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

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    Coffee Table With Planter

    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

    abeautifulmess.com

  2. Cool Ceramics

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    Front Porch Tile Designs

    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

    younghouselove.com

  3. Sun Roof

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    Front Porch Pergola Ideas

    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Pasadena, CA

  4. Warm Woods

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    Porch Ceiling Ideas

    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

    Zillow Digs home in Chattanooga, TN

  5. Warm Outside

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    Fireplace On Porch

    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Harbor Springs, MI

  6. Beautiful Built-Ins

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    Outdoor Built-In Seating

    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

    Zillow Digs home in Jacksonville, FL

  7. Shut Out Prying Eyes

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    Outdoor Porch Shutters

    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Mount Pleasant, SC

  8. Cooling Breeze

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    Outdoor Ceiling Fan Ideas

    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

    Zillow Digs home in Key West, FL

  9. Indoor-Outdoor Lounge

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    Backyard Bocce Ball Court

    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.

    rowlandbroughton.com

  10. Private Oasis

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    Trellis Screen Ideas

    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!

    Zillow Digs home in Woodinville, WA

  11. Pastel Porch

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    Painted Porch Floors

    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

    Zillow Digs home in Tybee Island, GA

  12. Ivy League

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    Ivy Walls Ideas

    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Bridgehampton, NY

  13. Sheer Magic

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    Outdoor Curtains Ideas

    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Gates Mills, OH

  14. Front Porch Gallery

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    Outdoor Wall Art Ideas

    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!

    Zillow Digs home in Portland, OR

  15. Don't Miss!

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    Money-saving, time-saving—and yes, sometimes even life-saving—the latest and greatest smart home technologies span from self-programming thermostats to voice-activated TV controls to video doorbells and beyond. Raise your home's IQ!