Outdoor Space Design Guide

Design Tips for the Front Porch

Whether your porch is a small entry area or a roomy wrap-around, we'll show you how to create style, curb appeal and comfort in your home's welcome center.

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Wicker Furniture on Porch

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the front porch is like a handshake, welcoming visitors, serving as a connection point with the neighborhood, and role-playing as the first (and sometimes only) impression for passers-by and neighbors.

And just as your handshake style is important (too soft, and you come off as wimpy; too hard, and you seem aggressive), your porch's style gives visitors a preview of what's inside. "The porch is the calling card of your home," says Susanna Salk, a design expert and author of Weekend Retreats (Rizzoli, 2009). "Don't neglect it or, worse, use the space as storage. It's an extension of the soul of the house."

Creating front porch style is a simple weekend project. First, Salk says, head outside and look at your porch. How is it used? "Some porches are little portals into the house that you don't notice much, and others are big spaces with a view. What's going on here — is it a transitional space into the home, or its own living space?"

Salk believes a small porch that functions as transitional space into the house itself should echo the overall style of your home. "You should never shortchange this space, but it's too small to create a completely new look," she says. "If the porch leads into a traditional living room, don't decorate it with tropical accents."

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the front porch is like a handshake, welcoming visitors, serving as a connection point with the neighborhood, and role-playing as the first (and sometimes only) impression for passers-by and neighbors.

And just as your handshake style is important (too soft, and you come off as wimpy; too hard, and you seem aggressive), your porch's style gives visitors a preview of what's inside. "The porch is the calling card of your home," says Susanna Salk, a design expert and author of Weekend Retreats (Rizzoli, 2009). "Don't neglect it or, worse, use the space as storage. It's an extension of the soul of the house."

Creating front porch style is a simple weekend project. First, Salk says, head outside and look at your porch. How is it used? "Some porches are little portals into the house that you don't notice much, and others are big spaces with a view. What's going on here — is it a transitional space into the home, or its own living space?"

Salk believes a small porch that functions as transitional space into the house itself should echo the overall style of your home. "You should never shortchange this space, but it's too small to create a completely new look," she says. "If the porch leads into a traditional living room, don't decorate it with tropical accents." The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the front porch is like a handshake, welcoming visitors, serving as a connection point with the neighborhood, and role-playing as the first (and sometimes only) impression for passers-by and neighbors.

And just as your handshake style is important (too soft, and you come off as wimpy; too hard, and you seem aggressive), your porch's style gives visitors a preview of what's inside. "The porch is the calling card of your home," says Susanna Salk, a design expert and author of Weekend Retreats (Rizzoli, 2009). "Don't neglect it or, worse, use the space as storage. It's an extension of the soul of the house."

Creating front porch style is a simple weekend project. First, Salk says, head outside and look at your porch. How is it used? "Some porches are little portals into the house that you don't notice much, and others are big spaces with a view. What's going on here — is it a transitional space into the home, or its own living space?"

Salk believes a small porch that functions as transitional space into the house itself should echo the overall style of your home. "You should never shortchange this space, but it's too small to create a completely new look," she says. "If the porch leads into a traditional living room, don't decorate it with tropical accents."

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