28 Big Ideas for Small Porches and Patios

Blue Patio Chairs with Blue and Green Striped Curtains
Photo: Hector Sanchez

While we love the look and feel of spacious porches, a large square foot area isn't a prerequisite for a true Southern porch. While a large, wrap-around patio might be something to dream about, these little beauties will make a case for living small and loving every square inch of your space. Just because your space is limited doesn't mean your design style needs to be. We've included a handful of our favorite small front porch and seating area ideas so that you're sure to be the most stylish and welcoming house on the block. We didn't want to leave out the back porches either, so there are also small back porch ideas tucked into this gallery. These small front porch decorating ideas will make your porch or patio area feel like an outdoor oasis. After trying a few of these stylish suggestions, you'll never want to leave this relaxing porch or patio space.

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Chill in the Airy Mountains

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

If your outdoor living space is small, you don't need to compromise on seating and entertaining possibilities. Mixing textures on indoor-outdoor furniture and a rolling bar cart make this porch suited for any time of the year, including those chilly autumn nights when living in the mountains is so magical. These textures warm up the area, specifically when you include cozy blankets and soft pillows.

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Create a Coastal Patio

Coastal Blue Patio
Hector Manuel Sanchez

A recessed, built-in window seat doesn't take up valuable real estate on this little patio. Garden stools that serve as side tables are an ideal choice for a small spot—they can be moved easily and double as extra seating. Coastal blues and plants add a cottage charm to this open space.

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Add Permanent Pavers

Concrete Dining Patio
Laurey W.Glenn

This patio was previously a rickety deck but transformed into a beautiful dining space. The permanent pavers add a personal touch to any outdoor space through distinctive layouts and textures. An established dining space can also include an outdoor grill or fire pit to roast marshmallows.

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Construct Utility Space

Outdoor Galvanized Sink
Laurey W. Glenn

Think outside the box. This small patio is used as a beautiful utility space thanks to a stunning galvanized sink. Whether you like to make a mess in the garden or your kids need a place to rinse off their hands, adding an outdoor sink allows you to keep the dirt outside.

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Landing Spot Turned Patio

Green Shutter with Pink Flowers and Bicycle
Hector Manuel Sanchez

A small landing spot can transform into a patio space by adding a few inviting decor items. Serving as an outdoor mudroom, adding a designated area for bikes and garden tools can be a way to increase the functionality of your small space. As a tip, keep containers small so you can relocate them quickly in a pinch.

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Overflow to the Screened Porch

Screened Porch with Sectional and Dining Table

A small table in the center of this screened-in porch acts as the focal point. It's right off the kitchen, making it an excellent spot for overflow when entertaining. Extend your next dinner party outdoors to add an ambiance on beautiful nights.

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Retreat to a Swing

Porch with Green Shutters and Swing
Laurey W. Glenn

All a Texas farmhouse porch needs is a swing and a small bench. Southern patios are idyllic when adding this quintessential, inviting feature. Sip some sweet tea or lemonade while waving at everyone who walks by your home, or create a retreat for reading a great book.

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Party for Two

White Porch with Green Wicker Rocking Chairs
Laurey W. Glenn

A consistent color scheme keeps this porch from being busy. Two wicker chairs and a simple vintage table make the space perfectly suited for a party of two. End the day in this serene spot, or start the morning with a cup of coffee or tea.

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Lounge Screened-In

Tropical Screened-In Porch with Beage
Hector Sanchez

This comfortable porch is the perfect spot for sipping a glass of wine on a breezy, warm evening. Add more days to the year you can enjoy outside with a screened-in or patio. Whether to protect from flies or to savor the sound of rain drops on a summer evening, covered spaces save you from nature's disruptions.

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Light and Breezy Loggia

Blue and White Porch with Wicker Chairs and Swing
Melanie Acevedo

The blue and white palette of this loggia keeps things breezy and gives the appearance of more space. A loggia, or room with one or more open sides, creates an indoor-outdoor living experience. Increasing the entertaining, dining, and socializing options is a bonus.

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Create Something Simple

Two Adirondack Chairs on Porch
Laurey W. Glenn

This deck keeps things simple. Two Adirondack chairs are all you need when the views are this good. As devised, remove the clutter, and relax on your outdoor patio or porch.

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Latticed Porch

White Latticed Front Porch
Helen Norman

To create a cozy porch, the designer enclosed the house's entrance with a white lattice. Two small garden benches on either side of the door make the perfect spot for sitting. This ornamental framework adds character to your home with minimal updating.

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Add Plenty of Seating

2019 Idea House Resource Guide Swing Porch
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

Dueling porch swings provide plenty of seating. The wide front steps can also work as a place to perch in a pinch. Everyone will want to stop by for a chat when the resting spot is this comfortable.

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Pair Seating Spaces

Blue Patio Chairs with Blue and Green Striped Curtains
Hector Sanchez

This tiny patio, dressed with striped outdoor drapery panels, pairs seats as if it were a small bistro table. The folding chairs provide the perfect spot for sipping early morning coffee. Escape to a European town square without leaving your front porch.

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Set for Cozy Cocktails

Cocktail Porch with Blue Rug
Laurey W.Glenn

This 130-square-foot screened porch was too small for a dining table or sofa but just the right size to be a cozy cocktail porch. Arrange furniture to facilitate a conversation and add a bar cart for convenience. Adding an outdoor rug can help people feel at home in this patio area.

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Embrace the Woods

Tod and Jenny Childress Fishing Cabin Porch Eating Area in Rockbridge County, VA
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Frances Bailey

Use nature as your guide when designing an outdoor space. You don't need cabin decor if you have mountains or a lush forest as your backdrop. Embrace the perfectly designed scenery as is.

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Salvage Brick Spaces

Georgia Brick Porch
Photo: Tria Giovan, Styling: Olga Naiman

A bed swing provides plenty of seating on this brick porch. A vintage mantel hung above the swing acts as a shelf for displaying decorative objects without using valuable square footage below. Using tucked-away spaces for patios is a great way to make a big impact with little room.

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Cherish Rustic Dining

Alabama Cabin Outdoor Dining Table with Metal Chairs
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kiera Coffee

Outdoor dining can be an elegant affair, even on rustic porches. Adding twinkle lights or candles will add a romantic aura to the air. You can also use the beautiful views of the stars above as natural lighting, which might be even more captivating.

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Assemble Cohesive Decor

Lounging Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Furniture keeping with the house's color palette creates a cohesive look, making the porch seem like a continuation of the home. When attached to a kitchen or entertaining room, the entire space appears larger because of the visibility of the open air. Adding cozy elements to the outdoor furniture will continue the inviting space cultivated inside the home.

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Incorporate Some Botanicals

Haint Blue porch ceiling
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Let your porch accentuate the natural colors seen around your home. Shades of green, blue, and even purple can create the illusion that your porch is just a continuation of the outside world. Surrounding yourself with plants and flowers creates a more relaxing environment.

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Increase Coziness

Brandon Ingram Florida Cottage
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Create intimacy within an open-air space with soft textures and pieces that divide the area into sections. Plenty of plants create a calming scene and offer seclusion when having those ever-important chats with friends. Adding decor to an outdoor space also increases privacy without being completely closed off from your surroundings.

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Add Rocking Chairs

front porch with rocking chairs on porch of house in Habersham southern living inspired community
Kathryn Lott

Two rocking chairs and a place to rest your iced tea is a porch formula that we will always stand behind. Life's stresses seem to slow down with the rhythmic motion of sitting on a rocking chair. When looking to create an inviting and relaxing patio, a rocking chair is all you need.

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Build In Interest

Small Porch with Two Rocking Chairs
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Small porches, meet container gardens–your new eye-opening friends. With planted trees that elevate the eyes, well-placed greenery can help remove the focus from square footage and draw the eye upwards toward the other stunning elements of your home. Hanging plants and vertical gardens are great ways to add dimension and interest to a space.

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Quickly Access Greenery

Layered potted plants on front porch
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: Julia Berolzheimer

If you're more inclined to make your front porch a functional space, you can always find pieces that elevate your container gardens. Tuck a chair in the corner for your gardening oasis. An herb container garden adjacent to the kitchen makes fresh ingredients a step away.

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Enjoy a Hidden Reprieve

Sunroom with green ceiling and hand-crank jalousie windows with golden retriever looking out
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Elly Poston Cooper

When incorporating durable furniture that can take a little wear and tear, the entire family can enjoy the outdoor space, even the furry ones. Add bushes outside your screened-in porch that will grow tall for additional privacy. A painted ceiling makes the room even cozier while opening it up as a continuation of the natural surroundings.

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Try Transient Decor

Idea House 2020 Outdoor Bistro Table Sitting Area on Porch
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Kendra Surface

A small porch setup can be as simple as bistro-style folding chairs and a table. Tuck them away when needed and easily reassemble in a pinch for surprise company. The temporary dining station is ideal for small spaces because it can transition to whatever you need.

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Prepare to Host

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

You can move the party to your porch with enough seating to fit your whole family. Accents like throw blankets and pillows can turn the space into an outdoor living room. Take advantage of seasonal weather to host holidays or special occasions.

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Add Lantern Lighting

Watson Family Farmhouse in Savannah, GA Outdoor Dining Area
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

We love the style of an oversized lantern to add an attractive focal point on a front porch. The overhead lighting brightens the space so you can enjoy it well into the night. Finish the look with antique planters and a rocking chair.

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