One of the reasons we bought this house five years ago was because it has a covered front porch. I could practically live on a covered porch. So when it was time to decorate my covered front porch, I decided to make an outdoor living room.
The truth is, though, that at first I didn't do anything at all. Buying the house and furnishing the interior had used up all our house money. The second year we lived here, though, we were able to buy all-weather wicker furniture for the front porch. After that purchase was made, the fun of decorating began.
I pulled a cute little antique desk from one of my indoor rooms. I keep it way at the back of the covered porch so that it's not subject to very much weathering. I love having a place for a lamp on the porch. These lamps I found four years ago at Target. Both lamps on the front porch are made for outdoor use. They're really heavy, have all-weather-fabric shades, and light bulbs enclosed in globes. I keep compact fluorescent bulbs in them and leave them burning all the time. One of my favorite things about having a front porch is that it says "Welcome Home" to me. Having those lamps burning adds to that effect.
The porch decor is rounded out by an outdoor rug purchased at Target and an ottoman I made from an Omaha Steaks cooler. You can read this post if you'd like to know more about that project.
Of course, live plants can be a wonderful part of any outdoor decor. If you're wondering what will grow on a covered porch, try coleus. These green pots by my front door are completely shaded--not even shade-loving flowers like impatiens would bloom here. But coleus goes wild, as you can see from this photo:
I'm trying Boston ferns for the first time this year. I elevated a couple on wonderful, chippy old chairs that I got at a neighbor's garage sale for $5. They're not thriving in the shade the same way the coleus is, but at least they're still alive.
Now to the back of the house, where we have a screened porch. Our screened porch is small, and it languished in an un-decorated state until last year, when I finally decided that I could squeeze in both an eating table and a sitting area. Now it's one of my favorite spots in the house.
One of my favorite things about decorating outdoor spaces is that you can use really inexpensive items. Something about the casual feel of being outdoors and the natural light combine to make even the most humble accessories look great. For instance, I love the pitcher of daisies that adorns my porch eating table. The daisies were from Dollar Tree, and the pitcher was from Goodwill.
The throw pillows on the bench and chairs are all homemade. The green fabric was left over from another project, and I found the floral fabric at my local discount fabric store. I simply stitched up squares that would fit around old throw pillows.
And, hmmm . . . I don't have any kind of coffee table out here, but I do have another styrofoam cooler in the garage. Wonder if the screened porch could use an ottoman? What do you think?
Now come on over and sit a spell, won't you?