Step-by-Step Porch Makeover

HGTV Magazine reveals the dramatic transformation of an interior designer’s Charleston, S.C., porch.

Photo By: Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

Photo By: Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

Photo By: Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

Photo By: Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

Photo By: Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

The Wonders of Paint

Designer Cortney Bishop gives the blank slate of her outdoor room a complete facelift. She says the fastest way to perk up a space is paint and recommends choosing a flat finish paint for the porch since gloss can be slippery. Using outdoor porch paint is also important because it's formulated to withstand rain or shine.

Foolproof Furniture Arrangement

Lay down an indoor/outdoor rug to define the seating area. This one is made with polypropylene to resist mold and mildew. Set up the sofas (the frames on these are all-weather teak, and the cushions are outdoor velvet) in an L-shape, then add an end table for them to share. The space is already taking on a comfy living room look!

Easy Shade and Privacy

Have curtain panels sewn with outdoor fabric, which won’t mildew. Or check for great ready-made ones. Cortney's linen-like curtains are hung from galvanized pipe (cut to size at Lowe's) that's mounted to the porch's screen framework. Pipe caps screw right on as "finials."

Happy walls

Why not hang a mirror outside? Flank it with a pair of outdoor sconces over a weather-resistant console table. Cortney's is teak-topped, which stands up to the elements. A round pedestal table surrounded by powder-coated metal chairs (they won't rust!) is the perfect spot for alfresco game playing.

Ta-Da! The Finished Look

No "outdoor living room" is complete without a few fresh-air-loving plants and flowers. Cortney mixed up lots of vessels and species — palms, pink cyclamens and maidenhair ferns. On the side table, there's a powder-coated metal lamp with a weatherproof shade. A sturdy basket under the console holds blankets and board games, and a stack of books props up a glossy red outdoor radio. Cortney spruced up the sofas with solid and patterned pillows — just like you'd do indoors — but these are made with outdoor fabric and mildew-resistant inserts.