While it may appear challenging to decorate a small porch area, don't let the diminutive size put you off.
A compact porch offers a unique experience to create something special, making the most of whatever space you do have and, in turn, offering a wonderful first impression for visitors.
From New-England style walk-up porches to a compact structure that covers the door, it's important to approach a small porch with thought and seek the right advice. It could be a chance to extend your entryway or create a cosy haven outside your door.
Whatever the options, these ideas need careful planning and consideration.
Small front porch ideas
1. Choose light colors
Emphasising the architectural details of a smaller porch with a crisp white shade works wonderfully, especially if you have features such as corbels, stonework and stucco. You can add interest to the space by choosing a different color for the door. A fresh blue or blush pink will brighten up a grey urban street.
Genevieve Hurley, an interior designer who works in both London and Ireland suggests painting the immediate surround of the door in the same shade. 'Visually it makes the door look wider,' she confirms.
2. Use the same color throughout
Whether you have a covered porch or one that's open to the elements, choosing the same color for the ceiling and walls will help lift the space and make it feel more expansive.
'It's important to think about the flow, so paint the ceiling and the walls the same color. Also, think about what color you have in the hallway. There should be a thread that follows throughout,' advises Nikki Rees who runs an interior design practice in south west London.
3. Consider architectural features
The structural design of your porch may not be easily adaptable, but consider smaller changes. Speak to your architect about adding columns, railings or newel posts.
'If you have the ability to add a window to a covered porch area, then do so. It will provide much-needed light,' explains Nikki Rees.
Californian-based interior designer, Denise Maloney recommends adding wider, decorative columns in place of existing posts. 'It may sound counterintuitive, but it really does help elongate the space and give your eyes somewhere to land,' she says.
4. Add mirrors
In a covered porch area, interior designer Nikki Rees advises adding a mirror into any joinery you are planning. 'A mirror will reflect natural light, making the space appear larger,' says Nikki. There are weatherproof options available too. A wrought iron version could work well in a porch that's exposed to the elements
5. Connect with other outdoor spaces
If your porch leads to a front garden area, think about how to keep the look cohesive. Use similar plants, choose paint colors that echo nature or speak to your designer about emulating the architectural features seen in your pathway or stonework.
In this California property, designed by Taylor Lombardo Architects, not only does the stonework provide a cohesive look, but so do the plants surrounding the porch.
6. Keep it simple
Keep everything simple and unfussy. Don't try to fit in a boot store if there's not enough space. Remove anything that is tired, worn out or not used. Then include things that have a practical or a multi-functional purpose.
'If you have space, a bench is a great addition to a porch,' advises interior designer, Genevieve Hurley. 'I recently designed a stone-clad bench for a client which could be lifted up and used as a boot store.'
7. Light it well
'Opt for a pair of wall lights, perhaps to frame your front door or to hover over a standing plant. This will allow for an even spill of light where it's needed most, especially in the darker winter months when outdoor lighting is essential,' advises Rohan Blacker, founder of lighting company, Pooky.
Rohan also suggests using a range of different wall lights to create a lighting feature. 'Play around with the lights’ direction and focal points – illuminate your house number, your brightly painted front door or your favorite porch plant.'
8. Hang items high above the door
Space is precious in your small porch area, so use every inch effectively. Ensure lights are placed high above the door and opt for hanging baskets and foliage. Door numbers and signs should be situated well above eye level. Hanging items at a height will draw the eye upwards and create the illusion of a bigger space.
9. Get clever with plants
Overgrown shrubs can overpower a front porch, so opt for smaller versions and consider symmetry.
'Use plants in pots on either side of your doorway to frame the entrance,' advises interior designer, Genevieve Hurley. 'Whether it's two tall bay trees or lavender in low boxes, planting can help elevate the space. You can also add window boxes to tie the look together.'
10. Add tall decorative elements
For the space immediately in front of your door, consider decorative elements such as lanterns, plant stands, stone decorations and an umbrella basket – these items are taller rather than wider, so will complement a small porch.
What can I do with a small front porch?
Making your small porch into a functional, yet stylish addition to your home is key.
'Get the balance right, you need to make sure it feels open and spacious, but also allows for a practical space,' advises interior designer, Nikki Rees.
If you live in the country, an area for boot storage might be useful, whereas in urban areas your porch lighting might need to work harder for security purposes. Speak to your architect or designer about the practical elements you need to consider before you start planning the decoration.
How do you decorate a small front porch?
'Keep it as open as possible – it will make the space feel larger,' says Nikki Rees. Avoid fussy details and instead embrace symmetry with simple items placed around the front door. 'Whatever color you choose for your front door, opt for a high gloss finish,' advises Genevieve Hurley. 'Not only is it more hard-wearing, but it bounces light around, making your porch area look bigger.'
Choose lighting that enlarges the space and makes it feel more expansive. 'Use spotlights to highlight dark corners and open up your porch area,' explains Rohan Blacker. 'By using a simple wall light to draw focus to feature elements, this will naturally give your space a larger feel,' adds Rohan.