Decorating & Design

September 12, 2011

Ask A Designer: Enclosed Front Porch

Q. I’d like to enclose my front porch with screens so I can enjoy it more often. I’d also like some suggestions on how to make it comfortable, as I think I’ll be sitting out there a lot.

— B.K., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Screen it in.

Your front porch has lots of character, and it’s a great size for relaxing or entertaining. It’s nice to take full advantage of the extra space when you can in warmer months. Screening it in is a great idea: for inspiration, check out Suncoast Enclosures for ideas on sunrooms and screened-in porches.

Comfortable furniture is key.

Larger, cosier furniture will look more proportionate and be nicer to sit on. Include a pair of chairs, like Pier 1 Imports‘ outdoor wicker chairs in light brown (shown). You can also add the two-seater settee from the same collection if you have the space. Add a bit of colour or pattern through the seat cushions — I like Pier 1’s Deluxe Calliope chair cushion in Spice or their Deluxe Belmopean chair cushion with stripes (both shown). A simple wrought-iron accent table between the chairs, like Ikea’s Klingsbo style (shown) will give you a spot to set down drinks.

Soften up underfoot.

Outdoor rugs have become very popular over the past few years, and look just like interior rugs. The Lakeview rug in Celadon from Capel (shown) looks like sisal, but is 100% olefin with a Sunbrella fabric border that resists mildew and fading.

Brighten up ceiling and floor.

The charming tongue-and-groove panelling on the ceiling (not shown) would stand out in a more interesting colour. Take a cue from your front window trim, which is a rich grey, but try a lighter shade like Valspar’s Weathered Fossil (EE2020A). Then paint your floor Dry Riverbed (EE2020B) (both shown), which is a shade between the window trim and new ceiling colour.

Shed some light.

Lighting will make the porch feel warmer and cosier. Install a pair of lanterns, like the Stratford lantern in Museum Black from Hinkley Lighting (shown). The style will suit the era of your house.

See more Ask A Designer responses. Plus, submit your own question, with instructions from our Ask A Designer™ page.

1. Deluxe Calliope cushion in Spice, Deluxe Belmopean cushion, Pier 1 Imports. 2. Outdoor wicker chair, Pier 1 Imports. 3. Stratford lantern, Hinkley Lighting. 4. Lakeview rug in Celadon, Capel Rugs. 5. Klingsbo side table, Ikea. 6. Weathered Fossil (EE2020A) (left) and Dry Riverbed (EE2020B) paints, Valspar.