By thinking of the spaces outside your house the same way you think about the ones inside, you can transform your property with versatile outdoor living areas that draw family members and friends. The porch shown above demonstrates the idea of furnishing a porch, deck, or patio like a living room. This designer went as far as adding electrical outlets for lamps and recharging his laptop. Streamlined furniture, such as an armless, weatherproof sofa, petite metal chairs, and painted wood tables-all found at yard sales or on eBay-expand the space even further. For more on this space, see Rooms With a View.
When it comes to outdoor entertaining spaces, striking the right balance between casual and sophisticated can be a challenge. This open-air dining room makes it look easy, blending British Colonial-style furnishings (including a caned daybed bought for only $20 at a flea market) with laid-back, island-inspired touches like rattan lamps and flowing curtains. See How to Create an Out of Africa-Style Porch for our product picks to help you get this look.
Outdoor living room
Garden walls really help a patio or deck feel like a room, whether they're made out of greenery, stone, or, more unexpectedly, the old church windows used here. Hung from rails set atop corner posts, they enclose a 16-by-16-foot deck, giving it the elegant air of a glass-lined conservatory. Find out what you need to get this look in Create an Outdoor Living Room.
With its prime location overlooking the yard, a porch offers the perfect place for serious relaxation. To emphasize this idea in his own Shelter Island, New York, home, interior designer Tom Fallon transformed the space into a full-fledged room. He anchored the furniture-vintage wicker and rattan united by a coat of hunter-green paint-with a natural rug, and hung mirrors and a watercolor from the shingles. Cushions in navy, white, and citrus yellow add color, while trim with a pale celery hue draws attention to the 1875 Carpenter Gothic's louvered shutters and distinctive arched windows. Want to recreate this look at your house? See how to do it in Create a Rustic, Wicker-Filled Porch.
Because it straddles the line between the house and the great outdoors, a front porch often requires furnishings that favor functionality over elegance. But that doesn't mean the space can't look great. Consider the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, porch shown here: Vintage metal cafe chairs pop in bright orange, while an all-weather bench looks polished in a glossy black finish. A faded Oriental rug, which serves as an indoor runner during the winter, anchors the seating; a galvanized trunk, which stores extra blankets and seasonal decorations, acts as a coffee table. Our editors handpicked a few products to help you get the look at your house in Create a Stylish Porch.
Passing the afternoon on a comfortable front porch is one of life's little pleasures. At this Victorian-era farmhouse, the open-air room faces the street, visually inviting neighbors up for a chat. But it wasn't always so welcoming: Previous owners had enclosed it. So when interior designer Irwin Weiner bought the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, home, he set about restoring it with details that fit its turn-of-the-century period. He painted the original beadboard ceiling sky blue and used flea market finds and new materials to finish and furnish it, with results that feel pleasantly aged. Rattan chairs from the 1920s rub elbows with a '70s-era metal coffee table that's grounded by a faded rag rug. How to achieve a mix that meshes rather than clashes? See Create a Farmhouse Porch to find out.
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