Sometimes, less is more.
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White House with potted pink and purple hydrangeas
Residential designer Meredith Sherrill, Franks Building Company, and Falkner Gardens designed this inviting Birmingham cottage.
| Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Produced: Mark Thompson; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

We've said it time and time again, what's more Southern than a front porch? Nothing. They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. From a 660-square foot cottage to a historic Mississippi farmhouse, a porch can make a big (we're talking huge) difference in a home's look and feel.

If you're lucky enough to spend your mornings, afternoons, or evenings out on a porch, make sure you max out your porch-sitting potential with the right design. Our number-one piece of advice? The style of your porch should work with the architecture of your home just as it does with your personality and lifestyle. While there are many ways to decorate your porch area, there are also a few things you should avoid to prevent it from looking incomplete or out of place. After all, curb appeal is important, we want to help you decorate the right way so you don't waste your tie and money accessorizing your porch with the wrong decor.

To assist, we reached out to Caron Woolsey, the founder and principal designer at CW Interiors, to hear about her must-do's and don'ts for the ideal porch.

Don't Work Against Your Home

A picturesque porch design starts with the architecture of your home. "For a clean and polished look on your porch, create a design that works with the architecture of your home; not against it," Woolsey says. "This seamlessness allows one to appreciate the whole of the outdoor space, without having to reconcile two very different aesthetics." As tempting as the boho aesthetic may be for a sun porch, it will look out of place paired with a modern farmhouse layout and decor on the inside of your home. If you're trying to switch up design styles or add an element from a different style to your porch set up, Woolsey recommends maintaining your home's primary design while switching minor details to a different style. For example, if you have a traditional home but are hoping to incorporate modern style, choose furniture with clean lines but keep the color palette soft. You could also approach a switch in style by choosing classically designed furniture with contours while adding a rug with geometric patterns for a touch of modernity.  

Do Avoid Clutter

Whether your style is eclectic with treasures carefully arranged on every surface or is polished minimalism with every chair in its place, Woolsey says that your porch design is all about balance. Even if you have an expansive wrap-around porch, don't clutter your outdoor living space with too much furniture. Just like your interior design, your porch should reflect your personality and serve as a retreat to connect you to nature.

Don't Neglect What You Add

Be sure to add plants to your front porch—you know we're suckers for a dramatic container garden—as a continuation of whatever beautiful blooms are planted in your yard. To extend the life of your outdoor furniture and other decor, be sure to clean them before the weather starts getting warm and store any fabrics, even if they are weatherproof, to maximize their lifespan.

Now that you've learned the secrets to an effortless porch design, it's time to focus on which refreshing drink you'll serve your guests once the weather turns warm.