40 Ideas for Warm and Welcoming Porches | Midwest Living

40 Ideas for Warm and Welcoming Porches

Enjoy your porch more by enhancing its look and comfort with ideas from these beautiful spaces.

Get inspired

This dream porch was created during a re-do of a 1930s Lake Michigan cabin. The screen porch was enlarged to 20 x 20 feet for entertaining, and the porch's new 18-foot-tall stone fireplace includes a raised hearth that's wide enough for sitting.

If you like the look, adapt parts of it to fit your budget: the pretty green beams, a comfy sofa, even just an unusual end table.

Colorful mixes

Bright Adirondacks contrast with white heirloom wicker and carry the same color scheme as the fabric used in the upholstery and pillows for a pretty lakeside palette. "We live on the porch," says the owner of this Door County, Wisconsin, home. "The water, the breeze—it's spectacular!"

Add a hammock

A hammock piled with pillows serves as a relaxing, shaded afternoon nap spot in this Midwest home.

Comfort zone

An "entryway" of potted plants leads to furniture arranged for conversation, creating the sense of a special retreat on a large porch. Outdoor-safe fabrics mean there is no reason to skimp on cushions and pillows. 

Prime viewing

Adirondacks in a row take advantage of the view at this Lake Michigan home. Side tables between chairs make handy landing spots for nibbles and drinks.

Comfy and casual

These northern Wisconsin homeowners added a retractable canvas cover to turn part of their deck into a porch with a view. The decor throughout the renovated 1983 home is "cabin-y, casual, unpretentious," says the homeowner, with a mix of hand-me-down furniture and repurposed pieces from secondhand stores and tag sales.

Romantic look

Elements from indoor decor—floral prints, an antique bird cage, even nailhead trim—combine for a romantic look.

Conversation starter

Pulling all the furniture up to a coffee table outside does the same trick as indoor seating arrangments—facilitates conversation. The oversize basket under the coffee table provides convenient storage for throws for when there is a chilll in the air.

Antique light

An antique light casts an old-fashioned glow over this pristine arrangement.

Balancing styles

Wood and stone provide substantial weight to a rustic scene accented with modern furniture.

Go for color

Make even a small porch special by using colorful chairs and accessories. At this Empire, Michigan, vacation cottage, two bright turquoise Adirondack chairs and whimsical folk art set the tone.

Put your feet up

A coffee table invites kicking back. Preserve its patina of age to keep the feel casual.

Try a dish display

If you have a porch nook, keep extra dishes in open storage for quick access during meals--and a colorful summer display. No nook? Add an inexpensive shelving unit.

Pick a palette

A bold color on a couple of pieces of furniture adds impact and contrasts with the earthy elements on this screen porch.

Turn shutters into art

A simple way to dress up a porch: Lean a colorful reclaimed shutter against the wall and use it as an easel for vintage art.

Get in the swing

Hang a swing at one end of the porch and pile it with pillows for a cozy perch. Durable outdoor fabric resists water and fading.

Preserve views

Placement of a porch is a primary consideration. This covered spot lets everyone enjoy at the sunny scene beyond.

Place counts

No matter your perch, place it to take advantage of the view. This lone rocker gives the owner the perfect spot to admire the lush garden.   

Modern appeal

A graceful chaise and other modern furniture on this northern Wisconsin porch offers water views—and the perfect place for an afternoon nap. 

Pretty perch

Move inside furniture outside for easy seating. This dining set wears a coat of a subdued hue for added charm.

Twilight time

As dusk falls, there is no reason to go inside when you've provided subtle lighting and warmth. No built-in fireplace? Ethanol-burning fireplaces are safe for patio use and come in a variety of sizes from wall-mount to table-top. 

Serene sitting area

It doesn't take a lot to make sure your porch is a livable and enjoyable retreat. A few plants, soft cushions, a throw, a side table—it's the little touches that add up to pretty comfort. 

Color contrast

Weatherproof fabrics in light colors bright the brown log walls of the porch on this Indiana cabin.

Petite pairing

A narrow porch still accommodates seating. Just two Adirondack chairs and salvage as a table fit naturally into this green setting.

Simply soft

A pile of pillows softens any seat. Candles in lanterns warm the look.

Color underfoot

A pretty hue puts spring in your step. Two painted-on rugs add pizzazz.

Mix it up

High-back settee and wire chairs mix it up for a casual mood. Natural linens on the table keep things serene under the boldly sized pendent light. 

Hanging plants

Plant some shade-loving annuals in a hanging basket or window box for living color. Or fill vases with bouquets.

Sunny shades

Blue, red and yellow elements pop against the wood house, adding cheer to a sunny corner.

Cottage look

Weather-resistant wicker furniture is just the ticket for comfortable outdoor seating areas that expand your living space and set a cottage mood at your front door. Include indoor amenities such as comfy cushions and a coffee table for drinks and books. 

Natural neutrals

Graphic elements like the bold pendent and geometric pillows add punch in the neutral scene without detracting from the look.

Lounging space

An antique bed piled with pillows makes for the perfect resting spot.

Simple seating

A director's chair and bold red chairs gather friends and family before the table.

Celebrate cottage style

An old iron headboard hung on the wall becomes a focal point on this easygoing porch. Seashells act as works of art on a wreath and a flowerpot, while green plants paired with a bunch of hydrangeas keep this spot feeling fresh.

Get cozy

Just a couple of chairs and a side table can transform a corner of your porch into a charming sitting area. Choose neutral furniture, providing pops of color with cushions and flowers. Then let nature do the rest. A creative hanging "window" frames the view.

Heartland inspiration

This porch connects to its Midwest roots not just by opening up to the beauty of the surrounding countryside but also by mimicking the landscape in decor choices.

The back of an all-weather wicker love seat evokes corncrib slats, a metal chair gives a nod to chicken wire and the pattern of an outdoor rug recalls field rows. Simple table coverings, cushions echoing golden corn and a meadow of flowers, and a ceiling painted sky blue round out the nature-inspired setting.

Decorate with drapes

This netting adds shade and texture (and when closed, helps keep bugs at bay). Outdoor fabric would work, too.

Paint the rails

Just because it's wood doesn't mean you have to settle for basic brown. Contrasting color on beams, trim or railings sparks a look.

Bold backdrop

Painting just one wall makes for a bold setting. The sky blue floor and ceiling are a soothing contrast.

Artsy elements

A repurposed piece of architecture and a tall shelving unit provide plenty of space for pots of greenery and bright blooms.

Fantastic fans

Amp up the cool factor with a fan. But make a style statement with the one you install!

Trim above

Wood paneling and painted wood trim sweeten the look.

Graphic elements

Back-and-white pillows soften chairs at a game table. Simple curtains trimmed in black echo the look.

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