A small but social spot: Trends in front-porch decorating | TribLIVE.com
More Lifestyles

A small but social spot: Trends in front-porch decorating

Associated Press
HomeGoods via AP
Les Jardins solar outdoor lights reinterprets the classic lantern design with a slim, teak-framed portable light that has a solar module producing LED light for up to 200 hours per charge. There’s a motion sensor and dimming capability as well. Solar lights are a great way to illuminate a porch when electrical plugs aren’t possible or practical.
HomeGoods via AP
A variety of outdoor lanterns by HomeGoods.

Back in the days before TV and air conditioning lured people indoors, Americans often hung out on front porches, enjoying the fresh air and socializing with neighbors.

In later decades, when they wanted to relax outside, people tended to do it in the backyard, away from noise and traffic.

But according to the National Association of Home Builders, the front porch is coming back. On renovation projects, the association says, adding or enclosing a porch is among the most common requests. In a 2016 survey, the group found that front porches were included in about 65 percent of new home builds, up from about 40 percent 20 years earlier.

Make it comfortable

So what are some decor options for this small but social spot?

“Comfortable seating is an important part of any front porch,” says Jenny Reimold of the Nashville-based design firm Whim & Willow and a style expert for the retailer HomeGoods. She suggests a traditional outdoor bench or classic Adirondack chairs in a fun color such as teal.

Place a rug to anchor the seating area and provide comfort underfoot, she says. “The rug should be roughly 2 feet wider than your seating arrangement.”

A rug is also a good way to bring more pattern and color to the porch, when you may not have much room for decorative elements.

Pick your style

Retailers are offering lots of options.

For example, if your style is contemporary, Target’s neutral-hued Project 62 abstract outdoor rugs, lumbar pillows, club chairs and string lights would blend nicely. The new line, which includes indoor decor, was inspired by Target’s year of inception, 1962.

Also at Target, the rustic farmhouse vibe, currently popular indoors, can be brought to the porch. Galvanized steel pots can hold real or faux greenery. Smith & Hawken’s Montpelier collection provides deep, comfy Sunbrella cushions in chunky, whitewashed, eucalyptus-wood frames. Or for narrower porches, Opalhouse’s outdoor wicker chairs may be worth a look.

Want a swinging seat, but don’t have a beam to hang it from? Consider Casaza’s freestanding swing chair, with a sturdy powder-coated frame holding an all-weather rattan seat with a plush cushion. Also here, a selection of ceramic or cement stools with unusual painted or textured finishes.

If you have no electrical outlet handy, you can still illuminate your front-porch seating area with battery-powered or solar lighting. IKEA’s new Solvinden solar collection includes string lights as well as table and floor lights, with beachy stripe or polka-dot patterns.

“Outdoor lanterns are essential elements for any outdoor space because they’re not only functional but versatile,” Reimhold says. “Lanterns also transition well from summer to fall, making them a great purchase for year-round decorating.”

You’ll find whitewashed wood ones at HomeGoods, and Wayfair has a broad range of metal, ceramic or wood options. Use battery-operated pillar candles that can be tapped on and off with a remote control, for safety and convenience. Terrain’s Wildfire pillar offers a realistic flickering flame, and can be handily recharged with a USB cord.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.