Living Space: Give your porch some panache
Nothing says summer like spending a lazy afternoon on the porch, reading, letting your mind drift as you sip a cool drink or spending hours in conversation with family or friends. Whether your porch is at the front, side or rear of your house, you can create a sweet haven to socialize or turn it into your private retreat.
A porch is more than a covered transition from outdoors to the indoors; it's a spot to sit and linger. Conversations seem more comfortable, easier and more relaxed than indoors, so set up your porch to exude intimacy.
If space is available, create a conversation area out of a loveseat and a pair of chairs. For one-on-one time, add a bistro set for two in a corner of your porch. Add a potted fern or some summer blooms, and you have an inviting spot for a glass of wine.
Porches often face a pretty view. If your porch is narrow, line up chairs turned to face the view, but be sure to include side tables between them. Many times, porches and outdoor seating lack places to set down a drink or a book. For more interest, add a side table that's different from your other furnishings.
A wicker settee and chairs cries out for a table that's a departure from the natural fiber of wicker. Try a metal or glass table. The contrast will make the whole porch more interesting and appealing. Another option - ceramic garden stools. For about $100, you can have a perch for drinks or seating when extra guests show up.
The quintessential porch accessory is an old-fashioned swing, but rather than pop for a traditional model, try one with a unique style, such as Adirondack. If a porch swing isn't appealing, maybe a woven egg swing chair might be perfect.
Sophisticated, contemporary and soothing, a pair of swinging chairs mounted from the ceiling or hung from a stand make a stylish choice. If your porch is at the back or side of the house, or is extra wide, a swinging day bed might be a nice option for an afternoon nap.
When outfitting your porch, consider adding a variety of seating. Your options can range from conventional chaise lounge chairs to rockers. And don't forget about softness underfoot. Adding an outdoor or sisal rug helps soften hard floors. A porch is also a great spot for vine furniture or anything rustic-looking.
More style choices include adding shades or curtains to mute hard edges, give you a bit of privacy or soften the sun's glare. Lastly, don't forget to add some soft, colorful pillows in weather-resistant fabric.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.