5 Tips For Your Screened-In Porch from Designer Elle Cole

We're not yet facing the heat of summer, so it's the perfect time to enjoy your porch. Elle Cole, of Elle Cole Interiors, is a Dallas-based interior designer who's known for creating outdoor living spaces with indoor functionality and feel. She honed her skills with architect James Langford and decorator Betty Lou Phillips, and, in 2012, she opened her own design firm in the Park Cities neighborhood. Today, she's sharing with us her five best design tips on how to turn your screened-porch into the ultimate entertaining (or relaxing!) retreat.

1. Consider the interior. Furnish your porch with stylish, weather-resistant pieces that flow with or are similar in style to the rest of the furniture in the house. This creates a seamless flow of the interior to exterior spaces. Otherwise, the porch will feel disconnected and out of balance compared to the rest of your home.

2. Don't confine your guests. Create multiple seating areas to make sure that there is ample room for your guests to mingle casually. While some guests are dining, others can be sitting in lounge chairs and not be in the way of each other.

3. Create a breeze. As much as we shy away from them, your porch should have a fan to move the air throughout the space. This will make the space much more comfortable for guests. There are many great options on the market, so you won't have to settle on an unattractive fan.

4. Go for weather-resistant. There are dozens of beautiful fabrics for upholstering furniture that are for outdoor use. They'll give your porch a polished look, while also standing up to harsh outdoor elements. Various textile companies, like Sunbrella, specialize in outdoor fabrics. So, choose fabrics that are labeled for outdoor use.

5. Keep it bright. Take advantage of summer night breezes by outfitting your porch with ample lighting. When you're entertaining in the evening, your space should be as well-lit as your interiors. It won't be pleasant if you’re trying to entertain, and your guests are sitting in the dark!

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