Outdoor living areas essentially add to the square footage of a property. So it only makes sense that homeowners make the most out of any exterior space they have. Even if it’s a small front porch, there are many ways in which you transform it into a livable area that’s both charming and practical. Incorporating your front porch into your living spaces is easier than it seems. All you would need is a design that features elements serving both form and function. Anything from plants to rocking chairs, lighting fixtures, and other accessories can serve as primary aspects of a functional front porch that catches the eye while boosting curb appeal.
What’s a front porch without the ever-so classic rocking chair? You could spend many an afternoon indulging yourself in a book as the creaking sound of the chair adds to the soothing ambiance. Besides the mesmerizing comfort it provides, a rocking chair offers a vintage aesthetic to your outdoor sitting area. As a matter of fact, these timeless pieces of furniture are making a huge comeback as of late. Although you can probably find one at a department store, consider shopping for a vintage piece at a yard sale or an antique store — you’d also end up saving more than a few bucks.
2. Porch Swing
Do your front porch a favor by adding a porch swing. It’s a huge favorite among kids and adults alike. Besides being popular among many homeowners — and an icon of outdoor furniture — a swinging bench offers an optimal comfort and can serve as the focal point of the porch. You could either opt for a free-standing porch swing (with a frame and awning) or one that is suspended directly from the porch ceiling, depending on the space available. The latter may be ideal for smaller porches. If you're handy with tools, consider brushing up on your carpentry skills by building your own DIY porch swing. Alternatively, you could buy one from your local IKEA.
3. Lighting Feature
Having a wall lamp or two outside your front door means that you can spend time on your porch even after the sun sets. Although lantern sconces are the common choices for porch lighting, you could pretty much go for any type of fixture as long as it’s built for outdoor use. String lights, for instance, have been trending for quite a while. Another creative option involves grouping a few lanterns together to form an adequate source of illumination — this is also ideal for a fall or winter design as it resonates with the seasonal aesthetic. Otherwise, you can choose to go with the classic outdoor sconce for a vintage look that inspires nostalgia while lighting up your porch after dark.
4. Breakfast Area
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice Saturday morning breakfast on the front porch? A couple of armchairs and a small table are all that you’d need to set up an area on your porch where you can truly savor your morning tea or coffee. For the material, your best option would be anything that suits the warmer months when you can actually have breakfast outside — consider rattan or wicker. If you don’t mind the cold, however, you could go for teakwood or metal as they are better suited for winter. When picking out the table, make sure to account for size. You’ll want a table that accommodates at least a couple of teacups and a kettle.
5. Comfy Seating
Whether you’re reading a book, sipping tea, or simply getting some fresh air, you’ll want your porch furniture to be as comfortable as possible. A couple of throw pillows and soft seat padding allow for a pleasant lounging experience. Speaking of lounging, you could also go for a lounge chair for that extra bit of comfort. Moreover, it’s a good idea to have room for at least two people should a guest or a family member be keeping you company. As for the color palette, consider sticking to neutral tones and using accents such as throw pillows and blankets for seasonal updates.
6. Lush Greenery
What better way to adorn your front porch than with a celebration of nature. Create a burst of colors with flowering plants in pots placed all throughout the railing and the ceiling of the porch. Besides the vibrant beauty, the arrangement of blooming flora also offers shade and purifies the air. Your selection of flowers can include violas, petunias, geraniums, pansies, snapdragons, angelonias, marigolds, and cyclamens. Certain varieties even provide a soothing aroma that fills up the porch, creating an atmosphere that’s delightful and inviting throughout most of the year.
7. Decorative Accessories
Personalize your porch area with an assortment of decorative pieces. Wicker baskets, for instance, are popular elements of design that could serve a variety of purposes. You can use them to store gardening tools, extra pillows, and blankets, or even to display floral arrangements. A set of porcelain figures such as bunnies or garden gnomes can also be a great addition to your front porch decor. Consider weaving in trendy accessories to match each season. While decorative lanterns can add a warm glow during winter, colorful accents brilliantly resonate with a spring aesthetic.
8. Accent Table
Since the front porch is typically a small space, it’s important to have versatile elements that serve more than one purpose. Pieces of furniture mainly focus on delivering comfort before aesthetics, which is why it would be a good idea for an understated unit such as a table to resonate with the decor. An accent table with a patterned ceramic surface, for instance, can add instant charm while serving its primary function — more so if it’s a vintage piece. Consider going for round table-tops instead of square ones to allow for a smoother flow of traffic. An alternative way to elevate an accent table is with a patterned tablecloth that accentuates the overall style of the front porch.
9. Sitting Area
If space permits, you could turn your front porch into a functional sitting area. A settee, a coffee table, and an armchair or two can efficiently serve as a space for enjoying food and drinks while soaking up that fresh air. Should the area feel somewhat overwhelmed, you can switch out the coffee table for an end table instead. Regarding the material, you may want to make sure that it’s weatherproof and can withstand a wide range of temperature conditions. As for the color scheme, go for light tones such as white or beige, and consider patterned throw pillows that you can switch out to accentuate each season.
10. Area Rug
Nothing makes a front porch feel homier than an area rug on which you can remove your shoes and unwind after a long day. In porches with an adequate seating arrangement, a well-placed rug can essentially tie the whole space together. If your porch features a design dominated by natural materials, a jute rug can be an ideal option. Other options for rug fabrics that are suitable for outdoor use include olefin, polyester, and polypropylene. A patterned rug with contrasting colors can brilliantly accentuate other elements — as long as it’s consistent with the overall palette.
11. Cozy Hammock
If your porch falls a little short on space — or you simply prefer something different than regular seating — a fun idea is to have a hammock on which you can lounge for hours. Should space allow for it, you can even have one in addition to the existing furniture. Not only does a hammock serve as an unconventional source of comfort, but it is also considerably inexpensive. This makes it ideal if your budget doesn’t allow for an outdoor sofa or lounge chair. You can find a large variety of hammocks at department stores as well as shops that specialize in camping equipment.
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