5 Essential Porch Designs

green porchOutdoor living spaces, more and more popular these days, are a wonderful way to enjoy nature, relax, and watch the world go by.  In days gone by, the 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, but in the way we use our backyards, screened porches, patios, and decks.

I love looking at photos of porches in magazines and online websites to get ideas for our own porch.  And one thing I’ve noticed is there are really 5 essential porch designs that seem to show up again and again. 

#1:  Seating  

No matter how large or small the space is, seating is the first thing to consider.  Do you want a private space that’s just for you?  Or do you want a cozy romantic area for two?


beach porch


#2:  Accent Table 

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.




#3  Rug 

Rugs are the anchoring point for any seating group.  They pull it all together, and create a more inviting space.


porch with swing


#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”.


colorful porch


#5 Plants 

Plants add a sense of calm to any space, and outdoor rooms are no exception.


white porch


Ceiling Fan





The Strange Reason Why Most Southern Porches Are Blue

 We’re about to begin our first summer holiday.  School is out for the year, and vacation is on everyone’s mind.  When I think of  summer, I immediately have visions of relaxing on the porch with a cool drink and a really exciting book.  So, in honor of National Historic Preservation month, I thought it would be fun to explore our obsession with painting the ceilings of our porches blue.  I’ve been curious about a certain blue used to paint the ceilings ever since my daughter’s friend used it on her porch.

I’ve done a little research, and found some juicy information about this historical color.  I learned that Haint Blue is based on spiritual and cultural beliefs – especially in the South Carolina Low Country with the Gullah culture.  Haints are restless spirits of the dead who haven’t moved on from the physical world.  They definitely aren’t the friendly ghosts you want to have around.  The belief is that since Haints cannot cross water, painting your ceiling, shutters, doors, floors, or window trims will discourage them from “crossing” into your house.

haint blue porch ceiling

The original paints were mixed as milk paint using a lime base and some pigments.  The interesting thing is that they used whatever pigment was on hand at the time.  So we have no record of an official Haint Blue color.  Paint tests on historic houses have given us records, but nothing uniform from house to house.  Basically, Haint Blue ranges from blue-green to blue-violet.  Historic Preservationists have come up with their own formulas that you can discover using a quick Google search.


As I sit admiring my bouquet of beautiful blue hydrangeas, I’m reminded that the color or shade you choose needs to be one that makes you happy and feels good to you.  But the next time you see a historic house, be sure to check out the porch ceiling.  You might just find a new shade of Haint Blue that you love!