Whether you call it a cottage, a bungalow or a cabin, small homes have the market cornered when it comes to comfy charm. There is something about a well-appointed cottage that just makes you want to get comfortable. And what better place to do that than a front porch. Porch designs should be informed by the style of the house. Three common styles of cottage are Victorian, American Craftsman and Midwestern Farmhouse.
Victorian architecture lends itself to frilly and decorative. With gingerbread trim and turned banister railings, Victorians get a lot of their charm from their porches.
Using the right decorative trim is the key to getting an authentic look on a Victorian front porch. Some of the most common styles are Queen Anne, Gothic Revival and Eastlake. They each have their own style of trim. Check out a book or two from the local library to make informed choices when choosing your porch trim and railings.
Paint colours also play a role in giving the cottage the right feel. Choose Victorian combinations that can be found in design books, or a subtler modern alternative. Be sure to choose at least three shades to bring out the detail in the mouldings.
Furnishings and accessories set the stage. Choose vintage style pieces for a home with traditional Victorian colours, or modern yet classic, for those with a more up-to-date paint scheme. Wrought iron pieces can be found in either category and work well on Victorian porches.
Almost the anti-Victorian, these well-built homes feature lots of woodwork and carpentry details. With wide-open porches supported by strong structural columns, American Craftsman cottages give off a more laid-back vibe.
Support columns typically use a mix of wood and masonry. Match this in a stone or brick veneer on your porch steps or walkway leading up to the porch.
Monotone colour schemes using various lighter or darker shades of the same colour are common on American Craftsman homes. Bringing those same colours into your porch in the railing, floor colour and even furniture frames and cushions helps to make the porch a cohesive part of the whole.
Wooden garden furniture such as Adirondack chairs work well with this style. Paint them in simple single colours, or use a stain finish for a rich look that will add texture to the appearance of your porch.
Farmhouse Style Cottages
With long, low roofed porches, these classic charmers keep it simple. From tall, wooden rocking chairs to wooden railings, the simpler your detailing the better.
Wooden railings make a perfect place for hanging window box planters. Be sure to caulk around any mounting hardware that attaches with screws or nails into the railing to prevent moisture and rot.
When it comes to furniture, also keep it simple. Plain, painted wood furniture works well. Have some brightly coloured cushions made for comfort and style to add a touch of colour. A wood blanket chest with a weather tight lid makes a good storage trunk for them and adds seating.
Farmhouses are typically white, grey or some version of a neutral colour. The trim and accessories, such as shutters, are often painted in a high contrast colour. For example, white house, black trim. Paint your porch railings, columns and floor the same as the rest of the trim on the house for a nice visual pop.