5 Designer Tips for Creating the Perfect Porch

Overhead view of a bohemian porch with an outdoor rug, plants, and furniture

Alita / Stocksy

Your front porch is a living room, retreat, and the first thing that greets your guests, so it's important to take time to make it look its best. We've asked an interior designer for her key tips when decorating a front porch, so you can create the most comfortable and stylish porch that fits your home.

Meet the Expert

  • Katie Zimmerman is a co-founder and interior designer at Zimmerman Interiors, which is based in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Consider Your Space

First, take into account the size of your porch. If you have a small one, you will need to pare down how you set up the key spot. However, always be sure to plan ahead since there are only certain items that can fit on any sized porch. If you're looking to add a seating area to your porch, consider what will ideally fit and make your porch look cohesive with your other decor.

Add Rugs

Regardless of your porch’s size, placing a rug as a foundation of your design provides visual interest. It also adds a welcoming touch, one that lets your guests know they are free to pull up a chair and sit for a while. If you have a larger porch, you can add several rugs to designate specific zones, such as a setting area or garden. 

But if you're not looking to add a rug, consider adding a doormat instead. Katie Zimmerman, a designer at Zimmerman Interiors, explains that it's an essential element that isn't necessarily flashy. "They not only add visual interest, but they also help keep your porch clean," she says. It helps keep the dirt and any shoe residues outside.

Decorate the Door

Placing a seasonal wreath or even just one that reflects your personality is an instant must-have. Be sure to keep in mind the color of your home’s exterior and the size when adding anything to a front porch. You want a wreath that is substantial enough to add flair but not so huge that it overwhelms your door or porch—a beautiful wreath will work in any place on the porch where it will be seen.

Pick Your Favorite Plants

A few pots of beautiful flowers or lush greenery breathe life into any room, and the porch is no different. Choose whatever makes you smile, though color can be a consideration. You will want any blooms to blend well with a color theme—that is where color theory comes in handy. 

“One popular color scheme is the complementary color scheme, which involves pairing colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel,” Zimmerman says. “For example, if your house is a warm shade of yellow, you may want to consider pairing it with a cool shade of purple or blue in your porch's flowers or wreaths.” 

You could always go with similar shades that would normally appear next to one another on the color wheel such as green and yellow. Or if you really want your porch to pop, use a monochromatic color scheme.

Zimmerman recommends using different shades and tints of the same color. “For example, if your house is a neutral shade of gray, consider using pink or purple flowers or wreaths to add a pop of color to your porch.” No matter what color combination you come up with, the overall scheme should definitely be reflective of the people living inside.

Another option is to choose colors that are analogous, or next to each other on the color wheel. For example, if your house is a shade of green, you may want to consider pairing it with flowers or wreaths that feature green or yellow shades.

Make Seating

If space allows for it, adding a couple of chairs or a loveseat and a table can be a definite factor in drawing guests in. Choose something weatherproof but in a style that suits you.

Buying furniture with replaceable cushions gives you the ability to wash off anything that might get on them. You also have the ability to replace cushions when seasons or styles change. If you have a large porch, consider creating a couple of seating options, especially if you have kids.

Don't Forget Lighting

Zimmerman emphasizes not forgetting lighting when it comes to decorating any porch space, since it can often be overlooked. "Adding outdoor lighting to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere," she says.

The possibilities will be endless if your home’s existing wiring is set up to handle a fixture. If your porch doesn't have any wiring, add lanterns or string lights to create the perfect ambiance for warm evenings or family gatherings.

Setting your porch up doesn’t have to cost a fortune—it is all about creating a space that makes you and your guests feel comfortable and welcomed.