The 2017 This Old House Idea House in South Kingstown, R.I., features a dreamy wrap-around front porch anchored by three entry points into the home. Interior designer Denise Enright was asked to make this space stylish, inviting, and just as cozy as the rooms waiting inside.
An inviting porch is like a friendly handshake – it’s the first impression of the home. An open, columned front porch can make a statement on its own, but furnishings, plants, and lighting create a space welcoming to all.
Create an extension of home
If home is where the heart is, your front porch shouldn’t be any different. Its design should provide guests with a glimpse of the style inside and complement the home’s architecture.
In this case, Denise focused on the home’s Chippendale railing around the upper balcony, gray shingles, and blue front door and windows for front porch décor inspiration. Using this color palette and design style, she was able to select furniture and accents that warm guests up to the interior coastal décor.
Have a seat, won’t you?
Nothing is more inviting than a cozy seat with a beautiful view. Due to this porch’s spacious design, Denise turned her focus to three key areas – one near each entrance to the house.
Her main focal point, the blue front door, is anchored with acacia wood rocking chairs and a table, pieces she notes are appropriate for the sophisticated exterior, but still fun. She finishes the space with a blue area rug and black Chippendale plant boxes.
Denise emphasized the importance of picking furniture appropriately sized for your porch space and how you most intend to use it.
“Make sure you’re picking pieces that provide you with what you want to do – like to sit with a cup of coffee, you’ll need a little table. So depending on the size and depth of your porch, pick furniture that isn’t too crowded or too skimpy,” she said.
Denise’s idea of “less is more” continues on the left side of the porch, where she chose to feature a porch swing. Like the rocking chairs, she anchored the swing with the same blue area rug.
“When you have a nice, deep porch, I think there is nothing prettier, especially with this kind of architecture, than a really beautiful porch swing. If you’ve got the space, it’s one of the most fun things to do.”
Finally, on the right side of the porch, Denise selected a black Chippendale bench and rug leading into the mudroom. This space, she described, was not only about style, but convenience and function as well.
Carry color and texture throughout
Carrying shades of blue from focal point to focal point, Denise said, played a huge role in setting an inviting tone for the porch. In addition to the rugs, she used multiple throw pillows to complement the front door and window frames.
“It all came back to the blues being right, from medium blue to navy,” she said, noting the playful bird pillows and subtle rug textures. “It just came together. The look didn’t have to get super busy with lots of patterns. It’s just a good example that less is more when you choose the right amount of pattern and color.”
Add some (plant) life
Nothing warms a space quite like plant life, so Denise added a touch of greenery to each area of the porch. Her favorite, a whitewashed trellis with climbing vines, sits within view of the porch swing. The spaciousness of the porch allowed her to select such a large planter without making the space feel cluttered.
“Just the right amount in the right places makes it look like you can really use it. It’s very welcoming,” Denise said.