I’m an early riser and love to spend my summer mornings on my front porch with a cup of coffee. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this space – particularly during Covid – it’s become my quiet haven. (aka secret hiding space)

If you’re planning to add a front porch to your house or just thinking about a spruce up, here are my five top tips.

(By the way, did you know that in 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders, approximately 65 % of new-construction single-family homes were designed with a front porch?)


1. Size

Most contractors suggest that a front porch should have a minimum depth of six feet. As an interior designer,  I recommend a generous depth of ten feet. This ensures that you have enough space to easily accommodate sofas, chairs, plants, lamps, and other furniture you’re planning to add to your space. Of course, the width will depend on the porch’s location, roofline, and the size of your house.


2. Railing Styles

When designing my own front porch, my contractor wanted to add only columns, whereas I wanted columns and a railing.  Looking back, a railing with a bit more architectural detail would have been a more interesting choice. Adding a railing with “personality” can be the  jewelry on the exterior of your home.   


If you love detailing, instead of just a straight rail, opt for a Chippendale Style railing. It lends a classic architectural detail.


Two other options are the Drummer Boy Panel which offers privacy as well. It comes in different patterns and styles and can be mixed and matched with straight rails to create your own unique design.


The Double Cathedral Picket Panel can also be mixed and matched with different finishes.


Thinking about your second home?  This decorative railing panel below works particularly well in the mountains or by the lake as it will blend well with your natural surroundings.


3. Switch To Solid Cellular PVC

If you’re thinking, “ugh, PVC?” I can assure you that you can find PVC that looks exactly like wood (minus the headache of constant upkeep and maintenance). Need more convincing? Cellular PVC doesn’t chip or crack. It doesn’t absorb moisture and it can be shaped or molded easily.


4. Furniture

When thinking of adding furniture to your front covered porch, I recommend woven wicker furniture as it will add texture, pattern and color to your patio. Wicker is also fairly durable and doesn’t need a lot of upkeep under a covered porch – just dust it off at the beginning of the season and cover it in the winter months.

A classic front porch swing is a feature I would also recommend adding. It creates an immediate visual of a summer afternoon, relaxing on the front porch.

Photo courtesy of theporchswingcompany.com

Another great addition is a sideboard, which is the perfect place to store board games, cups, napkins, and other small items so that they’re easily accessible!


5. Lighting

Recessed lighting (on dimmers) is always recommended – I also recommend adding a ceiling fixture if you have the height. Free-standing lamps will also make your porch feel cozier.

Photo courtesy of Southern Living

Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to accessorize your porch with a bell! It adds a little nostalgia…like when kids used to be called in for dinner! (okay, or happy hour for the adults!)


Final Thoughts

​​Front porches are fairly versatile . Adding a front porch is like adding another room to your home. No matter where you live, it’s an investment you will not regret.

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