How to Make Your Porch Feel Like an Outdoor Living Room
Your porch is brimming with design opportunity—you just need a little inspiration to help bring it to life. "A beautiful porch is just as important as an inviting interior space," says designer Cortney Bishop. "If folks feel welcomed even before you open the front door, just imagine how they'll feel inside." But why go inside? Come warmer weather, there isn't a better place to entertain guests. "Porch parties keep the mood casual, spontaneous, and informal," says Kevin Dumais of Dumais. "Hosts can entertain with less effort. A porch has the ease of accessibility—in and out of the house and in and out of the party."
Not sure which design elements are essential to a fête-friendly front or backyard porch? We asked a few of our interior designer friends for advice on how to create a space that feels every bit as stylish and comfortable as the inside of your home, and here's what they had to say.
Buy weather-resistant furniture.
While ensuring your guests stay comfy on your porch is a top priority, Kevin Isbell says so is buying outdoor-friendly furniture pieces that are designed to withstand the elements. "Outdoor furniture takes a beating, so invest in the best quality that you can afford," he says. "I prefer furniture with removable cushions, assuming you have a place to store them come fall. They're easy to clean and you can update the entire look down the road for a fraction of the cost."
Like any interior space, an ambient lighting scheme is key to creating an inviting yet functional porch, notes Bishop. "You certainly don't want to send your guests home as soon as it gets dark, so plan for outdoor lighting that keeps your spaces illuminated even after the sun goes down," she says.
Roll out a weatherproof rug.
Marie Flanigan says an outdoor rug is an easy way to bring warmth and comfort to a porch. "Utilize an outdoor rug to define the space and give your guests something soft underfoot," she says. "Weather permitting, you can even spread a rug out on the lawn for a true under-the-stars experience."
Keep a bar cart handy.
Nothing says "cheers!" like a beautiful bar setup, which is why Elizabeth Stuart says you should consider bringing a fully stocked bar cart onto your porch. "It's always nice to have a bar set up on the porch," she says. "This is the time to bring out the wonderful ice bucket and a silver tray with nuts and cocktail napkins that you save, but don't use as often as you would like."
Create continuation with color.
Looking for a foolproof way to make your porch feel like an extension of your living room? Dumais recommends painting your porch in the same hue. "Try carrying the paint color used on the interior trim of the house onto the floorboards and the lounge chairs of your porch," he says. "This is a simple but impactful way to continue the color scheme and create cohesion between the rooms."