When the weather is perfect you just want to be outdoors. I know I do.
Not all homes have a porch and I was curious to learn the history of them. What I found was that front porches were common in the mid-19th century up until WWII. They were considered the “family room” of the home.
Porches connected families with friends in a casual manner. They were a buffer between the outside world and the private spaces of homes. Porches also allowed people to embrace and enjoy nature when temperatures got too warm to be inside. Today, most people never see their neighbors anymore because their living styles don’t allow it. Backyards take precedence and many families stay within their walls to themselves.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this trend of porches came back?
Imagine how people could connect again. I think it’d be a beautiful thing to see the ideals of family, community and nature return to their former glory.
When I’m at my mom’s home in Texas, I love to grab a cup of tea and sit out on her porch. I’ve had the opporutinity of talking with her neighbors, saying a brief hello or gaining some input as they walked by. One man noticed that her big oak trees were dying and then offered advice on how to finish her front retaining wall. Well intended, I’m sure. Sure enough, several months passed and my mom sadly stated that her trees had to be cut down. Her neighbor obviously knew what he was talking about.
Personally, I long to have a home with a fabulous porch; one that would wrap the house ideally. If we build, it’ll be in the plans for sure!
Whether you have a porch or a patio, you definitely want to enjoy your space. I like to think of these areas as an extension of your living room. With summer here, I found some easy ways you can make your space so welcoming that you’ll want to invite your friends over to share a cup of tea or maybe a glass of summer wine and chat about whatever comes to mind.
Let’s take a look at what I found. I hope you get inspired and figure out one or two updates you can make to your own outdoor space.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Heaven is a house with porch lights. @RayBradbury ” quote=”Heaven is a house with porch lights. Ray Bradbury “]
Front Porch Inspiration
Easy updates are simple when you find a flowering plant you love. I picked this photo becasue we have the 4th of July right around the coner and it’s time to get your flag out, if you haven’t already. Here they chose to use red geraniums in crock pots. Very Americana!
Source not found: Deppen Homestead 1862
I like the way Monica added plants in various sizes and heights to a simple and durable end table. With summer in season, I recommend going with live plants. But if you aren’t sure of your green thumb, you can also go with some fake ones to create a topiary like this one. Hobby Lobby has a green boxwood sphere similar to the one photographed.
There are many options for garden stools in the market place; I know for a fact that Lowes carries one this season. Be sure to see all their color options. They are super fun! I’d have a hard time choosing if it were me.
Add a candle, some throw pillows to a chair, sofa or bench, and you’ve got a space that says “come on in and sit for spell.”
This is a great example of how to keep things simple and yet make a BIG statement. If you need privacy, get some large planters and plant lemon grass in them tp create a visual barrier. Not only is lemon grass a beautiful “screen”, it’s also safe for pets, kids and you can even cook with it. Here are some other fun benefits of lemon grass.
This is really simple to do. Load your area with candles! If you have the option to hang an old chandelier from a flea market, take out the bulbs and convert it to a candleabra. Not sure how to do that? Comment below and I’ll do a tutorial for you.
There are many places that sell fun hanging lanterns such as World Market, Target, Homegoods, Pier One. Pottery Barn has fabulous lantenrs and those are always great to ward off any breeze and keep the candles burning bright.
I love the colors used in this space. You can find outdoor rugs or choose to stencil your front porch to create the “idea” of a rug. Mixing paint colors and furniture styles give this porch an eclectic look. The wide width of the porch allowed for a custom swing to be built. This helped to “anchor” the seating area. Your options for how to hang a swing are many. This home owner chose rope because it creaks which added to his desired feel…casual and comfy.
Care to build your own porch swing? Here’s a link for plans at Wood Its Real
Garage Patio Transformation
A run down garage was repurposed into an outdoor livable space. The homeowners created separate areas by using planters to help define them. I particularly like the wood wall (shiplap) and crosses. I’m partial to crosses since growing up in Texas. My family tends to collect them and each one of use has found some very unique ones over the years. Seeing the crosses used outside, I’m tempted to assign mine to a new area.
Pops of color come in through the pillows, planters and flowers. They warm up the neutral space while the outdoor fan keeps it cool.
Key Tip: If you choose to put a fan in your outdoor living space, make sure it is an “outdoor” fan. I’ve seen homeowners place indoor fans in outdoor elements and the blades wilt with the weather. Not cool, pun intended.
When I saw this I just fell in love with it. The color is stunning, and oh so calming. It looks like an oasis to me.
Traditional Southern styled porches paint their ceilings “Haint Blue” to ward off evil spirits. It was a tradition of the Gullah who believed if they painted the ceiling to look like the sky, evil spirits would rise up and return to where they came from.
To achieve this look, consider planking the ceiling or using wood in a pattern to create architectural interest. Paint it out with the “Haint Blue” hue or use a colored stain. If you prefer to see the wood grain, stain is the better option over paint. Stains comes in a variety of colors now and you can select the level of opacity you desire (transparent, semi transparent or opaque).
This space added outdoor curtains which glam it up a bit and add privacy. An outdoor fan keeps it cool in the warmer months. The mix of furniture styles gives in an eclectic vibe and plants bring the outdoors in.
Boho is IN!
This look reminds me of my years in El Paso living on the border with many southwest and Mexican influences. I also think of the laid back California vibe from our family vacations to the beaches in San Diego. There’s something so comforting to me about this porch. I feel like I need a great cup of coffee or tea and a good book as I escape into a literary story for a while.
Find different blankets and rugs and layer, layer, layer. Mixed patterns make everything more interesting. Like what you see here, pop on over to Flea Market FAB.
And for a little DIY fun…
Ladder of Branches
This ladder is absolutely adorable! I love how Marji uses it all year long simply by changing the decorations and natural elements based on the season. This is her spring version with forsythia. I love this plant because it reminds me of our cabin in Ruidoso, NM. I wish we still had that place! The forsythia grew abundantly there and it brightened the landscape so beautifully in the spring and summer months.
Take a look at Marji’s blog to see how she changes the look each month to create her Year of Ladders. So clever!
I’m ready to go on hike now with my saw in hand.
I’d love to see what your porches look like! Send me a picture on Facebook with your updates and we can celebrate summer styles together.[social_warfare]
Which front porch inspires you the most? What elements will you use to make over your front porch or patio? Please comment below.
Cheers to you and your happy home!