14 Inventive Ideas for a Perfect Porch

Your porch can be so much more than just a landing pad on the way in or out of your house—it can be a place to unwind, entertain, and make a great first impression. From cool built-ins to surprising paint touches and more, consider one of these inventive porch ideas that’ll have you thinking way beyond the welcome mat.

  1. Side Table Salad

    Herb coffee table porch


    When it comes to iced tea, lemonade, or summer cocktails, nothing gives a finishing touch to a beverage better than fresh herbs! And the freshest herbs are the ones you grab and place right into your glass. This clever hack drops a window box-style planter right into the center of a coffee table—and right within arm’s reach. The best thing: Since they'll be sitting on a covered porch, your herbs will be better protected from the elements than your typical outdoor plants.

    Related: 10 Tiny Gardens You Can Grow on Your Windowsill

  2. Cool Ceramics

    Ceramic tile floor porch


    Wood may be the go-to flooring option for many a front porch, but it’s certainly not the only one out there. Ceramic, porcelain, or stone tiles require little upkeep, feel cool underfoot—especially in warmer climates—and give the space a modern feel. Look for large-format tiles like these to match the scale of the porch.

    Related: Looks Like Luxury: Imitate Any Material with... Tile

  3. Sun Roof

    Pergola porch

    Zillow Digs home in Pasadena, CA

    Add a pergola above your porch area to get gorgeous, filtered light and create a structure for plants to climb. As you can buy a stand-alone pergola at the big home improvement stores, this is also a way to retrofit a porch area onto your home without incurring major construction costs. Paint the pergola the same color as the trim on your home for a built-in look. The result: A shady spot to relax under.

  4. Warm Woods

    Wood plank ceiling porch

    Zillow Digs home in Chattanooga, TN

    Instead of painting your porch ceiling the same color as the rest of the space, try staining the wooden planks in a rich, natural hue. Letting the natural grain show through, especially in contrast with painted trim, is a smart way to add interest and texture to the porch without introducing a new color. This is a great option for people who love neutral spaces—or want a flexible canvas that lets them get wild with colorful textiles on their furniture.

    Related: 6 Steps to a Budget-Friendly Porch Makeover

  5. Warm Outside

    Outdoor fireplace porch

    Zillow Digs home in Harbor Springs, MI

    This is about as romantic as it gets: Curl up next to a fire and enjoy an amazing ocean view by day or a starlit sky at night. Built into one side of the porch, a stone fireplace keeps things toasty on chilly evenings so you can still use the porch in the cooler seasons. Plus, it gives a new-build porch a rustic lodge feel, the perfect ambience for snuggling with your partner.

  6. Beautiful Built-Ins

    Built in benches porch

    Zillow Digs home in Jacksonville, FL

    Get the benefits of porch seating without losing floor space with this smart idea. A built-in bench along the side of the porch takes up less space than stand-alone furniture and, because it blends in seamlessly with the railings, doesn’t add visual bulk. This inconspicuous seating gives you plenty of space to entertain a crew—or just comfortably take off your shoes on your way in.

    Related:  8 Budget Buys to Bring Indoor Comfort to Outdoor Living

  7. Shut Out Prying Eyes

    Oversized shutters porch

    Zillow Digs home in Mount Pleasant, SC

    White wooden shutters are a warm-weather staple that create shade while still letting a breeze through. These oversize shutters are a great way to turn a porch into a true outdoor room: They can block wind or rain, filter the sun, and give you privacy from the neighbors too.

  8. Cooling Breeze

    Decorative celing fans porch

    Zillow Digs home in Key West, FL

    A gentle breeze makes sitting on the porch in the summer a lot more comfortable—so if the wind isn’t blowing, why not create a little cool air? These large matching fans with wide blades also provide a decorative flourish. Finished in the same wood tones as the ceiling and floor, with great-looking oil-rubbed brass accents, they do double duty as both focal points and functional elements.

    Related: 18 Design Ideas to Make Your Deck a Destination

  9. Indoor-Outdoor Lounge

    Bocce ball porch


    This space by Rowland + Broughton is made for entertaining! Outfitted with a pro-level grill and plenty of space to prep and serve a BBQ, plus generous seating near a modern fire pit, it’s the perfect party space. The finishing touch: Instead of filling the small yard with grass, which can be tricky to maintain in some regions, it’s been filled with gravel to create a ready-for-play bocce court.

  10. Private Oasis

    Trellis style screen porch

    Zillow Digs home in Woodinville, WA

    Part safety feature, part decor, the trellis-style panels that line this porch are an attractive architectural detail. The open woodwork provides partial privacy and a support for future plants to climb, and it encloses the space without making it feel closed in. Yet one more benefit: The panels let air move freely through the space, creating the ideal environment for napping!

  11. Pastel Porch

    Bright painted floor porch

    Zillow Digs home in Tybee Island, GA

    Painted a perky periwinkle—but any other bold pastel would be just as fun—this brightly hued floor gives the porch a playful personality. Using the same color on the floor, door, and other accents creates a cohesive palette that's great for a beach house.

    Related:  9 Simple Porch Ideas to Steal from Real Homes

  12. Ivy League

    Ivy covered walls porch

    Zillow Digs home in Bridgehampton, NY

    Forget window boxes—set your planters at ground level if you want to grow a wall of greenery. A staple at venerable universities and wineries alike, climbing vines can give your home a sense of heritage, even if it’s new construction. And all those leaves make a porch feel like an extension of the outdoors, because you’ve invited nature right inside the room's four walls.

  13. Sheer Magic

    Floor length curtains porch

    Zillow Digs home in Gates Mills, OH

    Sheer curtains are frequently seen inside, but rarely outside. Yet hanging a few long, lightweight curtains can transform a humble porch into an elegant retreat. Plus, fabric panels can block bright sunlight and light rain to keep the porch comfortable even when the weather beyond is not. Bonus: These panels are fairly easy to install using regular curtain hardware.

  14. Front Porch Gallery

    Hanging artwork porch

    Zillow Digs home in Portland, OR

    The outside of your home is a wall, right? So why not hang art on it? This decorating technique shows off your personality and sets the tone before anyone even sets foot inside the house. Plus, hanging art can be a quick, inexpensive way to give the space a big style boost without any construction or permanent changes, which makes this idea great for renters!

  15. See the Kitchen of the Week


    These innovative and beautiful kitchens may inspire your next renovation or redecorating project. Take a look to see the latest images and inspiration.