Time to freshen-up your porches for the heavier, high-season use. Porches are where we relax, snooze, entertain casually and feel the summer sun and breezes upon our artificially tanned and plumped skin.

First we need to understand the lexicon of porches - especially if you want to add-on or build a new outdoor space. Your contractor might hear you describe a "modest porch" and what you're actually asking for is an "17th c. Venetian Piazza!"
May be enclosed by screen, latticework or other light frame walls extending from the main structure.

A gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open air on one side, where it is supported by columns.

An outdoor space that often adjoins a residence and is typically of hard, masonry paving.

A fanciful name for a colonnaded porch.

An open pillared gallery generally built around a central structure. It's often partly enclosed by a railing and frequently extends across the front and sides of the structure.

A garden feature forming a shaded walk or passageway of pillars that support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice with vines trained across.

A freestanding pavilion structure often in parks, gardens and spacious areas and open on all sides.

Literally means "beautiful view. It's used as a term for a high porch commanding a nice view.

A wooden outdoor floor, usually elevated.

An open courtyard-type space surrounded by columns on the interior of a home.


(Source: E. Decor)
This covered patio is one of my favorite outdoor spaces, ever! The beautiful striped awning (which is not an expensive addition) with the Moroccan lanterns creates feel of a wonderful Moroccan or Spanish villa. The combo of the wicker with a repurposed cocktail table keeps the tone down.
I see flowing white caftans and jeweled sandals!


You're going all like OMG, right? I know! Wall & floor tiles, cast stone columns and the olive oil jars all add to the 'continental' feeling. The simple furniture allows the architecture and vegetation to be the "star player."
Hmmmm... maybe a Pucci knit dress and Chanel ballet slippers?


GTFO! Some musica di chitarra and vino rossa you're immediately transported to Lago di Como or Ravello. The classical Italian feel is uncluttered and molto elegante! Here, it's definitely a white linen two-piece, hair pulled back with Hermes scarf and bare-feet with coral toe-nail polish!


Dark Green Painted Ceilings: Yes, they actually make the spaces feel shady and cooler.

Pale Blue Ceilings: Pale blue is an old southern tradition.
It lightens and brightens the porch and feels like an open sky.

Keep It Well Edited: The outside view is busy enough, don't incorporate busy patterns or too many colors or your porch look like Sanford and Sons.

Color: One or two-color schemes are always best.
Much more impactful and easier to comprehend. Don't compete with the outdoors, you won't win....

Flowers & Plants: Bring the garden into the porch; blur the lines by bringing plants and trees onto the porch.

Use something usually for an interior space: A pair of chairs, porcelains or lamps.

There are zillions of outdoor curtain fabrics in many weights, colors and patterns - even sheers! (I know, craycray, right?)

Tied back curtains add softness, but also a touch of formality.

Porch curtains can be utilitarian too, you can close them to block the sun or abate an evening breeze. The idea of softly drifting curtains in the breeze can getcha all romantic too...

Mediterranean Style
If your home is Mediterranean-style, or southwestern then this direction and flavor is what's appropriate. A warm palette, all iron furniture and masculine architecture are the key elements of this porch. This would look silly on a colonial porch in Virginia.
The grand, All-American porch!
Using one simple fabric keeps it clean-lined and attractive. The blue and white is woven through the entire outdoor area; paving stones, upholstery, even the flowers in the garden are all blue. Looks great in the Hampton's, but would look silly and feminine in Texas!
Clean-lined traditional is always a winner!
By editing and keeping it simple, it almost feels contemporary.
The all-white furniture highlights the structure and the mossy-green upholstery blends beautifully with the green of the garden.
This porch's scheme is great for any region with lush vegetation, but not for a desert, southwest locale.

Classic, casual and cool!
Here, the elegance is implied by the architecture, the designer followed through with the decorations and a simple palette. 
Would look good anywhere!

Country-Fried Chic!
The mountains, woods, low-lands or the prairie are the perfect places for this style porch. The causal architecture is enhanced by the suite of matching wicker in pale tones. This would look odd in La Jolla!

A little bit of this with a little bit of that!
Their formula for success is they have kept everything white and rattan color. The accessories are large-scale so they don't get lost in the great outdoors. Small accessories look cutesy and low-budge.

A scrappy cinderblock-walled porch is zhuzhed up by painting tag-sale stuff with pretty paint colors drawn from the rug.

If you like mid-century - buy a few things at resale shops, CB2 or West Elm that express your style. The success lies in the simplicity here.

Simplicity + Pier1 = Success

Granny's old stuff will rock da house if you just spray-paint it white and put snappy colored cushions on it. Boom, yer done!

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!