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Design A Stylish Porch For Entertaining

Watching the sunset with a drink in hand is reason enough to have a front or back porch. But a well-appointed porch gives your home extra space for entertaining – and extends our outdoor season on the North Shore well into the fall. Whether your porch is petite or grand, the right furnishings and accessories can turn it into a gathering spot. We've collected some of our favorite porch design ideas to inspire you.

Create An Outdoor Living Room:

Front porch decor greets your guests with a statement of your style. Classic planters and attractive light fixtures create a warm welcome. Furniture with deep cushions makes your porch as comfortable as the living room inside. Even a small porch may have room for a pair of chairs. Include as much seating as possible in your porch design, and you'll expand your living space to accommodate large groups.

Design Ideas For A Small Or Narrow Porch:

If your porch is small, or less than eight feet deep, you may think porch rockers or a bench are the only option. But comfortable chairs with cushions are often less than 30" deep. You can easily fit a pair, or even a row of chairs against a wall. Put a small drinks table between, and your guests can linger for hours.

 

Image Courtesy of Copper Lighting World

 

Tuck a small bench across the end of a narrow porch and instantly create a cozy seating nook:

 

Image Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

You can even use the bench trick to create a small dining area – just add a small round table in front of the bench, and bring out folding bistro chairs when you're ready to eat.

On a porch that’s narrow but long, create separate seating and dining areas. A dining nook or bistro set at one end can seat 2-4 people. Place shallow furniture against the house, facing outwards, for more seating. Vintage wicker sofas and chairs are perfectly scaled for narrow porches, but you can find modern designs around 30" deep. Measure your porch before shopping so you'll know what will fit.

Small stackable chairs are perfect for entertaining on a narrow porch. Pair them with small tables, or add them to a dining area. These striped chairs from Frontgate are stylish and comfortable:

Striped Stacking Cafe’ Chairs, Frontgate

 

Design Ideas For A Large Porch:

Large porches usually have space for different seating and dining areas. A porch that’s eight feet or wider has room for a dining table and chairs. A long, narrow table can be the ideal solution for large dinner parties. Or, set it up as a serving area for drinks and appetizers.

An outdoor buffet is handy for storing table decor, candles, and serving pieces. To have room for a buffet alongside your dining table, your porch should be ten feet wide. A buffet is also the perfect spot for a vignette of elegant accessories and potted plants. This buffet is made from weather-resistant teak and granite. When you're not throwing parties, it's durable enough to hold plants and flowers:

 

Teak Buffet from Country Casual

 

With an outdoor sofa, loveseat and cocktail tables, a porch becomes a second living room. Look for durable frames in teak, aluminum or resin, with comfortable cushions in Sunbrella or Outdura fabrics that will last for years. Today's outdoor styles even include sectional furniture, so it's easy to find pieces that fit your space perfectly:

 

Chatham Sectional, Pottery Barn

 

Smaller pieces make it easy to rearrange the furniture for different events. Loveseats are very space-efficient (most people won’t sit three-to-a-sofa anyway) and they’re easy to move around. Combine a pair of loveseats with several chairs to create a more versatile seating area - like designer Suzanne Kasler has done on this stylish porch:

 

Design by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs

 

Use area rugs to define different seating areas – they'll also add texture, color and a sense of warmth. A cheerful stripe adds casual flair, while a Persian-inspired rug provides a touch of elegance:

 

Outdoor Persian-inspired rug, Eyely

 

Design Your North Shore Porch For Fall: 

The nicest porches here in Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn take advantage of our beautiful Fall weather. If you have room, add an outdoor fireplace so you can enjoy being outside well into the Fall. Enclosing one end of the porch (or adding outdoor curtains) offers some protection from cold breezes.

Even without a fireplace, you can create a warm and cozy glow with candles and lanterns. Look for LED lanterns for long-lasting, safe outdoor lighting.

 

LED Outdoor lantern, Eyely

 

Quilts and blankets are a great way to add a pop of Fall color to the porch, and they'll keep you warm. Sunbrella makes outdoor throws that are warm and washable, so you can leave them outside. Add a covered basket or storage trunk to keep extra quilts and pillows handy.

 

Sunbrella Outdoor Throw

 

No matter what size or shape porch you’re working with, our design tips will help make it comfortable and inviting. A porch that's as well-appointed as your interiors will beckon your guests outside to enjoy the fresh sea air.

Do you love the charm of a classic porch? Sagan Harborside Realty has been matching porch-lovers to amazing homes with porches for years. Give us a call at 781-593-6111 to find your dream home on the North Shore of Boston.

 

 

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