12 Ways to Create a Relaxing Porch | Midwest Living

12 Ways to Create a Relaxing Porch

Use our easy decorating tips to pretty up your porch with all the cozy comforts of an indoor room. Then sit back, relax and savor summer—alfresco style.

Set a serene vibe

An out-of-doors living room ensures all-day lingering. Incorporate comfy seating positioned for chatting with neighbors or curling up with a book.

If sheltered, traditional wicker gives the porch a quintessential summer look. For a more durable option, try all-weather wicker made of resin or teak pieces. A washable cotton striped rug delineates the seating area.

Take your meals outside

Transform a summer meal into a memorable affair by taking it outside. At this table, a mix of flea-market chairs gives the party a laid-back country feel. Slipcovers made of outdoor fabric dress up hosts' chairs. Paper parasols in pastels create an inexpensive casual "chandelier."

Make easy summer-inspired decor

For simple centerpieces, arrange potted succulents or herbs under glass cloches. A floral all-weather tablecloth echoes the outdoors.

Try a dish display

Keep extra dishes in open storage for quick access during meals--and a colorful summer display.

Brighten with flowers

Highlight each place setting with a summer bloom, such as these dahlias, floating in a dessert bowl.

Have sweet spots

Carve out serving areas from other parts of a porch. Delight guests with a dessert and beverage table topped with treats. Frosted cupcakes look even sweeter with mini paper flags that spell out seasonal messages. Elevate a lemonade dispenser on a cake stand to make pouring easy. Shade it all from the sun with a paper parasol.

Fashion outdoor accents

Shade seating with removable fabric panels, constructed of outdoor fabric. To make: Back patterned fabric with a second fabric layer for stability; add grommets at the top, and hang from cup hooks. To prevent blowing, clip weights to panel bottoms.

Accentuate the look with low-cost details. Large paper lanterns create the effect of pendant lights. Pillow shams double as pretty covers for plain chair cushions.

Use smart serveware

Repurposing flea-market finds gives your porch a clever and personal twist. Here, a collection of Mason jars gathers summer blooms. Set on a vintage-look tray, they're portable and ready to add a colorful accent to any porch corner.

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.

Relax in a quiet corner

A hammock piled with pillows serves as a relaxing, shaded afternoon nap spot.

Go for cozy

Hinge together flea-market shutters to create a tall backdrop, such as this room divider, to make a lone bench feel sheltered and cozy.

Reflect the view

Hang a mirror to artfully reflect outdoor views.

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