The CSI girls have issued a wonderful challenge for this week: porches, terraces, and decks, and I'm excited to participate.
One of my favorite parts of our house is the covered front porch. This is the view of our house as you approach the front door:
Or if you're standing at the front door:
The porch is tucked into a nook of space. It's backed by the dining room windows, with a French door into the back hall on one side and a window into the foyer on the other side. It's such a cozy, protected space that I knew I wanted to create an outdoor living room here.
The first step for us was buying the major pieces of furniture. After a lot of research and shopping around, we chose to buy all-weather synthetic wicker made by Lane. We've been very pleased with our purchase: after five years, it's still going strong. I'd like to replace the cushions, but that's only because I'd like a change of color; they're still in excellent shape. Buying the loveseat and two chairs pretty much used all our budget, though, so I've had to get creative with the other furnishings.
I got lucky and found both an outdoor rug and two outdoor lamps at Target; all three were very inexpensive. I love having the lamps here. I keep compact fluorescent bulbs in the lamps and leave them on all the time. A little weathervane ornament hangs as a tassel from one lamp; the other lamp wears a silk tassel that I picked up for a couple of dollars. It looks very welcoming to come home at night and to see the lamps burning brightly.
I use an antique desk as a side table. I keep it coated with Howard's Feed and Wax. Since it's tucked into a corner, it does well out here. I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive accessories and change out the tabletop from time to time. Right now I'm using a couple of tea lights from Dollar Tree, an old blue and white planter from my stash, a finial from TJMaxx, and a "Welcome" sign that I found on clearance at Target. Since this area is outside, it's subject to being hit by stray basketballs and the neighbor's cat's tail--so I never decorate with anything precious.
The other side table was a Goodwill find that I painted and distressed; it cost only $5 and a little time. The armillary atop it was a clearance find at Target. Its original finish tarnished and spotted; I guess that's why it was on clearance. Nothing a little Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint couldn't fix.
The ottoman was a trash-to-treasure creation. I made it from an Omaha Steaks cooler and an old foam mattress pad. The only cost was for the feet which I bought at Home Depot. You can read about that project here.
With the addition of a $1 Goodwill tray, the ottoman doubles as a coffee table.
The throw pillows are fun to change with the seasons. Right now I'm using some patterned pillows that I made and a Pottery Barn look-alike that I created from drop cloth. Last year I made autumn leaf pillows for fall; I'll get those back out in a few weeks.
The corners of the porch I've filled with items collected over the years. The huge urn in one corner we bought many years ago at a nursery in Birmingham, Alabama. It's moved with us four times. The obelisks in the other corner were Tuesday Morning finds many years ago. The iron scrollwork pieces were all TJMaxx finds. Plants are inexpensive and fill in the blank spots nicely.
This outdoor living room gets a lot of use. My husband drinks his morning coffee here. He and I sit here and talk; it's especially nice when the house is full of kids and we want a little peace and quiet. The boys sit here with their friends, as well. It's nice to have an outdoor space that's just as comfortable as an indoor space.
Since the porch is completely covered, we use it in all seasons. It's lots of fun to decorate for the seasons, especially Christmas:
For now, it's still too hot to be pulling out autumn decorations--so won't you join me for a glass of iced tea? I'd love to sit and talk with you!
**You can find lots of outdoor inspiration at The CSI Project!**