Guest Author - Donna Coogan
A porch could be considered an American tradition in home architecture. It stirs up thoughts of warm afternoons sipping lemonade or cool evenings enjoying the fresh air. Itís the perfect spot to relax and read, to watch birds in the garden or to visit with friends.
If you are lucky enough to have a porch, you essentially have an outdoor room. Be sure to decorate it like you would any other room in your home. Too often people forget about decorating their porch and it ends up looking like an after thought with only a few lone chairs or an unsightly sofa. Or worse, loaded with odds and ends that creates an unsightly junk pile. But a porch can be so much more than that. Itís the ideal spot to create a year round outdoor retreat.
To decorate your porch, first begin by creating zones for different activities. You might consider areas for dining, relaxing, people-watching, star-gazing and socializing. Once you know how you want to use your porch, you can begin adding furnishings.
You can always buy outdoor furniture at a home improvement store, but there are great deals to be had on used items if you take the time to look. Check out the usual places like Craigslist, auctions, moving sales, etc. Such inexpensive flea market finds are the perfect items to enhance a porch.
When shopping concentrate on furniture with sturdy construction and appealing lines. Then for an easy, cheap fix, transform them with paint and new fabrics to give them the look and feel you want. There are wonderful weatherproof fabrics available today in many design styles.
When furnishing your porch, it can be fun to use unconventional items like an old flea-market hutch to store your gardening tools or outdoor pillows. Just let it weather naturally for a rustic, charming touch.
Arrange furnishings in casual conversational arrangements. Make sure there is a small table next to each seated area to set down a drink or book. A swing at one end with pretty pillows and some hanging plants are stereotypical of porches, but they really do add to the ambience of the space.
For extra personality, add some whimsical touches to your outdoor room. Hang art on the porch wall (the homeís siding) and set out a favorite collection. Make a pretty floorcloth for the floor or paint it in a checkerboard pattern or design a faux rug. Donít forget the ceiling Ė paint it a different color from the rest of the porch like aqua or pink or even add a beautiful mural. Include an attractive container near the door for muddy boots or wet umbrellas. Display your name and house number on a watering can or piece of old barn siding. Unexpected touches like these make a space more enchanting.
Extend your decorating to the yard with pretty landscaping. Add a mosaic stepping stone path or paint the stairs that lead up to the porch. Let visitors know that they are approaching a welcoming space.
Ultimately, when you decorate your porch, you are creating an area that invites you to put your feet up and stay a while. Have fun finding ways to add personal touches like you would any room in your home.