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.
The seascape steals the show in this indoor/outdoor space. When the transition is seamless, you can enjoy storm watching and stargazing from a box-seat perch.
• 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.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard that looks like this, let it shine.
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.
Keep colors and furnishings low-key so your gaze is drawn to the vista beyond your patio.
Plan perimeter walls and landscaping so they don't interfere with the scenery.
At the coast, transform your patio into a living room. That’s where the family is, anyway.
Include a mix of sofas and chairs with comfortable cushions and throw pillows. Top a coffee table with beach finds.
If you’re furnishing a small space such as a courtyard, a simple water feature and a favorite chair may be all you need.
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.
Maximize square footage by turning two small spaces into one big room.
• 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.
If you create intimate nooks for friends to relax, your fresh-air space will become the ultimate summer hot spot.
• 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.
Stock a buffet for parties. Keep glasses, napkins, plastic cups, melamine plates, and bottle openers on hand to make hosting effortless.
Party tip: Make sure you have enough small tables and consoles for setting up food and drink stations.
Brightly colored porches make cheerful retreats even on overcast afternoons. Paint your porch ceiling a summery hue to add punch.
Paint furniture along with the space. Painting is pretty and practical―it protects wood pieces from moisture.
Add striped awnings that tie in with a hue on your porch ceiling or floor.
All-wood design schemes ground outdoor living areas in the setting. Exotic hardwoods such as teak and mahogany naturally resist pests and stand up to harsh coastal climates.
Use louvered shutters to promote circulation and provide privacy. Shutters also serve as a decorative touch, imparting a Caribbean feel.
• Keep your eye on the view. Steel-cable or clear-glass railing systems take a minimalist approach while still complying with safety codes.
• 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.
Sunset’s calling. Arrange furniture so you’re always ready for a radiant show.
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.
• Limit sun exposure. Decks are great for catching rays, but an awning, an arbor, or a nearby tree will shade windows and doors, lowering indoor temps.
• Locate porches on the north side of a house for a cool respite in hot climates.