Your Porch as a Gathering Space

by Karen Kloostra

It’s finally porch time, and we couldn’t be more excited to embrace our outdoor and screened-in spaces! Not sure how to make the most of your porch? Give the following tips a try:

Throw Up Some Shade

Do you need to add shade or privacy? Lightweight curtains or matchstick blinds can provide just enough screening without completely blocking a view or a refreshing breeze. Go the natural route and create a living wall with ivy or a quick-growing vine on a trellis or lattice. Or, if you’re feeling like a creative DIY project, add glazing or paint to old windows or chain shutters together horizontally and hang like a screen.

Utilize Vertical Space

If space is tight, use a couple of pallets as either a divider or wall hanging. Incorporate greenery in a few of these openings, and think about mounting a folding shelf so it that can be used as a bar or serving area. If you have more space, bar carts come in a variety of sizes and styles and are a perfect indoor/outdoor accessory.

Add a Splash of Green

Plants are perfect for porches, blending the outside with the inside, adding life and softening any hard edges (especially if upholstered pieces can’t be incorporated). Remember that railing boxes won’t take up precious floor space.


Don’t forget to layer when you’re designing your space. First, select your bigger items, such as chairs, sofas and small dining sets. These will set the tone or style for the space. Then layer in pillows and rugs for softness and color. Twinkle lights, Japanese paper lanterns or candles provide a soft, intimate glow without taking up valuable floor space and can help define your vertical space. Lighting will add ambiance or romance and can really help set the mood. Don’t forget a coordinating throw for those nights when the temperature dips.

Get Settled

Porches are associated with relaxing and embracing a view, so remember to position your furniture accordingly. If your space is small, choose two outward facing chairs, a small side table for drinks
and a plant.

Larger spaces might allow for a small dining area (think bistro table and a couple of chairs) as well as a soft-seating area for entertaining. Ottomans or poofs not only provide a place to put your feet up but also can serve as extra seating when needed.

If your space is deep enough, think about a pair of classic rockers, a porch swing,  a hanging basket chair. or even a hammock.


Whether you intend for your porch to be a cozy and relaxing space for you to unwind after a long day or a bonus entertainment space during the milder months, the key is to make it yours. Love vibrant color? Porches are the perfect seasonal space to incorporate these little punches and do something a different from your full-time living areas.

Once you’re done, you’ll want to share the love! After all, porches are for relaxing and enjoying. Plan a progressive porch party as a way to get to know your neighbors or schedule next week’s happy hour on your porch instead of going out.

Tie It Together

Outdoor rugs make your space feel more inviting while grounding a room and are a great way to incorporate color and pattern.

Karen is a fourth-generation member of Huizen Furniture and leads the design direction of its Stonesthrow store. She assists with unique design needs and provides leadership for the design team of the company’s two stores.



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