As the weather improves and our focus turns more and more to the outside, now is a good time to share some tips and inspiration devoted to adding some pizzazz to your porch or patio. We’ve written other articles about outdoor rooms and outdoor elements like hammocks , seating, etc. You can read even more by browsing through the category list in the sidebar – check out the Outdoor tab for lots more information.
Things to Consider in Porch Design
As you evaluate your existing outdoor space – porch, patio, deck, whatever – there are some basic things to consider.
Function: A primary consideration is how you use the porch area. Is it for eating, relaxing, playing, or a pass through space? Does it need to be kid/pet friendly? Function will dictate whether your space needs to be covered, open or screened, the type of furniture needed, and the layout of furnishings or accessories. It would be especially nice to separate eating and lounging areas if at all possible.
Style of Architecture: When you’re going to make changes to your porch, keep in mind the existing architectural features of the home. Use colors to coordinate with the paint color and accessorize to coordinate with the architectural style. This is more important when finishing the outside than the inside because once you’re inside, the outside architecture isn’t visible, so it’s less a factor. Outside, it’s dominating! Whether your home is modern, country, traditional, or French country, try to incorporate those elements in your porch/patio decor.
Extras: Determine what extras you want vs. need and what your budget will handle for now or what you’ll need to wait for (watch those sales!). Maybe a ceiling fan or chandelier; do you want a little fridge outside for convenience; has a sandbox, flower garden, fire pit area, or waterfall always been your dream?
Feeling/Atmosphere: Just like decorating inside, determine how you want the porch to make you feel. Make it friendly and inviting, private (sheer or opaque curtains, lattice, or plants) or very public, and do it with style. Use color to reinforce the feeling you want.
Finishes: Look at the existing finishes and figure out what needs updating or just a little “lipstick”. Evaluate the flooring – brick, decking, concrete (can you paint it?) - lattice, arches, curtains, and screening. Link your finishes and colors to the interior to provide continuity and extend the interior living space or to garden colors to visually include that space, making the porch feel larger.
Details and Accessories: Just like interior decorating, the fun is often in the details. Add some beautiful decorative items to really create a porch to be proud of. Add a rug, hanging plants (see this recent article by Cindy), lighting (candles, patio string lights, or electric chandelier), etc. Be sure anything you add is weather and wind proof (you want it heavy enough to not blow over!).
Create a Destination
It’s easy to create a destination when decorating your porch if you treat it much the same as an interior space. Coordinate fabrics, cushions, and colors with each other and with the exterior paint color. Create a focal point (often a seasonal display), use a variety of textures (plantings, a wicker chair with a smooth cushion, etc.), and add a surprise for visitors – a touch of the unexpected . . . . a little whimsy or glamour.
Make your porch or patio (especially the entry) welcoming and visually appealing with lighting, candles, and fragrance (choose fragrant plants). How about developing a theme? It’s a quick, effective way to decorate and set a tone for the porch and ultimately, your home. A beach theme is always easy and lighthearted, a mountain rustic theme, or modern and sleek – blend it with your architecture and you’ll be the envy of all the neighborhood.
Be Proud of Your Porch
Often the first thing guests see when they visit is your front porch. Is it sending the message you want? How can you make some changes to improve it? Do you have a favorite porch look that you use for spring and summer? Are you a wreath person and deck your door with a seasonal wreath? If not, do you put anything else on your door? We’d love to hear/see how you decorate your porch or patio for the summer. Leave us a quick comment or email a photo to email@example.com