Living Space

Living Space: Give your porch some panache

Tribune Media ServicesJune 28, 2013 

Rocking chairs make perfect porch seats for relaxing and conversation.

FOTOLIA.COM

Nothing says summer like spending a lazy afternoon on the porch reading, letting your mind drift as you sip a cool drink, or spending hours in conversation with family or friends.

Whether your porch is at the front, side or rear of your house, you can create a sweet haven to socialize, or turn it into your private retreat.

Think social

A porch is more than a covered transition from outdoors to the indoors; it’s a spot to sit and linger. Conversations seem more comfortable, easier and more relaxed than indoors, so set up your porch to exude intimacy. If space is available, create a conversation area out of a loveseat and a pair of chairs. For one-on-one time, add a bistro set for two in a corner of your porch. Add a potted fern or some summer blooms, and you have an inviting spot for a glass of wine.

Table it

Porches often face a pretty view. If your porch is narrow, line up chairs turned to face the view, but be sure to include side tables between them. Many times, porches and outdoor seating areas lack places to set down a drink or a book. For more interest, add a side table that’s different from your other furnishings. A wicker settee and chairs cries out for a table that’s a departure from the natural fibers. Try a metal or glass table. The contrast will make the whole porch more interesting and appealing. Ceramic garden stools are also an option. For about $100, you can have a perch for drinks or seating when extra guests show up.

Go swing

The quintessential porch accessory is an old-fashioned swing. But rather than pop for a traditional model, try one with a unique style, such as Adirondack. If a porch swing isn’t appealing, a woven egg swing chair might be perfect. Sophisticated, contemporary and soothing, a pair of swinging chairs mounted from the ceiling or hung from a stand makes a stylish choice. If your porch is at the back or side of the house, or is extra wide, a swinging day bed might be a nice option for an afternoon nap.

Porch necessities

When outfitting your porch, consider adding a variety of seating. Your options can range from conventional chaise lounge chairs to rockers. And don’t forget about softness underfoot. Adding an outdoor or sisal rug helps soften hard floors. A porch is also a great spot for vine furniture, or anything rustic-looking. More style choices include adding shades or curtains to mute hard edges, give you a bit of privacy or soften the sun’s glare. Lastly, don’t forget to add some soft, colorful pillows in weather-resistant fabric.

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