It's All About Fabric
Think of styling your swing as you would your sofa. It can have three square cushions across the seat, or one long cushion with a pair of square, round, or bolster pillows on each end. Even if your porch is covered, you should still purchase pillows and cushions made from outdoor, acrylic fabric. Some of our favorite outdoor fabric collections include Sunbrella, Scalamandré, SeaCloth, Waverly, Robert Allen, and Perennials. Check with your local fabric store for prices and ordering information.
We found this unfinished wood swing and frame at The Home Depot for around $150. You can customize a basic swing with a little paint and some fun outdoor pillows. For a different look, add a cushion in a bold tropical pattern, and then top it with two throw pillows. Retailers such as Smith & Hawken, Lands' End, Target, and T.J. Maxx sell ready-made cushions that will fit standard-size bench swings.
The pillows are so cute that they can be used indoors or out. Consider trimming pillows with piping or fringe or using two colors of solid fabric to create patterns.
Note: When hanging a porch swing, be sure to insert the hook screws into solid beams in the ceiling. A stud finder can help you locate beams. If possible, use a carriage-style bolt hook through the beam for an extra measure of security.
"One Swinging Season" is from the May 2006 issue of Southern Living.