Design Dilemma: Freshening Up the Front Porch | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Freshening Up the Front Porch

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Lazy summer days are made for the front porch. With a tall glass of lemonade in one hand and a book in the other, you can truly relax while still making yourself available for impromptu conversations with neighbors.  Better than camping out at Starbucks all afternoon, a front porch allows you to separate and connect at the same time. So what makes for that perfect front porch? Here are a few ideas:

1) Great Porch Furniture. First and foremost — a rocking chair! (And if there’s enough space, even better is a swinging chair.) In addition to a rocking chair, a great front porch needs a place to set down a glass of something cold. A small table is ideal if there’s room for it, but a railing could be sufficient. Below a wrought iron table and wrought iron chairs provide the perfect space for sipping a relaxing drink in the cooler hours of the day. If your porch is long and narrow like the one below, use larger pieces of furniture at the ends to allow for maximum circulation.

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On the tiny front porch below, there’s not a whole lot of space, but there’s just enough room to squeeze in a hanging porch bench, which goes a long way to lending this space a sense of friendly openness.

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Below, a porch just isn’t a porch without some wicker to make it feel complete.

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2) A Sense of Both Privacy and Openness. The best front porches provide a sense of enclosure and protection while also remaining visible to the world. The sense of enclosure makes a porch perfect as protection from the rain or a blazing hot sun. A railing provides a sense of closure for small children or pets. And yet, a great porch space should remain open to the street so that passersby have the opportunity to stop, chat and sit awhile. (Otherwise, what’s the point?)

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Above, nothing epitomizes this perfect sense of protection and openness as does a raised porch with a railing. A porch that sits a few steps above street level creates the sense of separateness, and the railing adds to a feeling of protection. Meanwhile, the porch is still visible to anyone on the street. Below, on the other hand, a craftsman-style home lacks the railing, but still manages to achieve a sense of privacy thanks to the palm trees planted strategically out front.

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Below, a porch that includes a wood slat design offers that sense of protection and openness at the same time.

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3) Nice Plants. A front porch without plants is a missed opportunity. Porches with flowerboxes, ferns, hanging plants and vines help to make a home feel welcoming, and can lend a great deal of style.

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The porch above has that friendly, all-American feel, by virtue of its hanging geraniums. The porch below gets much needed color from pink and purple petunias. The waterfall is an added touch to create a sense of peacefulness, movement and a bit of separation from the street.

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Below, potted topiaries provide this small front porch a sense of elegance and the feeling of a “grand” entrance.

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Below, these huge planters with canna and sweet potato vines are all this small porch needs to make a huge statement.

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So what’s the secret of a great front porch?
  • Keep it simple — unlike the back porch, the front porch is open to the world and thus usually more formal in feeling. Don’t junk up your front porch with toys, recycling bags, or too much furniture.
  • Keep it comfortable — furniture of some sort invites guests to sit down and relax a while.
  • Keep it beautiful — it’s those little extras that make a front porch feel welcoming. Plants are one simple and affordable extra that will make your front porch stand out from the rest.

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