Porch Decoration Ideas

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A porch is just right for enjoying the beauty of nature with all the comforts of home. It can provide a "front row seat" where you can watch all the action on a lively street or the silent grace of a passing deer on a country road.

From a design perspective, porches are seen as transitional space, giving visitors a preview of what it will be like inside your house. If you're lucky enough to have a porch, your design elements will help make it the perfect place for outdoor relaxation and gatherings.

Furnishing Your Porch

Your porch is really an outdoor room, and like any room it needs furniture. Here are some pieces you may want on your porch:

  • Chairs: Rocking chairs provide timeless comfort and charm while the four-legged variety is great for enjoying a cool glass of lemonade.
  • Couches: An outdoor couch with soft cushions is just right for curling up with a great book or a friend.
  • Gliders or porch swings: Nothing evokes old-fashioned romance like a classic glider or porch swing. These cozy seats are the perfect for watching the stars with someone you love, and perhaps stealing a kiss.
  • Tables: Decorative tables provide a place to put down plates and drinks while spending time on your porch.

You can use almost any type of furniture for your porch, as long as it will stand up to the elements. Wicker, metal and plastic resin are all popular choices. Wooden porch furniture also works well, as long as it is covered with a finish or paint designed for the outdoors.

Fabric furniture cushions introduce color and texture to your space. You can easily spray paint outdoor furniture so it fits in with your color scheme. Arranging your furniture so that people can easily see each other to converse will create a friendly atmosphere.

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Porch Lighting

If you're planning to spend time on your porch at night, you'll need to introduce some sort of lighting. Solar lamps are environmentally sound and usually very affordable. They give off a soft ambient glow. Paper lanterns and other mini-lights also provide festive mood lighting. For brighter light consider electrical lighting options including:

  • Freestanding outdoor post lamps
  • Hard-wired overhead fixtures or wall sconces.
  • Outdoor table lamps

Candlelight is another beautiful choice, filling your porch with natural warmth.

Bringing Your Porch to Life

Green plants and flowers add bursts of color and life to your porch setting. Here are a few ways to liven up your porch with plants:

  • Cut flowers
  • Flower boxes
  • Hanging baskets
  • Potted floor or table plants

If you want to maintain a garden look for your porch through the winter, quality faux plants will keep your porch blooming until you can reintroduce fresh spring flowers.

Porch Decorations and Accessories

Accessorizing your porch gives you a chance to express your personality and taste. Choose a theme and let your imagination run wild. You may want to add:

  • Bird feeders and houses
  • Sea shells or sea glass in clear vases
  • Sculpture
  • Sun catchers
  • Tabletop Zen rock gardens
  • Wind chimes
  • Wreaths

To enhance your porch atmosphere with music, try adding outdoor speakers from your stereo or a portable dock for your mp3 player.

Porch Flooring Options

Your porch floor is an important part of its design, and will contribute to the look you're putting together. You can enhance a wooden porch floor with a bleached finish for a seaside theme, or a deep stain for an elegant, old-world feel. Another option is to paint your porch floor with outdoor paint that complements your color scheme.

For the feel of a comfortable, cozy room, outdoor area rugs are available in colors and styles to fit almost any décor. You may want only one large rug in the center of your porch, or several smaller accent rugs in different areas.

Staying Cool

One nice feature of a well-designed porch is that it can shelter you from heat of the sun. Here are some ways to keep your porch cool on hot summer days:

  • Awnings:Retractable awnings provide cooling shade when you need it.
  • Curtains and shades: Long curtains or pull down shades made from all-weather fabric can be opened to let in light or closed to keep out heat or even rain.
  • Fans: Electric fans keep the air moving and provide some relief from the heat. Ceiling fans are both decorative and effective. If they are not an option for your porch, simple table or floor fans will do the trick.

Keeping the Bugs Away

Biting insects can ruin your porch experience. To discourage these uninvited guests, citronella candles/torches or bug zappers help keep them at bay. You can also try replacing the bulbs in your outdoor fixtures with yellow bug lights. Because mosquitoes breed in still waters, be sure to drain out any standing water collecting near your house. If all else fails, you may want to consider screening in your porch.

Large Porch Luxury

If your budget and porch space permit, you may be interested in creating a true luxury porch for your home. Here are some elements that will make a visit to your porch feel like a vacation:

  • Elegant, full-size dining table and chairs
  • Fireplace or fire pit
  • Outdoor kitchen facilities
  • Hot tub
  • Wet bar

Happy Porch Memories

Whether your porch is large or small, you can design a space that reflects your unique personality and provides a comfortable place for relaxing and entertaining. Designing a porch is fun and easy on any budget and you'll enjoy many years creating happy porch memories with family and friends.

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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