Solving Common Porch Problems

There are simple solutions that help you create a user-friendly porch.

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Photo courtesy of Kelly Moore

While porches offer an opportunity to improve how you use your home, they can also present challenges. The layout of your property, the proximity of neighbors and even sun exposure are issues that can sometimes make the planning and designing of a porch tricky.

Here are some useful tips on how to address common porch problems.

Your Porch Needs Extra Seating

When you have limited space on a porch and need seating to accommodate guests, you can bump out a corner of the porch, incorporate seating into planters or use porch stairs for informal gatherings. For their own back porch, architects David Horsley and Joann Le of DAO Architecture added a custom bench railing to the perimeter of their porch made from powder-coated steel and cedar.

"It's incredibly space efficient," says David. A strong spar urethane (a marine-grade finish found at many paint and hardware stores) was used to protect the railing-and-seating combination and the porch floor from the elements.

Seating Secrets for Your Porch

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Cozy Porch Swings

A Pleasant Meal on the Porch

Charming Wooden Rocking Chairs

Lively Porch Accessories

Resilient Outdoor Materials

Ropes for Swinging Daybeds

Traditional Wicker

Steve Exum

Mix and Match Furniture

Your Porch Needs More Shade

In addition to split bamboo or wood matchstick blinds, there are durable fabrics well-suited for porch curtains. Choose weather-resistant fabrics, like solution-dyed acrylics or woven vinyl-coated polyester, which resist fading. And don't forget about plantings. Your surrounding landscaping (especially trees, leafy plants and shrubs) can often provide natural shade for your porch.

You Want More Privacy for Your Porch

You can make your porch feel more secluded by including louvered shutters or installing roll-down canvas shades. Portable room screens are another and less expensive option. A trellis with vines provides privacy and is an attractive way to add color to your porch.

Your Porch Always Feels Too Hot or Too Cold

If your porch is built on a concrete slab, consider electric radiant heat to warm your porch floor. Ceiling fans for cooling and a fireplace for warmth are two other options that do double-duty as decorative features for your porch. David says they created removable custom glass panels to fit over a client's porch screens for the cold winter months.

Next Up

Porch Flooring and Foundation

Get tips on foundation construction and finding the right flooring.

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