8 Porch Decorating Mistakes You May Be Making—And How to Fix Them
1. You’re matching things a little too perfectly.
To create a space that feels thoughtful and unique, resist the urge to go with an entire set of outdoor furniture and call it a day. Instead, get creative with mixing and matching materials and textures. Here, the ceramic garden stool and gold mirror bring polished elements to the natural wood and wicker furniture. Coordinating throw pillows bring it all together.
Bonus tip: Jazz up your porch even more by customizing a plain white or neutral piece. Designer Amanda Lindroth painted green stripes (Benjamin Moore’s Southfield Green) on the matchstick blinds for added color and interest.
2. You have dead space.
Every porch needs some breathing room, but having spots that are completely empty looks off (and is a sad waste of precious outdoor space!). Instead, make sure you're using your square footage to the max: Try breaking up a space that's narrow or large into two sections and designating one for dining and another for lounging, for example.
3. Your lighting isn't quite right.
Just like the indoors, multiple light sources in an alfresco space are crucial for setting the mood. Create a cozy warm glow over nighttime dinner parties with a combo of string lights, lanterns, and votives. Sconces are great for illuminating a conversation corner in an outdoor living room, and lamps can make a space feel especially indoors-worthy.
4. You’re treating your outdoor space like an afterthought.
Throwing a few chairs and a table outside might seem like an easy way to go, but it doesn't make for a very inviting place to hang out. Approach the décor for your porch just as you would an interior room: Accessorize with colorful pieces (including flowers!), or add comfort-boosting rugs and pillows. Simply hanging curtains instantly makes your space feel more sophisticated and adds a welcome element of privacy.
5. You’re forgetting the greenery.
Sure, your porch may already be outside, but go the extra mile and give the natural landscape a boost by adding a variety of potted plants. Sculptural varieties like palms and philodendrons lend an especially tropical vibe, or you can keep things simple with greens like succulents or ferns.
6. You’re playing it safe.
The great outdoors is the perfect place to go a little wild with color and pattern. Thanks to the abundance of natural light, bolder hues that might feel overpowering indoors work wonderfully under the sun. Try mixing graphic patterns, using bright hues, or introducing bold accessories to create a space that is undeniably happy.
7. You’re ignoring flow.
To truly get the whole indoor-outdoor living thing right, the boundary between the two needs to feel nonexistent (when the doors are open, of course). To do that, carry a design element from the indoors outside, whether it’s a common material, palette, or type (or shade) of flooring. In cases where the doors completely fold away, position the furniture toward the house to create a continuous entertaining space from the indoors out.
8. You're not caring for your furniture properly.
It sounds like a no brainer, but much like your indoor furniture, your outdoor accessories need to be cleaned regularly, too—perhaps even more so since they’re exposed to the harsh conditions of the outside. The nice part is you can pretty much tackle everything in one shot with dish soap, a bucket of water, and a sponge, including most outdoor upholstery and rugs.