In some parts of the country the climate limits how much of the year you can enjoy a screened in porch. That is, unless you decorate the porch with year-round enjoyment in mind.
Jennifer Bridgman of The Chronicles of Home did just that. Her screened in porch is a lovely outdoor living room that’s good for all seasons. OK, maybe three seasons… this is Massachusetts we’re talking about here.
Jennifer offers these decorating ideas as part of our ongoing Patio Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We sent her a patio furniture set, and Jennifer came up with all the porch decorating ideas.
You certainly don’t need to live in New England to get some inspiration here that could make your screened in porch or covered patio into something special, even if it’s just the warm-weather months.
A Gorgeous 3-Season Screened in Porch
When my husband and I first looked at our current house a little over a year ago, the screened in porch was one of the biggest selling points for me. I loved the wood-planked ceiling, the decorative columns, and the promise of outdoor living without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. We absolutely loved using this outdoor living room last summer, which was our first summer living in the house, and I spent every moment I could on the porch. In fact, there were only two downsides– the vintage rattan sofa and chairs we brought with us from our old house weren’t super comfortable and didn’t fit the new space that well, and the warm season when we can use the porch is all too short in the Boston area, where we live.
When I was invited to take part in the Patio Style Challenge this year, I set about addressing both of these downsides and am absolutely thrilled with the results. I want to spend every second out here now!
A Porch for Entertaining and Relaxing
Before I started working on the new porch design, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted the space to function.
The two main ways we use the porch are as an entertaining space when we have friends over and as an outdoor living room where we drink coffee in the mornings, eat meals, and spend casual time together. So my main focus was creating a space that was comfortable for lounging and had room for setting out food and drinks.
The starting point for the porch was the Tobago Outdoor Collection. I used the 5-Piece Modular Sectional Set with two additional Armless Sectional Chairs and a Corner Sectional Chair to make a sectional sofa that fit the space perfectly. I also used two Tobago Patio Lounge Chairs for additional seating. I put down an outdoor rug to anchor the furniture pieces and define the seating area.
This seating set is so comfortable – the perfect depth and firm but soft cushions.
Besides the modular nature of the Tobago set, which means you can customize the layout to fit any space, another great feature is that there are fifteen different fabric options for the cushion covers. I chose a Sunbrella fabric called Spectrum Sand that is a great neutral shade.
I knew I wanted to add some colorful pillows and decided on navy blue and raspberry pink as my main accent colors. I painted a color block pillow in navy, pink, and red to tie together the square navy blue appliqué and the pink patterned pillows.
I also added some smaller pink and navy lumbar pillows to the edges of the sofa in geometric and animal prints.
Galvanized Pipe Curtain Rods
Besides the rug, I wanted to use outdoor curtains to further define the seating area. I also love the soft, luxe look they bring to an outdoor room. I bought plain white outdoor curtains and jazzed them up with some black twill tape to make graduated stripes at the top and bottom of the panels.
I used galvanized pipe and fittings, which I spray painted black, to make a large curtain rod that stretched around the entire seating area. I hung the curtains at each end and in the corner of the seating area. It looks beautiful!
The Dining Area
I bought a small woven wicker dining set last summer and kept that in the back corner of the porch. This is where we often eat meals as a family in the warm weather. I made the lighted boxwood pendants last year from some artificial boxwood orbs, string lights, and rope.
I think breakfast might be my favorite meal to eat out here– the birds are chirping, the morning light is streaming in, and everyone is feeling fresh and ready to start the day.
The Bar Cart
I gave an old TV cart a makeover last summer and turned it into a glossy navy blue bar cart. I tucked the bar cart right inside the porch, next to the door into the house, so it’s easy for guests to access when they walk from the house onto the porch. I use this as a mini-bar when we’re entertaining.
The Electric Fireplace
Did you notice anything else in that photo of the bar cart in the room above? There’s still one issue I mentioned that I haven’t talked about yet– the short screened porch season in this climate.
Screened porches are really popular around here and a lot of people have started adding either gas or electric fireplaces to them to extend the time that you can use them. The crowning addition to this makeover was the addition of a built-in electric fireplace!
I built a frame, mounted the electric fireplace, and finished with project panels and trim to give the fireplace a built-in, traditional look with a mantel.
In a space like a screened porch, a fireplace doesn’t actually heat the whole room, but it adds enough extra warmth that the area right around it is more comfortable. This is such a fantastic feature where we live, as it will let us use the porch earlier in the spring and later into the fall.
I loved this room before, but am positively obsessed with it now, so being able to use it for a longer season is a huge perk.
I also love the ambiance of a fireplace and having the furniture centered around it makes the porch feel even more like an authentic living room.
Thank you to The Home Depot for including me in this year’s Patio Style Challenge and thank YOU for touring my updated screened porch with me today!
I’ll have a full source list of the room on my blog plus more details on all the DIYs I mentioned very soon. You can bet I will be spending A LOT of time out here this spring, summer, and fall!
Jennifer has posted more photos of her screened in porch along with a list of the sources for some of the items you see.
Jennifer Bridgman says she’s a DIYer, decorator, home chef, wife, and mama. She shares DIY tutorials and writes about entertaining, cooking and updating her home on The Chronicles of Home. Her design talents are also on display here on The Home Depot Blog with her gorgeous blue-themed Christmas decor.
Need a pro to help you upgrade your screened-in patio? The Home Depot’s professional installers can help you build, install, or repair. For more screened in porch decorating ideas, see other Patio Style Challenge articles as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. And browse our Outdoor Living Department for everything you need to enhance your outdoor space, including all our patio furniture.