Becky Harris, Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish.
One of my favorite spaces and thus favorite topics to write about is the porch. In fact, I’m sitting on mine right now. Many Houzzers share my love of porches, whether it’s a welcoming front porch, a breezy screened-in porch or an open-air porch with a roaring fire and a great view. Here are the eight features seen in the most popular recent porch photos uploaded to Houzz from January through March, as measured by the number of people who’ve saved them to their Houzz ideabooks. For those of you in colder climates, I promise it’s almost porch season, so get inspired to spiff up yours or make plans to add one.
Welcoming Front Porch
This traditional architectural element has many functions, including keeping direct sunlight out of the house on hot days and providing cover while unlocking the door on rainy ones. But one of the most important things porches do is foster community. Many new urbanist neighborhood designs prioritize the front porch as an important part of the architecture and the community.
Decked out with comfortable rockers, fall flowers and gourds, this porch is inviting and adds loads of curb appeal. It’s a special place to sit and wave to the neighbors.
In the days before climate control, porches were a must, especially in the South. This gorgeous 1770 South Carolina mansion has a double porch that provides space to catch a breeze and be sheltered from the sun during hot, sticky summers.
And there is no better way to spend time on a porch than on a porch swing. This classic porch furniture has evolved over the years, but the spirit remains the same. It’s the ultimate spot to swing back and forth while catching up on your day or just enjoying a quiet night and a breeze with someone you love.
The upholstery on porches today is thicker and cushier, making the porch furniture just as comfortable as the living room furniture. Rugs also have made their way to these indoor/outdoor rooms, as well as other indoor elements such as art, throw pillows and lamps. Thanks to advances in durable textiles, cushions and rugs can withstand the elements.
TV on the Porch
It’s hard to imagine anything but a really big game or a riveting episode of Game of Thrones taking the attention away from this beautiful view. But if you’re at a location like this and you’re going to choose to watch TV, why not enjoy the fresh air, the view and some college football at the same time?
Grilling has become a serious hobby for many Houzzers. Building in handy space around the grill has made it all the easier to prep meals on a porch. An outdoor kitchen complete with a sink means you can clean that platter that touched the raw meat without trips to and from the house. Cabinets offer storage for all the tools, sauces, cleaning supplies and more, while countertops provide space for food prep.
A fireplace not only keeps a porch toasty on cool nights but also provides a pleasing focal point. Here, the stone surround and unique wood mantel adds to the rustic vibe on the porch.
Those of us with pets know how handy half walls are on a screened-in porch. When you screen all the way to the floor, dogs and cats will scratch and poke and sometimes go straight through. The choice of board-and-batten siding here lends a farmhouse element to this comfortably appointed porch.
Good designers pay attention to what they call “the fifth wall” — the ceiling. Painting the porch ceiling blue is a nod to tradition. In some cultures it was believed to keep the “haints” (ghosts) out, while others thought that making the ceiling match the sky would prevent bugs from making a home up there.
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