We all want more space at home this year. Outdoor living spaces were popular before COVID-19, but they are a must now as what we need from our homes is changing! Having a quick escape to the great outdoors can provide a rejuvenating, much-needed change of scenery for kids and adults.
We have a legitimate need to connect with nature. Feeling the breeze on our skin, seeing the blue sky and sunshine, and hearing the birds chirping boosts our mood, chipping away at depressing thoughts. Covered outdoor living spaces help reduce our stress. Having more room for the family to spread out can help reduce relationship tension. And it gives us a bit of variety, which is crucial for our sanity when we are all home most of the time.
What is a porch?
A porch is a covered area near an entryway of your home. Sometimes a porch has a separate roof from the rest of the home although it may be included under the main roofline. Many times, a porch extends out away from the house structure, although sometimes it is flush with other parts of the home.
Why you need a porch...or two!
Porches are the perfect place for entertaining guests, even when you want to honor social-distancing. Or put out some candles or hang decorative lighting and enjoy a romantic dinner for two under the stars with dining al fresco. Create a reading nook on the porch for yourself or your children as a quiet escape. Or design an entire outdoor living room with a TV, fireplace, and luxurious, comfy furniture.
Those who like contemporary architecture may love the concept of an indoor-outdoor living space where huge glass walls along a deck, back porch, or patio fold away and allow the inside and outside world to merge and blur together.
A welcoming front porch
A front porch is a wonderful place for hospitality and friendship with space for seating and maybe even a table or two. It’s the ideal spot for a morning cup of coffee with the sunrise. Or an ice-cold drink with buddies on a sunny summer afternoon.
Adding a porch provides a convenient place to talk with friends while keeping proper social distance. It’s a way to be available to those who are walking past and one of the best ways to get to know the neighbors. A front porch also serves as a wonderful shelter during a spring rainstorm.
Even a small front porch can provide a cozy spot for one person. But how much better to have plentiful room for the whole family or for neighbors or friends. This year, many people are having birthday parties on porches or driveby birthday parties where loved ones can sit on the front porch and enjoy curbside visitors.
The front porch is our greatest tangible connection with the wide, outside world at home.
Big-picture front porch ideas
As you design your custom home, you can choose your architectural style for your house and what type of front porch would best suit your family’s needs.
- Front porch with pergola
- Craftsman front porch
- Front porch with a large gazebo
- Screened-in front porch
- Enclosed front porch
- Wrap-around porch
- Side porch
Whatever type of porch you choose, you can make it welcoming with hanging flower baskets, planters, colorful outdoor furniture, and a pitcher of sweet iced tea.
Front porch designs
A porch can form a small square, a large rectangle, or even a rounded shape. Popular materials for porch floors include wood, composite decking, concrete, or stone (like slate). Choose something durable that can stand up to heat, sun, wind, and rain. And consider something non-slip that provides enough traction for safety.
Front porch columns
Columns have a base at the bottom that supports the weight of the column on the porch floor. The main part of the column is called the shaft. It can be plain or fluted. At the top of the shaft, against the ceiling/roof, is the capital. They can be decorative and ornate or plain and simple.
Columns come in a variety of shapes and sizes like square, round, rectangular, or cross shapes and greatly boost curb appeal. They can have gingerbread designs, twists, or milled work and can get quite elaborate. Some people love painted accents, column brackets, gingerbread trim, running trim, or spandrels.
Types of columns you can choose from include:
Craftsman columns—Craftsman porch columns are sometimes straight double columns or tapered columns that start out thick at the bottom and get thinner toward the top. Sometimes wooden tapered columns sit on a brick pedestal.
Romanesque columns— Made of brick as part of the wall, these columns connect to arches. Or they can be rounded columns made of wood, stone, or composite or finished with stucco that stand between archways in the roofline.
Stone columns—Real or faux stone columns may be entirely covered in stone or may have stone at the bottom and wood, vinyl, or composite at the top.
Victorian columns—These are often made of wood and given ornamental details on a lathe.
- Corinthian—usually have flutes, are rounded, and have capitals with leaves.
- Tuscan—Simple round shafts with a circular base.
- Ionic—can have 24 flutes or no flutes, rounded, and usually have an elaborate capital that looks like a rolled-up scroll on each of the four corners.
- Doric—like the columns at the Parthenon are fluted, thick, and round.
Columns can be made from stone, non-structural vinyl, aluminum, wood planks, wood beams, wood logs, cast stone, structural vinyl, composite, or wrought iron. Column wraps are available as well, in vinyl, polyurethane, aluminum, and faux stone.
Front porch railing ideas
Railings come in even more options than columns. You can find them made from wood, metal, composites, or even glass.
Types of railings and balusters
- Craftsman-style porch railing
- Turned porch spindles (turned and crafted on a lathe)
- Custom porch railings
- Custom vinyl lattice panels
- Sawn porch balusters
- Stainless steel cable railings
- Glass panels below a handrail
- Wrought iron
Porch railing accessories add amazing options like foldable railing tables, flower boxes, or railing bird feeders. You can even add lights, ornaments, or a railing privacy screen.
A relaxing back porch
A back porch may be simply a wide covered deck or a covered patio. Or it could be an extravagant affair that feels almost like a luxurious interior room that simply has screens for walls—or even no walls, at all. Many back porches today are like living rooms with outdoor TVs mounted above a stone or brick fireplace.
The back porch serves many purposes. This year, it is more necessary than ever as people need private outdoor living space and places to gather while still social distancing. People who may not be ready yet for friends or extended family to visit indoors might feel more comfortable having a get-together outside. Friends can play social distancing games together and even share meals together in ways that help everyone feel safe but not isolated.
Back porches are also a place to relax and find tranquility while enjoying a refreshing breeze. With the right furnishings, it may become the favorite family entertainment spot—the perfect place for game night, a morning cup of coffee, movie night, and glorious dinner memories.
If you have enough space, it can be a practical place for young children to “camp” outside while still close to supervision and away from insects in the yard. A back porch is also a fantastic place for kids to do their reading assignments while getting out of the house for an hour or two. And dogs would love a chance to snuggle up with their people while enjoying the sights and smells of the neighborhood.
Screened-in back porch ideas
Screened-in porches are must-haves in the booming home building market because what people need from their homes has changed dramatically in 2020.
People want more outdoor living spaces than ever before. They want a place with all the comfort of indoors—outside. A back porch with a ceiling fan or two, a beautiful outdoor rug or carpet, and cheerful furnishings makes for a place everyone in the family can enjoy.
Cat owners are including special screened-in porches for their indoor cats to be able to go to enjoy the great outdoors without getting hurt or sick.
Outdoor dining rooms
Create a space for a long weather-proof dining table and chairs outside to host extended family and friends. Or have family dinners outside and enjoy the sounds of the birds and crickets while you have a peaceful meal in a fun, new location.
Outdoor living spaces
With an outdoor couch, a few chairs, and side tables, you can have an extra living room outside. Add a beautiful outdoor rug, some flowers, a few tiki candles, and you have a much-needed new hangout space for the kids and their friends or for family time.
Outdoor kitchens are incredibly popular as people are adding more than just a grill to the back yard. Homeowners want kitchen sinks, food prep counters, cabinets, outdoor refrigerator drawers, and even pizza ovens outside for entertaining friends and family.
Sleeping porches are making a comeback, too, as people add large screened-in porches off of their master bedrooms with swinging beds. They offer a romantic getaway on cool evenings and some of the best sleep you’ll ever find as you listen to the frogs and owls, drifting to sleep feeling the breeze on your face. Even in the rain, a gentle pitter-patter on the roof is incredibly soothing.
Creative back porch ideas
You can choose any shape or size for your custom back porch. Just figure out how much space you need and what types of activities you want to have on your back porch and the sky’s the limit!
Don’t forget to include functional, beautiful furniture for your outdoor living space.
Consider ideas like:
- Outdoor fabrics or indoor/outdoor fabrics
- A porch swing or two
- A relaxing hammock
- A hammock chair swing or two
- Wooden rocking chairs
- Adirondack chairs
- A glider bench
- Wicker furniture with cushions and colorful pillows
- Wooden furniture with or without cushions
- Metal furniture with cushions
- Metal framed furniture with mesh fabric
In South Carolina, the main consideration is people want something that is easy to clean during the pine pollen season in the spring.
Lighting and Curtains
Spruce up your back porch with decorative lighting, recessed lighting, chandeliers, or lanterns. Don’t forget privacy curtains or mosquito netting curtains if you don’t have a screened-in porch.
Ready to design your own custom porch near Lexington, SC?
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We are a custom builder in areas like:
Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Columbia, Blythewood, West Columbia, Forest Acres, Pine Ridge, the Lake Murray area, and more.
Front Porch Ideas and More - Pictures of different types of columns
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