How to Design a Porch Enclosure

Updated February 21, 2017

Decide on a porch enclosure based on the architecture of the house. If the front porch will be enclosed, make sure its exterior covering matches the elegance of the front facade of the house. Use screening, glass or solid enclosure materials, such as house siding. Invest in high-quality trim and framing materials whatever enclosure materials are used. The goal is to create a porch enclosure that looks as if it was built with the original house. Invest time in also making the interior of the porch enclosure look polished.

Select a basic look for the porch and materials. Decide if glass panels resembling a sun room design, screening, or exterior home sheathing will be used. Choose materials based on how the porch will be used by the family and visitors. Plan to enclose the interior porch framework with bead board, for example, if the porch will be used as a mud room.

Use home design books and magazines to gain building ideas. Sketch various ways to enclose the porch, but make sure roof lines and overhang areas look seamless with your house. Leave appropriate window space in the enclosed area, so plenty of natural light comes into the space. Select windows that fit the home's architecture, such as roll-out windows, so the porch windows match the quality of other windows on the house.

Sketch certain spaces to be enclosed with solid materials. Plan to use 2-by-4 inch boards to build the enclosure walls. Design the enclosure framing on 16-inch centres and plan to insulate well between studs. Create the porch space to be as warm as possible in winter and cool in summer. Staple fibreglass insulation into place and caulk well once wall covering and windows are in place.

Design the porch exterior to look good from all sides. Plan a side porch, for example, with appropriate gutters, downspouts and wood trim to match the house. Sketch a sidewalk area to create a nice entrance for the enclosed porch. Add special touches such as concrete or wooden planters.

Plan the interior in detail. Cover interior wall framing with drywall or plaster board after adding insulation. Design light fixtures, shelves and storage areas inside the porch. Plan to paint the flooring or add indoor-outdoor carpet or tile. Design hanging hooks for coats, furniture for dining or family games, and electrical sockets for media equipment.


Visit other homes in your area to see how porches were enclosed. Ask real families to share great ideas that have worked well for them. Don't overlook insulating under the porch rafters, in case the room will be used as a seasonal sleeping room.


Have the porch space inspected for termites, if the porch is old or it has leaked at any point. Check out any structural damage before renovating, since it's difficult to redo a project hiding problematic issues.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
  • Porch design books
  • Landscaping magazines
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.