Many homes are now incorporating the European (or is it…Southern??) front porch idea into their architectural design and I LOVE it! I live in the Uptown Core area of Oakville in a neighbourhood called Oak Park and we have LOTS of front porches. This neighbourhood was designed with a front porch for all and laneways in the back accessing garages. Front porches encourage getting to know your neighbours (and learning the names of kids and dogs!). They provide opportunities for endless convos with passers-by. And yes, I have been invited up for glasses of wine on more than one occasion.

As the weather turns warmer, it’s time to put some thought into your front porch. Consider it an extra living space, and decorate accordingly. You want it warm, inviting and an enjoyable place to spend time. You want to position your furniture to encourage conversation and have a comfortable piece to lounge on with a good book. You want easy to reach tables for that glass of wine and plate of hors d’oeuvres (or tray of margaritas!). Whether your front porch is big or small, everyone can incorporate these design tips. (Think – Furniture, Flooring, Lighting, Decor!)

1. FURNITURE. Matching or Coordinating furniture that is sized to fit the space makes all the difference. Is a window close to the porch? Consider coordinating with your inside colour palette. And if you are dealing with limited space on your porch, bistro sets have come a long way in terms of design and comfort. Don’t forget the side tables. Perhaps in rattan or metal.

2. TEXTURE & AMBIENCE. Consider gauzy curtains or bamboo privacy screens. Mix it up with great printed cushions & throws. When done right, eclectic can work. If you have the wall space, adding mirrors and outdoor wall art truly completes any outdoor space. And if your space permits, a ceiling fan can be both useful and beautiful.

3. LIGHTING. String lights, chandeliers, lanterns, pot lights, light fixtures, LED lights, tea lights or electric candles all set the mood. And for some great DIY lighting ideas, check out this HGTV video:

4. FLOORING. Nothing anchors a space quite like a great outdoor carpet. Today’s choices are astounding and they come in a variety of sizes, colours and patterns. This is a great place to start your front porch design. Not a fan of outdoor carpets? Consider outdoor rubber floor tiles or mosaic tiles.

5. PLANTERS. Add colour and happiness with great planters and potted plants. Lacking in the green thumb department? Buy them pre-planted from any nursery or big box store. They are worth the investment every season!!

Krisztina Neglia
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