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.

Reflect the view

Hang a mirror to artfully reflect outdoor views.

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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