Exterior Porch Ideas

Written by mark morris
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Exterior Porch Ideas
A Cozy Porch Can Set Your Home Apart (front porch image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com)

Porches may have seemed to be a thing of the past, but with today's new emphasis on community, they are making a comeback. Many new homes are being built with porches that are more than just a place to stamp your feet before entering the house. Creative design and decorating ideas can turn your porch into extended outdoor living space.

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Porch Railings

Besides keeping your family and guests safe, railings can add their own touch of style to your porch.

Wooden railings with carved or turned spindles work well on Victorian style homes, such as Queen Anne. They are also common on American Country and farmhouse styles. Paint wood rails the same colour as siding for a uniform look, or go with a complimentary colour for added contrast.

Wrought iron railings give your porch more of an open feel. They can be purchased at your local hardware store in easy to assemble prefab sections and can be installed on all porch floors from wood to concrete.

Tall columns can extend your porch into the second story, creating a "portico" feel. Add wood or iron railings between columns or forgo railings altogether on short porches to provide a better view.

Roofs and Enclosures

Porches can be covered in a variety of ways from open garden structures to solid conventional roofing.

Use a trellis or pergola overhead to provide shade while leaving your porch open to the sky. Vines or hanging plants can be grown on these wooden structures to provide even more shade and add a rich, colourful element to your porch.

Enclose your roofed-in porch with large screens to protect from insects and extend your porches usefulness. Storm windows can be added to make the porch usable all year round. Take them down in the warm weather to enjoy the breeze.

Traditional roofing can make a sturdy support for hanging flower baskets, a porch swing or even a hammock. Be sure you use adequate hanging hardware to avoid embarrassing accidents and damage to your roof.

Decorations and Furniture

Porches can be decorated much the same as the interior of your home. Choose colours and textures that appeal to you to make the porch more comfortable.

Sisal rugs, tile and painted floor boards are just a few of the options available in flooring. Choose materials that will stand up to the weather and will not become slick and hazardous when wet.

Movable planters, window boxes and hanging baskets allow flowers to be grown right inside your porch. A touch of garden gives a fresh look and feel to any porch. It might be just the splash of colour you've been looking for. Choose heavy planters with rugged finishes that will weather well. Window boxes can be hung on the wall of the house, or from the front porch rail.

Wicker, rattan, metal, wood and plastic are the main components in most outdoor furniture. Be sure to choose yours for comfort as well as style. Large overstuffed cushions are an excellent way to add comfort, and they can be taken in during inclement weather.

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