Style Guide: Make the Most of Your Porch

Make your porch warm and inviting with our tips on decorating your space.


Hi, I'm Jennifer Cuff, home editor at Southern Living. Porches are outdoor rooms and their decorating should be approached with the same care and consideration as your interior room. Beyond seeding, consider the extras that will encourage use around the clock and throughout the year. An important part of our porch time is dining al fresco. Including a dining table and chairs on your porch expands your opportunity for sitting down and enjoying casual meals. The setting doesn't have to be fancy but it should reflect the other furniture you have on your porch. [MUSIC] Since you don't have to be as concerned about damaging rain and sun, screened areas can accommodate more interior style furniture. [MUSIC] When setting your table, treat it just like your interior. Outside doesn't mean picnic and casual doesn't mean plastic. Use real linens and real china. If your porch is deep enough and protected, somewhat, from the elements. Consider including a cabinet or sideboard. It will provide welcome storage for serving pieces and family games. Plus, it also works well as a surving surface for a bar or buffet setup. Be sure to choose materials and finishes that look good when aged and can stand up to a little wear and tear. Worn wood is a great option. Just like inside, a fireplace adds romantic atmosphere to your porch. It can also extend the number of days you can be outside. The addition of a large end wall can accommodate a built-in fireplace. As well as a hold a carved out niche, to hold plenty of wood. A free standing stone fireplace, adds a nice rustic focal point, but still allow openness to the surroundings, if your fireplace includes a mantle, choose outdoor inspired collections, such as birdhouses. For your display. Lighting is an important part of your outdoor space and your choice of fixtures should complement the style of your home's architecture. Whether you live at the coast, in the mountains or somewhere in between, choose a light that reflects your regional location. Gas lanterns are iconic in the South, especially in cities such as Charleston and New Orleans. The romantic fixtures can be hooked up to a home's existing gas line, or to a separate gas source, such as a propane tank. [MUSIC] Add additional ambient light to your setting with lamps. There are several companies that make lamps especially for outdoor use. Or, if your porch is more protected, bring out one from the inside. Galvanized metal, wood, and iron bases are all good choices. Lastly, for a finishing touch, don't forget the plants and flowers. They are a great way to connect the porch to your surrounding yard and garden. For more porch decorating ideas, pick up a copy of Southern Living and visit
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