20 Screened-In Porches You'll Never Want to Leave

Porch with Blue Stripped Rug
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

If you've ever sat inside a screened-in porch during a rainstorm, you understand their appeal. Outside, yet semi-protected from the elements, the screened-in porch can serve as a year-round place to relax, enjoy a cold drink, and catch up with a close friend. Of course, no two are exactly alike, so you have to consider the purpose of your porch: Do you want a place to curl up with a book? Or a spot to dine al fresco? A soothing, dreamily decorated space, or a colorful, energizing area for family game nights? Flip through our favorite screened-in porches to find stylish ways to upgrade yours.

01 of 20

Go All Out with Rattan

Screened Porch with Tall Windows and Columns
Laurey W. Glenn

This gorgeous porch belongs to uber-Southern decorator, Jane Hodges. When she renovated it, she added the columns and raised the ceilings to 11 feet to max out the views of the trees. Her choice of rattan furniture (and its symmetrical arrangement) underscores the porch's linear architecture. Although rattan won't fare well on a patio, it's natural aesthetic is a great option for a screened-in porch. Consider matching your cushions to the color of the ceiling as Hodges did, giving a pretty nod to the painted ceilings of old Southern porches.

02 of 20

Create a Natural Curtain

Vines Outside of Screened Porch
ERICA GEORGE DINES

Artist and fabric designer Susan Hable grew a variegated porcelain vine on the outside of her porch screen for a lush look that she says "feels almost like a curtain." This vine produces gorgeous purple and blue berries, providing a colorful view from inside your porch, but keep in mind: It grows quickly and tends to spread.

03 of 20

Build in Furniture Flexibility

Screened Porch with Wrap Around Bench
ERICA GEORGE DINES

Behind the vines, Susan Hable's screened-in porch, which opens off of her kitchen, houses lots of flexible seating for dining or even taking a nap. Two wide, backless benches act like a banquette, while the little table provides enough room for a couple place settings (and can lso be easily scooted aside). "I wanted a proper table, but we didn't have enough room for separate dining and seating areas. These benches kind of provide both," says Hable. Choose easily movable furniture in a colorful hodpodge of styles to make your space adaptable to any occasion.

04 of 20

Don't Fear High-End Finishes

Porch with Black and White Checkered Floor
Erica George Dines

For an Atlanta pool house, architect Norman Askins created a freestanding screened-in porch with all the polish of an interior room. "It's important to take design cues from the main house," he says. Chippendale railings and a cupola give the porch handsome architectural detailing. Mimic this upscale look with checkerboard flooring, detailed railings, or high-end accessories, like the mirror over the fireplace or the garden stool.

05 of 20

Add a Second Story

Two Story Screened Porch
Laurey W. Glenn

This spacious, two-story porch was designed as an ode to the tall pine trees surrounding the cedar-clad home, one of the first built on Bald Head Island in North Carolina. The vertical slats draw the eye toward the tree tops, yet they're narrow enough to avoid visual clutter. Even if you don't have a double-decker porch, consider creating different zones in a large screened-in area, pairing chairs for conversation spots and placing benches around a multipurpose table for dining or playing board games.

06 of 20

Opt for Extra-Deep Cushions

Rattan Furniture
Laurey W. Glenn

When choosing furnishings for this screened-in porch, designer Lisa Sherry wanted natural materials like teak and rattan, both for their rustic durability and their chic appearance. But comfort was also paramount, so she selected extra-deep sofa and armchairs and piled them with plenty of pillows. Low-profile furniture keeps outdoor views front and center.

07 of 20

Max Out the Seating

Purple Sectional Seating
Joe Pugliese

On her teeny Charleston, South Carolina, porch, artist Lulie Wallace placed a large L-shaped sectional in the corner and cozied it up with lots of brightly-hued pillows. A wraparound bench is an easy way to pack lots of seating into a tight space, yielding a cozy nook that beckons guests to curl up with a glass of wine and a good book. When choosing pillows, mingle colors and patterns for a playful, eclectic vibe you might consider too bold in indoor spaces.

08 of 20

Take Full Advantage of Views

Blue and White Palette Porch Dining Area
Laurey W. Glenn

A classic white palette keeps this screened-in porch all about the waterfront views. The simple rectangular table is positioned to let diners soak up the scenery, creating the ideal spot for an al fresco meal. The best part? The screen will keep out all those pesky gnats and mosquitos that love the water as much as we do. Opt for accessories that play off of your surroundings; in this case, the blue cushions, cups, and napkins echo the water on the other side of the screen.

09 of 20

Play with Dark Tones

Screened Porch with Dark Brown Ceiling and Floor
Laurey W. Glenn

This screened-in porch spans the front of a 1000-square-foot lake home, maxing out living space and capitalizing on swoon-worthy water views. The owner chose to go dark with Benjamin Moore's Bronzetone, so that the foliage outside is the star of the show. If you decide to coat your walls in a darker hue, opt for a light-colored rug to keep your space from feeling weighed down.

10 of 20

Choose Breezy Hues

Caribbean Porch with Pastel Colors
Hector Sanchez

This nook of a screened-in porch in Seaside, Florida, oozes charm with its sherbet-colored palette. The pops of color aren't too matchy-matchy, so the decor avoids being overly coordinated or cute, while the throughline of white wicker unifies the small space. If you're not ready to apply color to your walls and ceiling, steal the vibrant blue-green hue of this porch's door.

11 of 20

Pick a Statement Ceiling Fan

Oriental Rug with Blue Chair Cushions
Laurey W. Glenn

If you've spent any time in the South, you know summertime can get sticky. A ceiling fan is a functional accessory that can also help reinforce the desired aesthetic of your outdoor living space. In this case, the dark-metal details on the ceiling fan complement the owner's old Oriental rug and antique pie safe. These anchor pieces elevate the flea market finds that outfit the porch, which wraps a wigwam-shaped lake house in Alabama.

12 of 20

Cozy Up with Chintz

White Porch with Brown Wicker Furniture
Helen Norman

Architect Norman Askins filled the vaulted porch in his mountain cottage with classic wicker pieces, fitted with chintz cushions in muted hues. First popularized by George Washington, this floral pattern is quintessentially Southern and classically stylish. A painted wood valance dresses up the porch window, while lots of live greenery accents the chintz perfectly.

13 of 20

Lay Down a Patterned Rug

White and Blue Porch with Area Rug
Laurey W. Glenn

Four comfortable chairs around a funky raw-edge coffee table turned this previously underused 130-square-foot porch into a destination for morning coffee or after-work drinks. A large-print, geometric rug brings vibrancy and visual interest, while providing a color cue for accessories, like the coffee table books and throw blanket. The trick to pulling it all together in a cinch? Stick to a can't-fail color scheme like blue and white with touches of natural wood to pull in the outdoors.

14 of 20

Pair Modern and Classic Pieces

Wild and Funky Dining Space
Laurey W.Glenn

Curvy and easy-to-clean Panton chairs lend modern flair to normally staid teak outdoor tables. The designer (and homeowner) of this rustic screened-in porch, Lisa Sherry, went wild and spray-painted the fish she found at a flea market, mounting it to the porch's frame. This white creature feature has become the home's mascot—and proves that unexpected accessories are perfectly at home in a laidback screened-in porch.

15 of 20

Bring in Black Accents

Mountain House Screened Porch
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

An all-white porch is classic and restful (which we love!). But for an aesthetic surprise, add black accents, like the lampshades, iron daybed, and wicker ottomon with black trim on this screened-in porch. Though the furnishings are traditional, the black touches help enliven the space. A bar cart doubling as a side table is both functional and fun, ensuring you'll gravitate to your porch day and night.

16 of 20

Fill in Gaps with Potted Plants

Screened Porch painted floors
Hector Manuel Sanchez

For a botanical, greenhouse vibe, tuck potted plants into every corner of your enclosed porch. In this lushly outfitted space, we love the juxtaposition of the warm-toned vintage rug with the bright green color of the loveseat and plants. Vary the height and scale of your greenery to draw attention to your porch's architecture, from painted floor to soaring ceiling.

17 of 20

Pick a Wall-to-Wall Rug

screen in porch for yearlong living of The Loudon house in Habersham southern living inspired community
Laurey Glenn

The back porch on this lowcountry cottage is designed for all-year-long relaxing. A wall-to-wall rug cozies up the space for the colder months, and thoughtful accessories, like a tasseled blanket and abundant pillows, play up the "indoor" aspect of the indoor-outdoor room. Pick a low-pile rug for easy clean-up and durability. The stripes on this one follow the natural flow of the porch and guide the eye toward the door—though we suspect no one who lands here will be eager to leave.

18 of 20

Warm Things Up with a Fireplace

Idea House 2020 Screened Porch with Outdoor Stone Fireplace
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Kendra Surface

If you're building your screened-in porch from scratch, consider springing for a fireplace. Not only does the investment ensure you can use your space for four seasons, it also amplifies the coziness by several degrees. To maintain an outdoorsy feel, choose a natural material, like the gray stone here, and switch out the accessories on the mantel according to the season.

19 of 20

Install Double Doors

Rustic Screened Porch in Birmingham, AL
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Love the sound of a slamming screen door? If you've got a big back porch, make a grand entry by installing double doors. You can prop them open to let air flow through and give you a better view of your gardens. A vaulted ceiling matches the scale of the dramatic entryway, while honeyish hues warm up what could be a sterile space if it were whitewashed.

20 of 20

Add Pops of Red

St. Teresa, FL Beach House Screened Porch Sitting Area
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Frances Bailey

For a beachfront porch, blue would seem the natural accent color. But red? It's both surprising and eye-catching. The red piping on the cushions delivers the kind of thoughtful detail Southerners love, and the otomi pillows are a welcome alternative to classic coastal decor (though the antique tarpon on the wall reminds visitors they're in Florida).

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