Over the past few years, Americans have been moving out in droves. That is, they’re moving into increasingly luxurious outdoor spaces meant for entertaining or just relaxing with the family. Kitted out with elaborate cooking appliances, conversation areas, and entertainment systems, these spaces bring the comfort of indoor living to the great outdoors.
The pleasures of enjoying a movie under the stars while whipping up a tasty snack in your brick pizza oven are undeniable–but let’s not forget about the OG outdoor space: the humble porch.
For generations, front porches have been the epitome of slow-paced American charm; here, the lemonade was always sweet, the swing lulled you gently into late-afternoon repose, and neighbors’ greetings wafted across the summer air like the scent of oleanders.
Does your porch need a little love? Has it become little more than a repository for your Amazon Prime packages?
Then it’s time to embark on a porch makeover project. We’ve compiled some renovation inspiration and design tips to turn your porch back into a comfortable, convivial living space once more.
First, Give It a Thorough Cleaning
You probably don’t clean your porch all that often, so one easy way to enhance its appeal is to give it a top-to-bottom scrub.
Remove all of the furniture, toys, planters, muddy old boots, sports equipment, and even the doormat. Dust and/or wash the walls, get all the spider webs and dead plant matter out of the corners, sweep and mop the floor and steps.
Chances are your porch is already looking more inviting!
A Little Paint Goes a Long Way
Hands down, the simplest route to a complete porch makeover is giving it a fresh coat of paint. Paint is also relatively inexpensive, which means that you can be bold and creative with your palette, without fearing that you’ll be stuck with a particular look for years to come.
For the floor, you’ll want to use specially formulated porch and patio paint, which is thicker and more durable than ordinary paint. You can also choose paint with built-in slip-resistant granules, which is a good option if safety is a concern.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with porch rails, banisters, and trim. A brightly hued porch is a super fun, risk-free way to inject a little color into your everyday life.
Light It Up
Do you envision friends and family gathered on the porch, sipping cocktails and enjoying snacks late into the evening? You will need to provide the mood lighting. The first step is to hang strands of outdoor lights.
Whether you choose traditional white Christmas lights, retro Edison-bulb lights, or colorful Chinese lanterns depends on your style and the mood you’re trying to evoke. Is your porch decor going to be understated but sophisticated, campy and fun, or chock full of Southern charm?
Lanterns, luminaries, and candleholders are another way to boost your porch’s pizzazz. Spend some time browsing clever DIY porch light projects, then let your imagination run wild. Just make sure that your outdoor lighting is safe. Nothing kills a party vibe faster than a knocked-over lantern that results in a visit from the fire department.
Protect Your Porch from the Elements By Enclosing It
In some climates, it’s porch season all year round. If you live in an area where cold temperatures and snow are a concern, however, consider enclosing your porch.
Screened porches let in the light and air, but keep bugs and debris out. Or, for a truly dramatic porch makeover, choose glass windows and sliding glass doors. You’ll want to consult with the pros for this project, and they can offer guidance as to which enclosure options would be best for your home.
Your new glassed- or screened-in porch can serve as an alternative living room, a breakfast nook, a home office or artist’s studio, or even an incredible space for yoga or meditation. Imagine being able to do your morning sun salutations with the feeling of sunshine on your face, no matter how low the mercury goes!
Don’t Forget Decor
An enclosed porch generally calls for “regular” indoor furniture, but a dark leather couch or heavy oak table might not suit the mood of your porch. Wicker is a traditional choice for any type of porch, including enclosed ones, and it works for a reason: it’s sturdy and durable, but still evokes an outdoor ambiance.
If your porch is open to the elements, you might be tempted to head to your local big box home and hardware store and pick up an outdoor table-and-chair set. They’re easy to clean and can take a beating without compromising their comfort or aesthetic appeal.
However, the porch of your dreams might call for something more eclectic. Browse secondhand stores, flea markets, or yard sales for offbeat pieces to give your porch a funky vibe or a shabby chic appeal.
Think outside of the proverbial box. Remember that slightly faded, but still incredibly comfy chintz couch that’s languishing in your attic? It might be perfect on your porch.
Rugs, side tables, or even old rocking chairs that aren’t quite pristine enough to grace your living room could get a new lease on life as semi-outdoor furniture.
For about $40, you can transform wooden pallets and a few other materials into a porch swing that looks just like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Or try suspending hammocks or hanging chairs from the porch’s ceiling to create the ultimate chill-out space.
Ready to Get Started on Your Porch Makeover?
We hope that these porch makeover tips and tricks have provided all the inspiration you need to unleash your imagination! Do you have any creative ideas for DIY porch projects, or hacks to help your fellow homeowners make the most of their outdoor spaces? Let us know in the comment section–and have fun designing the porch of your dreams!