How to create an inviting and practical sitting and dining area on a screened porch.
Q. Our newly built country house has a screened-in porch that we would like to transform into a summer dining and sitting area. It is all cedar including the ceiling and is situated right off our kitchen. I would like to stain the floor a colour (but not the walls), and paint the table my husband just built, above which I will hang an iron votive candle chandelier. The chairs could be painted as well, but I am not sure. I would also like to set up an area to read and snooze with lots of cushions at the other end of the room. Can you recommend a colour scheme for the furniture and fabrics? I was thinking of painting the table a green colour and taking it from there.
A. Instead of staining the floor a colour, consider finishing it with a clear coat, or staining the floor a shade slightly darker than the natural wood. Although you want to leave the walls as they are, painting them a cream colour would instantly brighten up the room.
A jute or sisal area rug under the table in a natural straw colour is easy to clean, and will offer you the comfy look you want to achieve.
Roller shades or roman blinds in semi-opaque cream with faded ticking stripes, or faded fern pattern (to mimic the outdoors) installed on your windows and door will change the room dramatically.
Paint the table a sage green like Ralph Lauren’s Twin Lakes, and the chairs a creamy white like Whitecap, also by Ralph Lauren, for a breezy, summer country look. Paint the door this same white for continuity, and add seat cushions in a ticking stripe in similar shades as the blinds to unify the colours.
For your sitting area, choose fabrics that coordinate with the new window shades. Mix cushions in soft ticking stripes, floral or fern patterns, and solids. Choose colours in shades of sage green, cranberry, cream and yellow, for starters. A loveseat or chaise slipcovered in cream cotton will be a bright, neutral background for your cushions, and a washable slipcover for a country home is both pretty and practical.
Add accents like a table runner in a red stripe or fern pattern, two large hurricane lanterns to top the table, and a small armchair beside the door for taking off shoes.
Replace your small bench with a small console or dresser to act as a buffet. Paint this piece white or sage, and hang a grouping of photos, artwork or mirrors above, all in similar frames, for unity.