A small front porch can live just as big and beautifully as expansive decks and patios. All that's needed is a little know-how. Our small front porch ideas will help you turn compact outdoor square footage to your advantage.

By BH&G Editors
Updated July 27, 2020
Advertisement

Outdoor spaces add to your home's livable square footage, so it's important to take advantage of the extra room. Even if you have a small front porch, there's ample opportunity to transform your porch into a beautiful living area. Making a small porch into a stylish and functional outdoor space is very doable; it's all about knowing what to put where in the most visually appealing and efficient manner. Front porch seating ideas, plants, accessories, and decorating ideas on a budget can all help you maximize your outdoor space. Here are 12 stylish ideas to help you make the most of your small porch.

Credit: Brie Williams Photography Inc

1. Embrace Symmetry

A streamlined, symmetrical design can help a small front porch appear larger. Outfit the space with a pair of simple chairs accessorized with matching pillows on either side of the door. Flank the front steps with identical potted plants to achieve a balanced look that draws the eye without appearing too busy.

Credit: Richard Leo Johnson for Atlantic Archives Inc

2. Use Every Inch of Your Small Porch

Limited square footage shouldn't hold you back from creating an inviting front porch seating area. Even if you have just a few spare feet next to the door, you likely have enough room for a cozy conversation nook. Choose lightweight, low-profile furniture that can easily be moved as needed, and make use of dual-purpose pieces such as stools that can function as both a side table and extra seating.

Credit: Blaine Moats

3. Scale Down Outdoor Furniture

For dwellers with small front porches, sized-down outdoor furniture can prevent a space from feeling overwhelmed. Look for round, accent-size tables (no angles mean better traffic flow). For seating, choose comfy chairs without arms to reduce visual bulk or sectional sofas that can pull apart as needed.

Credit: Laurie Black Photography

4. Add a Few Key Outdoor Accessories

Make a porch seem complete but not cluttered by including a few key accessories. A cushioned wicker chair and a small side table fashioned from a wooden crate on this small porch are examples of simple furnishings that work well in a variety of locations. A small area rug underfoot gives the space a cozier feel.

Credit: Adam Albright

5. Include Pillows in Small Porch Decor

Pillows offer another way to add color and character without making a porch visually heavy. Here, the pillow fabrics repeat the horizontal lines of the floor while sticking to a classic blue-and-white color scheme. Perch them on a porch swing or other seating as an easy update.

Credit: Gordon Beall

6. Zone Small Front Porches by Purpose

It's easy to divide a large front porch by purpose, including zones for eating, relaxing, and cooking, for example. Luckily, small front porches can utilize the same principle. Dedicate the space in front of a door, for example, to moving people into and out of the house. Have a few square feet in a corner? Tuck in two comfortable chairs and put down a petite area rug for a relaxing conversation nook.

Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

7. Match Plants to Small Front Porches

Overgrown trees, shrubs, and other plants can overpower a small front porch. Pay careful attention to plant labels at the nursery or home improvement store and opt for dwarf or midsize options. Those scaled-down plants add restrained structure and beauty to a small front porch.

Credit: Tria Giovan Photography, Inc.

8. Connect Other Outdoor Spaces

Your small porch might lead to other outside spaces, such as a driveway, another outdoor space, or a backyard. Joining those other spots increases the sense of cohesion and creates a feeling that your small front porch is bigger than its actual footprint. Use similar plants, color schemes, or architectural details throughout to connect the spaces.

Credit: Marty Baldwin

9. Make Your Porch Practical and Pretty

A smaller front porch means any furnishings you choose should be beautiful and work hard. Use a mirror or artwork, for example, to hide an unsightly wall and help visually expand the space. A small table can offer personality-driven color as well as a practical spot for glasses and plates during meals. Use soft window treatments to create intimacy and block any unsightly views.

Credit: Kim Cornelison

10. Reduce Front Porch Clutter

Too much stuff, such as knickknacks and furniture stashed in corners, can easily distract from the livability of a small space. Get rid of anything that's dated, worn out, or ill-used. Then, include only those things that have both purpose and charm, like a repurposed bar cart for holding entertaining essentials.

Credit: Gordon Beall

11. Soften Edges with Greenery

Blurring the lines between a small front porch and a yard helps a pint-size space feel bigger. Use appropriate sizes of containers or hanging baskets to help. Plant trailing flowers in hues that tie together your color scheme and blend the hardscape with softscape.

Credit: Brie Williams

12. Use Color to Trick the Eye

On a small porch, your color combos can create a sense of visual expansiveness that disguises a space's limited dimensions. Pastel colors are a natural fit to foster a light, open feel. A balance of light and dark hues, such as white siding with black trim and accents, can also create coziness that doesn't feel suffocating.

Comments (5)

Anonymous
August 15, 2020
I don't think these designers' are in touch with real people who live in real houses. They are so 'out there' that it isn't funny! Like the others, my porch is a small porch, maybe 3 x 5 wide with a door smack dab in the middle. How about if they go to a subdivision in a middle/lower class neighbourhood and take a look to see how they can help the average person. We have red or gray bricks on our houses, a small yard and maybe a ranch house or a 2 story and no money for these pricey chairs, flower pots, carpets, tables, etc. These porches are huge, and they only show a piece of them. Come on, show what you can do with the average place. They're not kidding anyone, and they're not feasible..
Anonymous
October 14, 2019
These are beautiful, and all are about twice the size of my front porch! Mine happens to be approximately 3 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet long. There certainly isn't room for the pretty furniture etc. I would love to see some ideas for those of use who are living in 1970s tract ranches with no real front porch- just a couple of steps up to the door- that doesn't involve tens of thousands of dollars in renovations.
Anonymous
October 14, 2019
These are beautiful, and all are about twice the size of my front porch! Mine happens to be approximately 3 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet long. There certainly isn't room for the pretty furniture etc. I would love to see some ideas for those of use who are living in 1970s tract ranches with no real front porch- just a couple of steps up to the door- that doesn't involve tens of thousands of dollars in renovations.
Anonymous
October 13, 2019
They don't know what a "small" porch really is. Mine is 4x4 ft. Room for a flower pot and a door mat!! A bench or chair!!! Out of the question. These stylists need to be more realistic.
Anonymous
September 20, 2019
These ideas are very nice, I have the problem with small porches and exposure from the rain. Do you bring everything in when rains and what to do with unexpected rain? Very pretty ideas though