18 Ways to Create a Breezy Porch
Design ideas that can turn a porch to perch on into an inviting open-air room
Add splashes of color and a few creature comforts to turn a ho-hum extension off the house into a spot to welcome the day—and guests.
A row of rockers is great for watching the parade go by but requires neck-craning if you want to converse. Here, vintage furniture is arranged to encourage an easy exchange while offering varied views of the landscape. For all-weather wicker seats, try International Caravan's Chelsea four-piece Conversation Furniture Set in Antique Moss, about $540; Target
Area rugs can suggest distinct "rooms" without walls. Here, one rug channels visitors toward the front door while the other signals a gathering spot.
Shown: Color-bound Natural Sisal Rugs, from $59 each; Pottery Barn
A covered porch offers the advantage of a solid ceiling to protect an eye-catching chandelier, such as this Arts and Crafts stunner. Invest in a high-quality fixture and it can last for decades.
Similar to Shown: Alameda Mission Single-Pole Art-Glass Chandelier in Black Enamel, about $1080; Rejuvenation
Container gardens can bridge the gap between a porch and its lush surroundings; these glazed ceramic pots also reinforce the porch's red and green scheme.
Similar to Shown: Festive Large Red Planter, about $28; Crate & Barrel
For a tied-together look, reinforce the paint scheme. The furnishings here coordinate with the ceiling, trim, and shutters.
This wicker one, made from woven resin, offers vintage charm with little maintenance; just hose it down a few times a year, no need to repaint.
Similar to Shown: International Caravan's Chelsea Wicker Resin and Steel Outdoor Porch Swing in Antique Pecan, about $270; Wayfair.com
When space is at a premium, seek out multitaskers like this rustic green bench. When not in use for sitting or for setting out wine and cheese, it's a plant stand.
Similar to Shown: Painted Cottage Bench in Light Sage, about $140; L.L.Bean
Throw pillows and blankets can turn a sturdy outdoor seat into a cozy lounge. Here, pillows with cases of naturally weather-resistant wool kilim offer back support, and a quick-dry, easy-clean polypropylene rug warms up the floor.
On a cool, gray day, this painted table, scored at an antiques shop, offers a bit of sunshine and a focal point. Customize your own vintage piece with spray paint. Krylon indoor/outdoor enamel in glossy Sun Yellow, about $8; Amazon.com
Mismatched furniture looks harmonious when painted one color, especially if the materials, scale, and shapes are similar. Glossy white unites these three seats. Find old wicker chairs for as little as $25 apiece on Craigslist.
Flower baskets skirting the porch roof act as a green screen. Here, one basket is set off by the oval "window" of a neighbor's trellis. Consider cascading-type begonias for their showy flowers and Boston ferns for their arching fronds. Hanging Basket Begonia Collection of 10 plants, about $60; Breck's
Boston fern in a 10-inch basket, about $17; The Home Depot
The air on even a shady porch can get stagnant on a hot day. A ceiling fan keeps it breezy while thwarting mosquitoes—their little wings are no match for a mighty wind. Choose an outdoor-rated version with a light so that you can linger after dark. We like the Hampton Bay Seaport 52-inch White Indoor/Outdoor Fan, about $120; The Home Depot
A grilling island alongside the porch adds a sense of enclosure while moving both cook and guests outdoors. This custom version boasts prep space and storage below. Kits make DIYing easier: Cal Flame's 6-foot Outdoor Kitchen Island Frame Kit has steel panels with cutouts for the grill, a fridge, and door—you supply the appliances and cladding. About $800; The Home Depot
Trees may start out as scrawny saplings, but they provide privacy once they fill in. Trawl the garden center for compact ornamental trees that won't threaten your roof with overhanging limbs, such as a 5-foot kousa dogwood, about $100 at Brighter Blooms.
A chaise longue or a hammock is great for naps. Here, a more substantial, vintage wrought-iron daybed is even more inviting. To keep the mattress fresh and mildew-free, use a waterproof cover. Protect-A-Bed's Plush Fitted Protector is softer than the zip-up vinyl versions, and it's machine washable. About $70 for a twin; Target
Period architectural details lend patina to a new porch and can boost the historical cred of an existing one. This stained-glass window, set within an open wood framework, provides the illusion of a windowed wall. Find similar stained glass for less than $300 at Historic House Parts.
The rust and chipped paint on this iron bed and wood table give the space a relaxed, lived-in vibe. Leave surfaces exposed so that they'll wear even faster, or freeze them in time by spraying on a few coats of clear sun- and moisture-resistant varnish, such as Cabot Satin Spar Varnish Aerosol Spray, about $9 for an 11½-ounce can; Lowe's.