Step-by-Step Porch Makeover

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

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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.

Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

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!

Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

Easy Shade and Privacy

Have curtain panels sewn with outdoor fabric, which won’t mildew. Or check restorationhardware.com 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.\"

Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

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.

Photo by: Peter Frank Edwards

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.

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