Fresh Ideas for Porches and Decks

From tropical lanais to open-air living rooms, these balmy outdoor spaces all say “coastal” with a capital SEA. Looking to upgrade your personal retreat? Check out these stylish ideas.

screened porch with bambo lounge chairs arranged in a square with green and white patterned upholstered outdoor cushions

Jean Allsopp

Plenty of Room

Comfy cushions and plenty of available light ensure this porch will be used day or night.

Idea Spotlight 
If your definition of porch fun is more happy hour than dinner party, furnish the space with several small tables. They multiply your surface area for drinks and snacks.

open air porch with dark green colonial columns and oversize wooden lounge chairs set around a coffee table with a tree stump base

Jean Allsopp

Natural Inspiration

Let your home’s environment dictate your decor. Inspired by banana leaves and vibrant ginger flowers, lush greens and hot pinks bring home tropical style.

Idea Spotlight 
When selecting your palette, look to the abundant colors in your surroundings and let the outdoor space become an extension of its setting.

teak porch with low benches and white cushions keep this deck simple with amazing views of the ocean

Colleen Duffley

Pretty as a Picture

Don’t lose sight of the real goal: maximizing the view. Keep furniture low and stick with clean lines and simple materials.

Idea Spotlight
Quality, low-maintenance materials don’t have to break the bank. Îpe decking offers the weather-resistant properties of teak at a lower price.

hanging bed inside of a beach house's room with shuttered windows and doors

Colleen Duffley

Stay Cool

Invite the breeze but not the neighbors. When closed, louvered shutters on windows and doors offer privacy but allow ocean air to filter through.

Idea Spotlight
Create a “fantasy island” feel with an exposed wood ceiling reminiscent of a tiki hut (try cypress). To continue the Caribbean vibe, choose Dominican shellstone for the flooring.

natural stone fireplace with large oversized deck chairs in an outdoor deck space

Roger Davies

Weatherproof Room

Create an outdoor space that you can use year-round. A large fireplace and an outdoor rug fight the chill in cooler months. Roll-down, clear isinglass panels keep warm air in and drafts out while still allowing you to enjoy the view.

Idea Spotlight
Dress up your fireplace facade by using stones in a variety of sizes and shapes. Lay some flat and others on their sides.

a dark wood daybed is arranged underneath a white, wooden, sloped, open-air back porch with various dark lounge chairs positioned throughout

Lisa Romerein

Absolute Indulgence

Create the ultimate outdoor living area with a canopied daybed. It not only breaks up the traditional seating arrangement, but also is perfect for naps.

Idea Spotlight
Arrange furniture to create multiple conversation areas. Ladder-back, rush-seat chairs and benches are a budget-friendly way to add more seating.

oversized brown wicker chairs with white cushions arranged around an outdoor fireplace with a sink area and grill to the right

Lisa Romerein

Cook Under the Stars

Bring the party outside with a fully functional outdoor kitchen. A grill, refrigerator, and sink are all you need.

Idea Spotlight
To limit trips indoors, install a dishwasher and keep cabinets stocked with dishware and utensils. For countertops, we recommend concrete or solid-surface materials, such as Corian.

outdoor porch with a dark wooden floor that has a built-in cabinet with a fireplace and television that face black/white couches and chairs

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

A Modern Approach

A fireplace, draperies, accessories, and an entertainment system make this porch just as popular as any room in the house.

Idea Spotlight
Create a built-in nook to keep firewood dry and covered.

a side sunroom porch with a pale blue ceiling and white walls surround white wicker chairs with navy striped over-stuffed cushions

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Historic Hue

For generations, Southerners have painted their porch ceilings a soft blue shade called “haint blue” because it makes ceilings appear higher and is rumored to deter wasps.

Idea Spotlight
Place an outdoor shower just outside your porch so you can rinse off salt and sand before entering the home. It’s also an easy way to quickly wash surfboards, wet suits, and pets after a day at the shore.

This whimsical side porch has a blue painted floor with holiday lights strung around the windows and paper fish lanterns hanging off of the walls. Bistro chairs and different couches are lined around the walls.

Nancy Easter White

Styled Over Time

Some of the best rooms aren’t carefully planned; they evolve. Capture this ultra-casual look with mismatched furnishings and painted floors. Set natural wood chairs next to painted pieces. Include tables with worn finishes to boost the charm.

Idea Spotlight
Layer your lighting with lanterns, sconces, and strings of lights. To cut down cord clutter, have an electrician install outlets in helpful places, such as near the ceiling for strings of lights.

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