Tuesday, June 16

Relaxing on the porch

Kimba at A Soft Place to Land is hosting a Garden Party today. Of course any party at Kimba's is going to be good, so I'm excited to join the fun.

First I should tell you that for years I had a nice little screened porch, but I suffered badly from Porch Envy. All I had managed to do was to find these cool candle lanterns at Target, which I hung from plant hangers,

and put an outdoor lamp from Home Depot on a little antique table. Otherwise, though, about all I did was grumble that my porch wasn't big enough to have what I wanted--an eating table and a seating area.

Even when I got a new table for my kitchen and decided to put my old table and chairs on the porch, I still didn't have what I really wanted. I just had a square porch with a table in the middle in it.

Then this spring it occurred to me: if I turned my table on an angle, maybe I could have a sitting area! I decided to dedicate $100 to this project and see what I could come up with.

The first thing I wanted ate up a hunk of the money: a rug. I really wanted an area rug for my sitting area. Target had just the right size for $59.

Unfortunately, that left me with just $41 to do everything else. So I went to the cheapest source of goods available: my own house. I shopped the house.

This bookshelf was languishing in our bonus room holding a motley collection of board games. I moved the board games and had my big strong sons move the shelf down to the porch.

This bench was hiding out in my back yard, pretty much unused. So I hauled it up to the porch.

I'd had this wicker chair for years; it's comfortable and seemed to be begging to be on the porch.

Now for the fluff:

I painted a cute little chair from my boys' old play table. I love it holding this birdhouse.

I grew the hydrangeas with my very own hands. (If you don't already have some hydrangea bushes in your yard, I urge you to get at least one. They're so easy to grow, and they make the most beautiful arrangements.)

I shopped the house for most of the stuff that I used to dress the shelves. I walked around looking for things that just seemed to say "porch" to me. For instance, the lamp on top of the bookshelf I stole from a little table in my guest room. The topiaries were in my dining room years ago. The black tray is one I made with postcards and Mod Podge.

I did buy a few things: the blue and white pillows on the bench I found at TJMaxx for $16. The red and white plates I found on clearance at Pier One; the four cost $6. The scrolly candle holder hanging on the wall above the bookshelf was on clearance at Target for $9. The remaining $10 I spent on plants.

And ta-da! The porch I'd been wanting!

Now a couple of questions for you. I think I want to paint the bookshelf and the bench. But what color? I'm wondering about black for the bench, since the chairs around my table are black. And I'm thinking maybe green for the bookshelf, but green is my favorite color, so I'm always thinking green. Have any suggestions for me?

Be sure to check out Kimba's Garden Party for more outdoor projects. Thank you for hosting us, Kimba!


  1. What a fabulous porch!!!
    IMO I would paint the shelves and the back RED and then a cream or black
    I know it is 2 extremes in color but I think either would work!

    LOVE your blog!!!

  2. I think that you should either paint it black or keep it the way it is....just my opinion. :) Your porch looks great! I'm trying to figure out how to pimp out my balcony for free, or close to it! I live in an apartment, but decided that just because I don't have a house, doesn't mean I should have a nice place to sit outside and eat or read! :)

  3. it looks fabulous!

    I'm not sure what color I'd paint the bookcase - maybe a creamy tan?

    You did a great job with your $100. :)


  4. The porch looks too cute, like a secret little tree house. I would vote that you paint the bench, with a dark red, one that is almost a brown...and leave the bookshelf like it is. With a painted bench, the natural wood will stand out like a color :)

  5. Richella, what a great job! I would LOVE to have a screened porch, not in the budget right now. Yours is plenty big to enjoy. You packed a lot of things out there.

    Yes! i would unify everything with paint. You could mix it up and paint the bookshelf one color & keep the other things black or even throw in a piece of white, like the side table creamy white and the bench black & the bookshelf lime green. Might not work with your pillows, but if you keep the colors consistent you could add accents of any color.

  6. Your porch is perfect! I grew up with a screened in porch. I've got some great memories because of it!

  7. Your porch is amazing! Perfect for snuggling up with a book or for entertaining - love it! Great job!

  8. Love your porch - it's fabulous! I especially like that cute little red chair. I'm new to your blog and enjoying it!


  9. How beautiful! You have given so much inspiration to me! I love how your chose a certain amount and went forward with it! Great job!!
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

  10. Your porch looks fabulous! How nice to have such a great outdoor room!

  11. I think I like the bookshelf just as it is...All of it together looks great!

  12. Beautiful! You did a great job. I can't believe you only spent $100. You made it look like a million.

  13. Wow--that looks amazing. Great job filling it with things you already had. And the red chair is so cute.

    Love it!

  14. oh, how i would love a little porch just like yours! i have been wanting to et my lanai ship-shape for a while... but now i think i am waiting for the summer cealrance sales!

  15. Beautiful job on your porch. I love the rug from Target. Love the little red chair w/the birdhouse. Cute.

    I would probably paint the bench black and maybe paint the shelf red or green. I also like it the way it is.

  16. you did a great job on this porch! How about painting the bookshelf black and the back of it in a cream and green harlequin pattern? Then, if you wanted to, you could remove a couple of the shelves and space them out more so that you could see the pattern. Just another idea...

  17. Your porch is gorgeous! I love that looks more like a room inside your house, than just an ol' porch. I love the idea of painting your stuff black with a little pop of green. Whatever you do will be fabulous!


  18. Your porch came out so pretty! When I saw the bench I said to myself I'd paint that - probably black then you can do some cushions with green in them if that's the color scheme you're going with.

    Yes, all the plates in my border came from the thrift store over that past several months.

    I did a post called Blooms on a Budget last week which describes how to propagate a few things - coleus included.


  19. How I envy your charming screened in porch. So nice!

  20. I love your porch! Looks much better than just having the table & chairs. I like you color choices for the bench & the bookcase.

  21. I think a light color for the shelves would be nice to go with the light, airy look of your porch.

    I love the rug and those laterns along with all the other accessories you used.

  22. Oh look, now you're making me covet...your porch that is! ;) It's simply beautiful and so welcoming!

    Green w/envy in KS! ;)

  23. Oh look, now you're making me covet...your porch that is! ;) It's simply beautiful and so welcoming!

    Green w/envy in KS! ;)

  24. It's beautiful! I would love to have a screened porch. Now I have porch envy. :)

    I definitely like green for the bookshelf...or maybe yellow. I love green and yellow for porches.


  25. I love what you have done! Great job! I actually like the bench and shelf as they are but if you really want to paint them, I think green would be really nice (like lime green) or maybe even a nice raspberry red or even black.

  26. Beautiful! I'm jealous that you have a closed in porch! And when you said you wanted to paint I instantly thought green before I read that you were thinking that for the bookshelf!


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