Outdoor living spaces, are becoming more and more popular and are a wonderful way to enjoy nature, relax, and watch the world go by. There was a time when a front porch was the place to greet your neighbors after dinner, or spend a lazy afternoon reading.
Today the nostalgia of the front porch is showing up not only in new in-town homes and walk-able neighborhoods, but in the way we use our backyards, screened porches, patios, and decks. What I’ve noticed is there are 7 key ingredients of a summertime porch that seem to show up again and again. Maybe you’ve discovered this too.
Every spring, as soon as the pollen slows down, I’m craving some time on our porch. You see, until a few years ago, none of the homes we lived in had a covered porch. Now I’m making up for lost time by dreaming, planning, and shopping to make even small improvements to what we have.
The best way to get started is by taking an assessment of what you already have. Do you still love your existing colors or would you love to have a brighter color combination? Ideas are everywhere, including photos of porches in magazines, social media, and websites. And don’t forget visiting decorator show houses!
Ask yourself, “what do I really want”? What do you want your porch to look like, feel like? And then let your imagination kick in.
Let’s get started!
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Southern Living Magazine
No matter how large or small the space is, seating is the first thing to consider. Whether you prefer a sofa and chairs, or only chairs, it’s your choice. Do you want a private space that’s just for your family? Do you want a cozy romantic area for two?
#2: Accent Tables
We all need a table to place a drink or a book while we’re enjoying our outdoor space. The size and number of tables you need is based on how many people will use the porch…and how much space you have.
Rugs are the anchoring point for any seating group. They pull everything together and create a more inviting space. An added bonus for using a rug is to cover up unsightly decking.
#4 Accessories to Make It Yours
Adding your own accessories will truly make the space your own. They also set the tone for how you want your porch to feel. Pillows, outdoor draperies, and flowers all add to a room that says “Let’s relax here.”
Everyone knows that plants and flowers add beauty to our spaces. But plants add a sense of calm to any space, and outdoor rooms are no exception.
Credit: Laurey W, Glenn; Southern Living Magazine
#6 Dining Table and Chairs
#7 Lighting (and a ceiling fan)
Summers can be hot, humid, and stifling, with no breezes to cool you off. When you include a ceiling fan into your porch design plans, comfort is always just a click away.
If have a fireplace on your porch, consider yourself blessed! Nothing says “cozy” like a roaring fire on a cool evening.
1. Grab a pencil and note pad and make a list of what you have on your porch. Then make a list of what you need.
2. Are you using any of these 7 Essentials in your outdoor living spaces?
2. Look for ways you can add some of these features to your own porch.
It’s crazy, right? You need a new sofa. You walk into the furniture store to make your purchase, and BAM! You’re in sofa decision overload. There are so many choices and things to think about. Things that never really crossed your mind before. How do I choose the best sofa for your family? “What fabric should I pick?” “What style of arms do we want?” “Do we want a skirt or feet?” “What size is the best fit your our family room?” Add to this the fact that furniture is so hard to get right now. Items that used to have a 4 week delivery time are now taking 30 weeks. There are so many factors that feed into your decision making. And the bottom line is that you need to make the best decision for your and your family.
These are questions that I see clients stumble over all the time. And because I see the same questions pop up time and time again, it’s best to start at the beginning with a few of the basics to get off on the right track.
Often we want what we want NOW! We don’t want to wait. Maybe you’ve found something online or even in a local furniture store. You’re tired of what you have and you’re not willing to wait 6 months for the perfect sofa. I can totally relate because I’ve been there myself. Our 25 year old sofa HAD to go! It was too dark and dreary for our new home. So when I found one locally that fit our space, was a color that worked for what we already had, and in a price point that was reasonable, I jumped on it! But before I made the final purchase I went online and checked all of the specifications, not just the ones listed on the tags at the furniture store.
Most furniture tags are marked with the overall dimensions of length, width/depth, and height. This lets you know how it will fit in the room. Please don’t stop here! There are other important dimensions that will help you decide if this is the best sofa (or chair) for you and your family. You need to know the inside dimensions because this will tell you how comfortable it will be when you sit on it depending if you’re tall or short.
Always be sure to check the length and depth of the cushions. When you know this, you can easily compare it to what you already have at home. If 24″ deep has worked for you, and you’re considering a sofa that has 30″ deep cushions, then you know that you will need to have pillows behind you to sit comfortably
Arm height is also an important dimension to know. Do you like to nap on your sofa? You might need a sofa with a higher arm height. Again, compare this dimension to one that you know and love before making your final decision.
Cushion height (or seat height) will tell you how high you’ll be sitting from the floor. Typically, 18-20″ is what you will find. But if you’re buying from an online website you might find a 17″ height. So please make sure you check this dimension. Measure the height of your most comfortable sofa or chair so you have a dimension to compare it to. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who have made online sofa purchases and been disappointed when they arrived.
Back height is the measurement from the seat cushion to the top of the back cushion. If you’re a tall person who likes to rest your head when you sit, 30″ might be too short.
Always remember to look at both the inside dimensions and the outside dimensions before making your purchase. Check the amount of space you have in your room. Last of all take into consideration how many people you want to sit on the sofa at any given time. A rolled arm sofa that is 88″ overall will have a smaller inside dimensions than the track arm sofa in the photo below.
Some people love a sofa with only one long cushion. What I find is that people are more comfortable when only two people are sitting on a sofa. So a one cushion or two cushion sofa is a good choice.
In the end, follow this motto: Measure twice, purchase once! And ALWAYS, ALWAYS do your due diligence and read all of the specification details before you make the final purchase.