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How to utilise your front porch


If we lived in Italy, our front porch would be the centre of our social life.  People in Mediterranean countries live at the front of the home with their neighbours all around.  They do not hide away in the back garden in splendid isolation.  Your front porch could offer some of this delight and with only a minimum amount of effort.  You could maximise this area of your home and stop it being the dropping off point for your junk mail and dirty shoes.

If you take a backless garden bench and mix it with some of these interior porch ideas, you could create yourself the most marvellous space to enjoy your neighbourhood.  Here we offer a guide to some of the ways of making the most of your porch.

Let there be light

The trick is to allow a lot of light to pour into the porch. Yet you also need the option of privacy when you desire it.  If you already have a porch, you could exchange wood panels and small windows with much bigger stain glass window panels.  Not only will light flood into the area, but it will be a beautiful mixture of colours and patterns.  The glow of the sun will make this area of your home a feature to delight visitors when they arrive.  This is such a better welcome than your shoes and coats cluttered by the door.

If you are going to build a porch, then you should consider how the light is going to pour in.  A porch on the front of the house is an excellent insulator, as you have another door blocking out the wind and weather.  However, if you want this to be an area you choose to use, you will need to balance the woodwork and brickwork with the windows you select.

Choose your colours wisely

If you want to create a distinct separation between your porch and your hall, you could choose to keep the paintwork bright white and clean.  If your porch is a blank slate, you will create a welcome sense of light and freshness to the entrance of your home.  You could use a doormat on the tiled floor– covering the entire dimensions of the porch area.  You then have low maintenance, high impact porch to welcome guests.  The doormat will also be a practical measure against mud splatter.

However, if you don’t want to go with white, you can go to the other extreme and choose a statement colour.  You could choose something bright and vibrant that would raise your spirits as you enter your home.  If you selected a green, for instance, you could add some cottage-like charm to your home.  Putting up tongue and groove panelling could also add to this feeling, and it would hide any imperfections in the walls.

Keep it a part of your outdoor space

If you do choose to create a porch from scratch, why not make it a portal between your house and your garden.  If you genuinely want a space where you could sit and enjoy a warm evening, then keep it open to the outside with low walls and no windows. And for the ultimate outdoor, covered space – take the doors off too.  You could make this the perfect place to remove muddy wellies by including a backless bench.  You could surround yourself with beautiful pots and hanging baskets to encourage the butterflies and the birds.

You do not have to limit yourself to the standard rectangle closet space, you might associate with the porch.  You could expand your imagination by creating an expanded shelter jutting out from the front of your home.  Something as simple as a canopy roof jutting out could provide a simple solution to your porch area.  You could easily decorate this with some flowerpots and boxes to soften this space.

The front door

When you are considering your porch, you need to make sure your choices are in keeping with the property.  You do not want to have a porch that clashes with the style of the rest of your home.  Equally, when you add a porch, you then need to consider what the internal front door of your home should do.  This could be the perfect opportunity to experiment with some attractive styles that could add some distinct style to your indoor hallway too.

Making the most of the small

The porch is often an afterthought.  However, with some simple pots, benches, storage units – and more – you can make an area that is both practical and beautiful.  Try to think about how you could make it more than just the place to store your shoes.

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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