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It doesn’t get much more inviting than the old-fashioned farmhouse porch, with its expansive wrap-around layout and unpretentious style. Country-style porches generally open to the yard, and many are so low that you can safely step off the side to the ground. Colonial porches keep to the architecture’s overall principles of symmetry, formality, and elegant restraint. Fortunately, all the fuss on a Queen Anne porch is put to good use, as the space is considered an important outdoor room for entertaining. For more on the history and architectural details of the Queen Anne-style porch, click here. Decorated as though an extension of the adjacent living room, Bungalow porches can be fairly rustic with earthtone palettes, twig or Mission-style furniture, and artisan lighting. Initially created to help cool the home’s interior and provide a comfortable respite at day’s end, these covered porches are practical, comfortable, and simple in their trim and design. Columns accomplish much of the visual design work, from massive two-story pillars to simpler paired columns stretching across the home’s facade.

Furnishings should be gracious and plentiful, including rocking chairs, settees, planters and even lighting. Forget any notion that “less is more.” The ornate wraparound porches and recessed second-story retreats adorning the asymmetrical fronts of Queen Anne homes were designed to impress. These affordable cottages with low-pitched roofs feature expansive front porches that open to the yard and garden, expanding the home’s modest living space while also encouraging a strong connection with nature and the neighborhood. The prominent oversize porch columns or pillars, for instance, are usually crafted from brick, wood, or stone (such as local river rock).
Floors are typically wood, plain concrete, or concrete overlaid with ceramic tile, bluestone, fieldstone or brick. For many, porches represent an idyll—promoting family time, neighborliness, outdoor living and street-side appeal.
Screen porches are a nice farmhouse option, and these can sometimes be fashioned using salvaged screen doors. Chandeliers sparkle on grand porches; period-appropriate lanterns and sconces enhance more modest and Early American houses.

Propitiously, advancements in woodworking machinery in the late 1800s made previously expensive ornate porch pieces suddenly affordable, meaning homeowners could now pile it on with eclectic abandon. Or opt for a semi-screened look by adding trellises and railing planters between porch posts. For instance, in the steamy South, generously sized porches with bold, classical columns were added across the entire front of the house to help people beat the heat. A coveted retreat for Southerners and the birth of one of America’s most beloved porch styles. Finally, don’t forget the nostalgic finishing touches—a porch swing and a slamming screen door.

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Porch Plans Simple

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