When was the last time you really thought about your front porch, and ideas to beautify the front of your house? You've probably spent a lot of time spiffing up the inside of your home or tending to your front lawn, but your front porch is another area of your home that deserves a decent amount of time and attention.
Many people get so preoccupied with decorating the interior of their home that they overlook this area, says Dawn T. Totty, a designer based in Chattanooga, TN. If you've let your porch fall by the wayside, you're missing out.
“Designing a well-curated front porch not only adds value to your home, but it also creates another opportunity for [you] to increase your living space,” says Totty. “Think of it as your outdoor living room.”
Whether you have a modern concrete slab or a grand wraparound porch with a view, there’s sure to be a design tip below to help you make the most of this all-important (and often neglected) space.
1. Bring art outside
Provided that you place it in a dry, weather-proofed part of your porch, “artwork, or even a mirror placed on an inside wall, can create interest and give the look of an indoor living space,” Totty says. It's like getting the best of both worlds!
2. Set a table (or two)
Although many porches have minimal square footage, “Cocktail and side tables make the space functional and cozy,” says Totty.
A bistro table with two to four chairs should be more than adequate for an al fresco dinner or after-dinner cocktail with friends. And while the chairs and table don’t need to match, “They should complement each other,” she adds.
3. Front porch fire pit
“Table fire features are a great way to create an elegant atmosphere,” says Totty. Even a small fire pit “brings a wow factor to any porch decor,” she says.
Buy one off the shelf or gather ingredients like lava rocks, a rectangular planter, and gel fuel, and craft your own DIY version.
4. Lose the boring porch lights
When you’re revamping your porch space, lighting is key. "Flush-mount lighting is not the only option,” Totty says.
Try modern semiflush-mount lighting or a chic pendant light instead. Either option will illuminate the threshold of your home and give your visitors something to talk about when they walk through the door.
5. Anchor the space with furniture
If space is plentiful, choose a sturdy, solid set of furniture that can withstand the onslaught of weather from all four seasons, says Totty.
Opt for a sofa, love seat, or armchair (or some combination of the two) upholstered in outdoor fabric. Then, place a throw blanket on the arms of the furniture before guests stop by, to make the space feel even more cozy.
The goal, Totty says, is to create “a living room aesthetic for year-round use.”
6. Throw paint on the ceiling
Who says your porch ceiling has to be a shade of blah? Paint it a striking color like sky blue to "increase the depth of the space and ensure the architecture remains the focal point,” says Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager at the paint company PPG.
If blue isn't really your style, Schlotter suggests picking a color that will harmonize with your surrounding landscape.
7. Beam it up
Wooden beams are the architectural addition you didn’t know you needed. If you have a sloped, wide opening above your porch, consider adding in a few beams for a rustic, Craftsman-style vibe.
If you live in a rainy or snowy climate and are worried about water damage, you can still join in on the fun. Just check out faux wooden beams.
“Unlike real wood products, faux beams stand up to extreme outdoor conditions and don’t attract wood-boring pests. They don’t split, crack, or chip like real wood, and are much lighter and cheaper than buying old barn wood,” says David Ellwanger, owner of AZ Faux Beams. Faux wood might also be a good choice if termites are a problem in your area.