home's architecture. Try to pick up on details—moldings and trim, floor choices—that can be integrated outside and inside. Storage also helps to corral everything like outdoor toys, extra throws, and pillows. Double-duty storage like benches with baskets or coffee tables with a hinged top can be a great addition to a space-challenged outdoor area.

20 of 22

Personalize the Porch

black rocking chairs on narrow farmhouse porch
Edmund Barr

As with any other living space, a porch is an expression of a homeowner's individuality. Use clever accents, colors, and furniture to express your style. If you have space, a console table is a convenient addition to porches that can dress up an empty corner and display treasured collections or artwork.

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Shield the View

Porch with couches, spiral staircase
Brie Williams

Window treatments don't have to be relegated to inside a house. Long sheers help to block the sun or a less-than-perfect view. Choose a fabric that's easy to wash and will hold up to fading. Hint: White is always a good choice.

22 of 22

Create a Clear Path

white home exterior
Kim Cornelison Photography Inc.

An uninterrupted pathway to your home's entrance makes for good porch planning. Here, a small seating nook offers a wonderful way to engage with the front yard life of the porch. Potted plants and farmhouse accents add interest to the open space.

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