15 Idea-Filled Patios & Porches
Life on the coast means spending more time outside than in. Create the perfect hangout with ideas from these gorgeous spaces.
• Skip the railing altogether (if building codes permit) so you can soak up maximum scenery.
• Consider white. Here, a pale palette makes the bright blue sea all the more brilliant.
• Install pocket doors to transform an interior room into an open-air retreat. First, though, check on site conditions such as wind direction, sea spray, and bugs.
Place furniture where you can best revel in the setting―it doesn’t have to be next to the house. Broad umbrellas allow you to relax by the sea without melting in the heat.
Plan perimeter walls and landscaping so they don't interfere with the scenery.
Include a mix of sofas and chairs with comfortable cushions and throw pillows. Top a coffee table with beach finds.
Exterior furnishings aren’t just functional. If you soften your outside space, you’ll gravitate there. It becomes a quiet spot to take a nap, read, or work a jigsaw puzzle.
• Make it easy. This dining room opens in a flash―a garage-style glass door rolls up to transform your intimate gathering into a seaside block party.
• Furnish the space with a crowd in mind. Here, two large dining tables accommodate plenty of food, drink, and friends. Guests can mingle easily and choose more or less shade.
• Dress up elegant gatherings with outdoor-fabric curtains and a rustic candle chandelier. Sisal and kilim rugs and a flea-market-find bamboo daybed complete this cabana.
• Think durable, not delicate. Consider cushion covers made of terry cloth―they’re both soft and washable.
• Build a pergola over a patio or terrace to create an outdoor room. Bamboo or native-wood poles provide enough shade for an all-day retreat.
Party tip: Make sure you have enough small tables and consoles for setting up food and drink stations.
Add striped awnings that tie in with a hue on your porch ceiling or floor.
Use louvered shutters to promote circulation and provide privacy. Shutters also serve as a decorative touch, imparting a Caribbean feel.
• Sit on your porch to inspire a sense of community. Just try walking past this gathering without stopping to say hi.
• Use natural materials on floors for easy upkeep. Smart choices include travertine and granite.
Take a break from life’s fast pace to reconnect with your family and the outdoors. Comfortable chairs and an ocean view can’t help but slow you down.
• Locate porches on the north side of a house for a cool respite in hot climates.