Whether your porch is small and highlights the front door of your house – most common in the UK, or, is a large extension of your home that wraps around the front or sides of your house as can be seen in the US, there are design tips and tricks that can enhance your space.
The porch has a fond following in most countries – Dutch settlers called it the ‘stoop’ and the Spanish named theirs ‘portals’.
They epitomise indoor/outdoor living wherever you live and often have nostalgic roots that originated from communities from the past as they were seen as a social hub to catch up with the local news.
Today, they are used for all types of entertaining, be it a shared drink on an evening, an impromptu set from a local musician or a more organized event like Porchfest – an annual affair that is held across the US and Canada on front porches, or an elegant way to wine and dine your friends and families at the weekend.
Below we have curated some beautiful designs ideas for you to be inspired by for your own front porch, whatever its size.
Front porch ideas
- For more front porch ideas, see: Small front porch ideas – add interest to the entrance of your home
1. Enhance your Victorian porch
If you’re lucky enough to have a traditional Victorian style porch complete with intricate gables then do keep it in tip top condition with a lick of paint.
‘Your front door and surround is the perfect introduction to what lies beyond, consider elements such as the vernacular of the build and a palette that has empathy with the architecture.
One option is to carry the same front door color up and over the porch and other exterior wood elements for continuity – creating the simplest of decoration – this is also a great way to add scale to smaller doors.
Alternatively, work with colors that share the same undertone or several shades lighter or darker than one another – this again will create a considered look that is timeless and attractive,’ says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball Brand Ambassador.
2. Create a visual path
These beautiful stone tiles perfectly lead you up the path to this handsome porch and bold pink front door. They are inspired by the Sampietrini pavement found in the inspiring city streets of Italy and are made from thick porcelain so they will be hard-wearing for years to come.
3. In the detail
This is a good example of how you can create a porch area with traditional detailing, the white gable addition frames the front and adds an aesthetic appeal. Keeping it white ties it in well with the white windows and door frame. Placing terracotta pots full of pretty blooms in front will add some bold color and extra interest.
4. Use intricate ironwork
This delightful traditional English porch has stunning intricate metalwork that is breathtakingly beautiful. Painted in classic black, the detailing stands out against the white paintwork perfectly and the symmetrical design aspect is replicated within the porch area by the two bay trees and planters with the result being a very stylish view.
5. Have a seat
Porches in the UK vary widely, they can be a stunning affair with metalwork and wooden gables, or they can be simple yet still beautiful like this front door with slight gable detailing and a small step up porch area. Yet it still looks grand and stylish, and who wouldn’t like a lovely metal bench to sit on outside?
6. Create a room with a view
One of the main differences between British and American porches is the size, this beauty nestled in the countryside is an extension of the home – rather how we would use a conservatory here in the UK.
The timber frame visually links to the solid wood dining table and the green chairs are the perfect shade that ties in with the stunning greens in the view.
7. Make it two tone
‘The outside of our homes are often the poor relation to our interior decorating. Maintaining and refreshing your exterior masonry and woodwork not only protects the surfaces but it is a fantastic way of creating an impression, particularly if you embrace colour.
Although the go-to paint is often a white or off white, choosing a bolder colour is a great way of creating a feature, especially if you have beautiful doors or windows in your property,’ says Helen Shaw, Director at Benjamin Moore.
8. Opt for a country style look
Create your own porch with a country element by using tongue and groove panelling, Lloyd Loom chairs and metal occasional furniture. The patterned tiles add a decorative element that creates a charming feel whilst being a key focal point to the overall scheme.
9. Add an extra room
The beauty of a porch is that you really can create a relaxing additional room and adding stylish and practical furniture is key – there’s nothing nicer than sitting on a comfy couch with your legs tucked up under you with a cuppa and a favourite book.
If your space allows, then do consider a couch and coffee table – the rattan adds the most perfect texture to this wooden porch and you can set the scene by adding pots around them for color.
10. Decorate with fresh greens and crisp whites
Choosing an accent colour to highlight certain key areas works really well as you can see here. The bold green shade looks great on the back wall and creates the ideal backdrop. The paler shade on the patterned cushions is a clever idea that adds a decorative aspect to the sofa. Crisp white and green has always been a classic combination that’s fresh and stylish.
11. Incorporate outside dining
Designed by Marie Carson of M.Elle Design, this stunning porch oozes sophisticated style and comfort. A true extension of the interior, the neutral furniture looks fabulous on this cherry wood style decking.
‘Porches remind us of a calmer, slower paced lifestyle. There is a romanticism about rocking in a chair watching the world go by. Make sure you have comfortable seating space and add planters and greenery.'
12. Combine styles
‘A good Craftsman porch is a mix of the traditional and eclectic. Storied, warm, and inviting are words I associate with a welcoming front porch. I like to bring the indoors out on a Craftsman porch, which is usually well covered.
An antique rug layered under traditional Adirondack chairs, fashioned with overstuffed pillows instead of outdoor cushions. A vintage marble side table is unexpected and used between them offering an inspiring place to put your glass. A drop leaf early century dinner table becomes an impromptu outdoor dining spot or a daytime work alternative.
Using native flowers and branches cut from the tree act as a natural art in the space. Olive bushes are my favorite potted plant and offer moments of witness to the breeze.
A porch should be a place of gathering and always offer a moment of escape,’ says Jamie Haller, Interior Designer at Jamie Haller.
- For more front porch ideas, see: Front porch lighting ideas – clever ways to illuminate the entrance to your home
What is a front porch?
A front porch in England is very different to one in the US. British porches were more popular during the Victorian era and although smaller than their US counterparts, were beautiful and rather intricate affairs often with delicate looking ironwork decorating gables.
As well as indicating the main entrance of the house, they were designed to protect you from the inclement weather and more often that not where found on larger houses in wealthier areas.
These days in the UK they are less decorative and more practical - that place where you pop your coats and wellies after a long walk in the country and are often enclosed.
However, in the US they originate from the early 1900s and are more of an extension, an open room attached to the front of the house for example and were very much part of neighbourly socialisation in small towns where people would visit their friends sitting on their front porches in the evenings.
What are the different types of porches?
There are several different types of porch as they cover a wide range of descriptions – balcony, sun porch and patio.
Large and with a roof they are always found at the front of the house and are seen as an essential outdoor living space, some are screened in – due to insects and extreme weather, and essentially they provide shade and a place to relax in during the hot summer months.
One thing they aren’t is an extension, they are always built with the house, rather than added on as an extra which often happens in the UK.
A ‘farmer’s’ porch is quite common and it is attached to a farmhouse-style home. It has a roof and railings and is the width of the entire house, making it large enough to accommodate family gatherings, they are often furnished with furniture that can work both inside and out – a true extension of the interior.
- For more front porch advice, see: How to decorate a front porch – ideas for doors, planting, lighting and more
How can I make a front porch look nice?
As a front porch is an extension of your home, it’s important to decorate it so it feels like a room in your house, like you are simply stepping into another area in your home.
Furniture is key, and good comfy chairs are an essential part of the design. You can opt for outdoor styles that are made from wicker or choose classic wooden designs that will last for years and don’t forget to keep an eye out at antique fairs, unique pieces add character to a scheme whether it’s for inside or out.
If the weather allows, add rugs layered up for a cosy feel during the cooler months or, if you are after a colder feel underfoot opt for tiles, they can also add a decorative and colorful feel to your porch.
Hanging baskets and potted plants will look great, you can tie in the colours so they match cushions or paintwork and why not frame your front door with a pair bay trees – a classic design choice.
Another great idea is to change your accessories seasonally, you could source bright cushions and throws for the summer months and swap them out for more muted fall tones when the seasons change, it will also prevent you from becoming bored with your look!
Create a welcoming glow with hanging wrought iron pendants overhead and candle lanterns on your steps so you can enjoy a cosy atmosphere after the sun goes down. Festoon lights are another fabulous option and they can be strung up along the inner wall and ceiling for special occasions like Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year.