Front Porch Decorating

“Porches are America’s lost rooms.”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

One of my favorite spring rituals is setting up the front porch for warm weather living.  This year, I looked at the porch furniture coming out of storage and suddenly felt I had it all wrong.  I decided to move everything around.  Do you ever do this?   I really love the new design so much more and can’t figure out how I didn’t set it up this way all along.  The porch seems more spacious.  The conversation easier.  Movement around the porch smoother.  There is much more of the pretty outdoor rug, my design starting point, to see and enjoy.  I even had room to add a bar area!  It’s not a huge space but it lives big.  I had to laugh, as I sat on my “newly” designed porch reading the latest Architectural Digest issue, when the words of Bunny Williams, a favorite designer, jumped out at me:  “I get so upset when people ask what’s new in decorating? Just take what you have and make it look new.”  Point well taken Bunny!

You can read about how I first created an outdoor room on the front porch here.  Tour the redesigned space and let me know which version of the porch you like more. But don’t  be seduced by those gorgeous blue hydrangeas on the old porch….They’ll be making another appearance at a porch near you, soon!

One of the biggest changes I made was moving this console table previously used as a room divider to the focal point of the porch. The plate rack with its bird house and green tole garden plate was already on the wall. It makes so much more sense to put the console there. The lanterns and urn are the same as when the table was on the side of the porch. Now they really all work together. The table is also in the middle of the seating area and can be used to serve food when entertaining on the porch.

Moving this little side table allowed its fun color and form to be an accent  and not hidden between two chairs previously. I love the pop of green it brings into the décor.

Moving the plant stand to behind the seating creates more privacy on the porch, delineates the space without blocking breezes or sight lines. The beauty of the blooms can now be appreciated from both the porch and by visitors arriving at the front door.

With the furniture shuffle, I carved out a spot to repurpose this Victorian plant stand into a cute outdoor beverage stand.   The plant stand was just gathering dust in the back of the old porch. Now it is unobtrusive yet useful .  The black metal wrought iron fits right in with the rest of the décor.  I think Bunny would like it!

This ottoman used to sit in the middle of the rug as a makeshift coffee table.  Now it is nestled between 2 chairs, serving a side table for both, and as a spot to display a big bouquet of flowers, bringing color to the setting.

Pull up a chair and let me serve you an iced tea.  Porch living is back!

17 thoughts on “Front Porch Decorating

  1. Bunny Williams is doing a little jig right now knowing how her words inspires you to action! Girl………you KNOCKED THIS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, indeed!!! I wish I had a front porch!

  2. How absolutely adorable Johanne! I can just picture myself on that porch, I’m sure my gin and tonic would taste much better given the ambience. Just lovely! 🙂

  3. Hi Johanne, I so agree that the porch is just the best place for talking and hanging out. We Southerners have long known this. At our house we have a front and back porch and we use both almost everyday all year round. If we want to visit then we sit out front and as our neighbors stroll past we catch up and have a casual “visit”…it happens every time. This is when we want to catch up on the news of the neighborhood…sometimes called “gossip”! When we need a quite private place to read a book and be alone then the back porch is our haven. We can visit each other and catch up on family and work with a nice glass of wine, a book and each other.
    I have always wanted a screened in porch and think that this will be our late 2017 home project.
    Love your story and images so much. Happy summer to you. Happy Mother’s Day as well.

    • Southerners are the masters of porch living and it was always a dream of mine to have one. We sit too far from the road and on a tiny cul-de-sac so we don’t usually get anyone just walking by and stopping in. But wish we could! It sounds so wonderful! The curtains were a trial and error. The space is quirky so my solution was to buy really sturdy adjustable curtain rods and put them in the position where I wanted to outline the “porch living” space, as we have 2 entrances I had to keep cleared from the furnished areas. I tried several rods that would just slide down with the weight of the curtains. I used sunbrella fabric and they are doubled so that they look “finished” on both sides, which makes them heavy. These super sturdy poles (Amazon) did the trick. Now I just keep the poles up and unclip the curtains come winter. Hope you can get your curtain project done this easily Teresa. Happy porch relaxing! Happy Mother’s Day to you as well. I always enjoy hearing from you.

      Johanne Lamarche


  4. Pingback: Creating Shade in Outdoor Spaces | French Gardener Dishes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.