This Georgia homeowner turned her outdoor room into a family favorite. Her secret? An oversize swing that takes comfort to a whole new level.

The South's porches are a traditional gathering place for family and friends to enjoy cool drinks and casual conversation. But because porches are partially exposed to the elements, you might think decorating choices are limited. This only challenged resourceful homeowner Valarie Britz to get creative. With smart choices, she took her porch from functional to fantastic.

Outdoor and More
Valarie had the porch space, but it lacked style. As an interior designer, she couldn't help but see her porch as a blank canvas waiting for the painter's touch.

The porch's color scheme and soft floral patterns mimic a spring morning. Pink florals pair with rose and green stripes on sink-in pillows and cushions. The swing, one of the family's favorite features, is painted a darker moss green. Coordinating ticking draperies also add something special to the space. "I used outdoor fabric," Valarie says. "It gives some sun control and privacy."

Great for Guests
Valarie knew her porch would be a perfect spot for entertaining. She made a buffet out of a slab of limestone and an iron base. Between parties she uses the table to display plants.

Perk Up Your Space

  • Add curtains for privacy and to give the space the look of a family room.
  • An oversize swing with a twin-size mattress cushion invites guests to relax.
  • Try a combo of floral and stripe fabrics outdoors where you can turn up the volume on color and pattern. Or paint the walls or ceiling a different color from the house.

"Plush Looks for Your Porch" is from the April 2007 issue of Southern Living.