Our home’s porches can be much more than just a place to enjoy the outdoors. We should take the time to design a porch for an outdoor room well. These areas of our properties can boost curb appeal, extend our living space considerably, and showcase our style.
They can even be locations where we escape day to day stress and unwind and relax effectively. If you’re not currently making much use of your porch, here are some ideas to help you do things differently.
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Design with Your Specific Needs in Mind
Firstly, as with any other part of your home, it’s important to make your porch for an outdoor room work for you and your family’s specific needs. Personalize the space by choosing a layout, furniture, colors, and accents that express your style and how you want to utilize the area, not to mention your budget.
For you, a major reason to do up the porch for an outdoor room may be so you can better use it for regular casual outdoor meals with friends and family or even to throw the occasional party for a special occasion. For others, it might be about adding a fireplace and a comfortable lounge so you can relax in the zone, or setting up this external area as a spot to leave shoes, coats, umbrellas, and the like.
Alternatively, you might be focused on installing plenty of storage, such as built-in bench seating around the perimeter of the porch with storage area underneath, so you have less visual clutter around. No matter how you want to use your porch, plan everything out in advance and include amenities and features based on your individual situation.
Mix Up the Furniture Shapes
Much of the outdoor furniture on the market these days is quite bulky and boxy, particularly lounge sets and dining tables. If you want to keep your porch for an outdoor room looking interesting, light, airy, and an elegant extension of your home’s inside, it pays to vary the shapes of the furnishings you decorate with.
So, for instance, you can have one or two solidly designed pieces, such as a sofa frame, but pair this with more streamlined, spindly chairs or a fine-boned coffee table. Switch silhouettes throughout your porch area to provide contrast and prevent the space from looking too cluttered and overdone.
Create an Overhead Focal Point
Many people concentrate on the main furniture and other eye-level accents when designing their porch. However, don’t forget to look further up and down. Think about creating an overhead focal point to ensure your porch is well-designed from on high.
A quality ceiling fan with light built-in will do double duty, providing function and form. Choose a sculptural-looking piece with a decent light in it so that you boost visual interest, improve the temperature and airflow, and get sufficient illumination when you need it.
You could also add an architecturally-designed pergola above your porch. Doing this will give you some protection from the elements, filter through the light in a pleasing way, and create a structure for plants to climb. A pergola, which doesn’t have to be too costly, especially if you choose a stand-alone DIY option, also adds a decorative flourish to the zone. Paint it the same shade as the trim on your home or the interior wall colors to tie everything together.
Don’t Forget the Floor
As for taking the gaze lower, also dress up the floor of your porch. It’s often one of the last things people consider when upgrading this part of a property, but it is an integral component. For some real oomph, you could lay graphic floor tiles to personalize the space and add a fun burst of color.
If you don’t have the budget, time, and energy for this, stick with what’s already on the flooring but dress it up by painting the area or laying wooden planks over the top. Alternatively, add some striking outdoor area rugs. There is an array of products in many sizes available these days, all built to withstand the elements, so you shouldn’t need to look far to find a good fit.
Use a smaller product to create a transition between the indoors and out or to provide some color and plushness around a seating area. Buy a larger rug to help delineate big porch living spaces. It helps to set up different zones on a porch for various activities, and rugs can help you to do this.
Now is a great time to give that often-ignored area of your property the makeover it needs. Follow the tips above, and before you know it, your porch will become the favorite “room” at your house.