Design Tips

Porch Decorating Ideas and Designer Tips

July 7, 2022

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Decorating Tips

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Make the most out of your outdoor spaces! These porch decor ideas and design tips will help you create a stylish and versatile outdoor area that your family will love.

For us, outdoor space is a really important part of our home. We learned early on that we really love being outside while still being able to enjoy a comfortable living space. When we were looking at houses, having a screened-in porch was one of our “wants.” Two houses ago we built one, and we really missed it for the years we were in our last house. We loved the beautiful deck, but the screened porch was hard to live without! One of the reasons I fell in love with our current home was the giant screened-in area. It sealed the deal!

I knew the first time I saw our screened-in room that with a few decor changes it could be the stuff of outdoor living dreams. Here in North Carolina, you can really enjoy your outside living space for a big part of the year. For maximum enjoyment, we have done our best to create a stylish space that is really useable for our family and comfortable all year round. I gathered my favorite interior design tips to help you create the perfect porch space for your home. These are great for a front porch design, a back deck, a screened-in porch and anything in between!

My Top Porch Decorating Tips

Add fire columns or a fire pit.

There is no denying that having a fire is the perfect ambiance for an evening outside. I found these awesome fire columns as a fun alternative to a traditional fire pit. Since the living and dining spaces were sharing the same section of the deck, I wasn't able to fit a traditional fire pit with seating around it. Instead, I created a line of teak rockers facing the big backyard and added these cool columns. These were especially awesome because they were portable and could be moved around the deck so I wasn't stuck with any particular configuration. If you need a lot of versatility in your space, opt for columns! If you love the traditional circle of chairs around the fire, opt for a fire pit. Either way will warm up your space and help anchor your porch space.

teak chairs and fire columns on back porch at dusk

Add an outdoor bar to make good use of a narrow deck.

Have an odd space or a narrow deck? Add a bar! Our back deck had a narrow boardwalk-type area connecting the doors and the main part of the deck. Instead of letting that just be dead space, we created a DIY outside bar! You can follow our tutorial for a concrete bar top or create your own. Then add stools and some decor–we opted for pipe shelves to act as our bar service area, a welcoming sign and some potted plants!

outdoor bar with concrete top

Add lots of textiles–pillows, ottomans and blankets–to create a sense of coziness.

The screened porch in the new house is one big room. It has an amazing vaulted ceiling in half, and we have an eating area and a living room area. In order to make the space feel cozier despite how big and airy it is, I added LOTS of textiles to the room. The furniture has soft cushions, I found pouf-style ottomans that work perfectly with the egg chair, and we have lots of throw blankets and pillows. Not only are the pillows and blankets perfect for being cozy when it is chilly or you want to take an outdoor nap, but they also soften up the space and make it feel inviting. They are the perfect porch decorations that are also useful.

outdoor dining area on screened porch

Add ambient lighting like string lights and this DIY outdoor chandelier.

Just because it is a porch or outdoor space, doesn't mean you can't have awesome lighting! No matter what room I am designing, the right lighting is key to making the space feel complete. For our space, I wanted warm lighting that felt cozy while giving us a good amount of light. I hung string lights and lanterns and I created these amazing outdoor chandeliers from baskets and puck lights. These chandeliers are one of my favorite DIY projects in this house! I have made lots of my own DIY light fixtures and this may actually be the easiest–no electrical wiring needed! If you don't have the time or brain power to DIY your own, there are plenty of amazing light options out there. Choose your favorite and hang it up!

DIY outdoor chandelier and ambient lighting on screened porch

Use outdoor rugs to define different areas.

Our patio is one big space. We stick to one color scheme and decorate the space in a cohesive design, but use outdoor rugs to define each space and make them feel different. They are both blue and coordinate with the rest of the decor, but they clearly define the dining area from the living area.

coordinating blue rugs in large outdoor space

More Great Design Tips for Outdoor Spaces

For an extra cozy feel, add outdoor curtains.

Lauren from Bless'er House makes her space feel cozy with budget-friendly DIY outdoor curtains. I love being in an outdoor space, but sometimes the proximity of other homes or even the street can make a porch feel too exposed. Adding curtains to create privacy is the perfect way to remedy this. I love these sheers because they still let light in while allowing for a sense of seclusion. Not to mention it creates a private-resort feeling!!! If you need more shade, opt for a heavier fabric that will block a little of the light.

porch with sheer privacy curtains

Add large plants to bring the outdoors into your space.

One of my favorite design rules is that every room needs a plant. Outdoor rooms are no different! Bring a garden feel into your space with large plants. Bonus if you find fun pots for a pop of color. This HGTV designer did a great job joining the outdoors with this beautiful screened porch by adding a large potted plant in a navy container. You can also add hanging baskets or plants that trail with vines to give your porch an outdoorsy feel!

screened-in porch with pink and navy accents and wood plank ceiling

Add multiple chandeliers for a focal point.

I adore how this makeover by Shavonda Gardner turned out. Over the table, she layered rattan lamps in all shapes and sizes to create this masterpiece of an outdoor eating area! The only thing better than one woven lantern is a lot of them! I love how the neutral colors of the rattan pop against the dark stain.

backyard patio with pergola and rattan pendant lights

Hang a bed for maximum outdoor relaxation.

There is not much better than relaxing outside on a beautiful day. Hanging a bed is the ultimate porch swing and it doesn't get any more relaxing than that! Young House Love built this amazing outdoor hanging daybed for their porch and it is the perfect spot for lounging, reading, or napping. They offer a tutorial for creating one or there are lots of options out there to purchase one! Just be advised that once hung, you will have to fight to get a turn on it with the rest of your family and your guests!

DIY hanging daybed on back porch

Paint your floors.

Pep up your space instantly by painting the floors! This cozy sunporch from HGTV has an amazing turquoise floor that I love with the white walls and brightly colored decor and natural wood furnishings. That bright floor is an instant mood lifter!

teal painted porch floor with bright decor and wood furniture

Paint concrete to make it feel homier.

Dress up concrete to make it feel more inviting. Lots of homes have an outdoor space that starts as a boring gray concrete pad. Painting it dresses it up immediately and creates the feeling of an inviting outdoor space. Use a fun color or a pattern to create lots of interest! Laura from A Beautiful Mess used her former outdoor space as inspiration when she moved. To make this one feel more welcoming, she painted a black and white tile print on the concrete patio.

Add color and pattern!

Every good design has color and pattern mixed in and your outdoor space is no exception. The patterned rug, brightly colored pillows with varying pattern scale, and the bold stripe on the curtains in this fun and colorful front porch from HGTV create a balanced and well-designed seating area. I love carefully curated outdoor design with a good mix of bright colors and patterns. Treat the porch the same as any other room!

Paint your door.

Looking for front porch ideas? HGTV designers know the secret to a warm welcome and a home's curb appeal is a fun front door color. This gorgeous light pink front door balances beautifully with the navy siding and looks perfect paired with planters of greenery and pink flowers.

Add multipurpose furniture to a small porch.

Elizabeth at The College House Wife is getting the most she can out of her patio by choosing multifunctional furniture for her small outdoor space. She added IKEA benches with the backing for smart seating! The bench top lifts for storage and the backing has shelves that can be adjusted. Also, these are made for the outdoors so they are good in the elements. Find pieces like these that can serve more than one purpose in your outdoor space.

Add lots of seating perfect for a gathering and good conversation.

The number one ingredient for spending time outdoors with family and friends is the right amount of seating! Lauren at Bless'er House does an amazing job at creating the perfect outdoor conversation and lounge area on her back porch. The poufs can double as seating when there is a crowd or be used as footstools on days when no extra seating is needed. Also having all the seating facing in and surrounding one big coffee table creates a “living room” feel that is perfect for enjoying good company outside!

These porch decorating ideas are designer-worthy tips that will transform your outdoor areas into another living space for your family to enjoy. We LOVE our back screened porch and cannot imagine living without it! Use these ideas with your own style to create the outdoor space of your dreams.

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