Design Hints

Screen Test

Screened porches are peaceful retreats that strike a balance between indoor and outdoor living spaces. Unlike an open deck or patio, a porch offers protection from sun exposure, rain showers and flying insects. Depending on where you live, porches can be enjoyed year-round or for multiple seasons. To maximize comfort and optimize charm, planning is needed to outfit your porch. Julie Tweedie and her family relax on their Blaine, Maine, porch from early spring to late fall, and she enjoys making it a cozy, inviting space in any season. Here are some of her decorating tips:
Screen Test

• Wall Wonders. Although exterior clapboards, bricks or stucco define a porch, treat porch walls the same as you do interior walls. Hang artwork, mirrors, shelves and cupboards. Feel free to showcase collections such as pottery, glassware or pewter.
• Artful Illumination. Don’t power your porch lighting with an unsightly network of extension cords. Instead, hire an electrician to install ceiling fans with lights and weatherproof electrical outlets. The ceiling fans will help cool the space and provide ambient lighting. Table lamps or string lights plugged into the outlets will enhance the space with task or accent lighting.
• Play Space. Designate the area a technology-free zone. Accessorize with family-friendly board games, puzzles, books and magazines that can be enjoyed by all ages.
• Blue Skies Overhead. New Englanders traditionally paint their porch ceilings a shade of sky blue to deter birds and insects from nesting overhead. Consider painting your porch ceiling a serene color to brighten the space.
• Style Underfoot. We tend to abandon our shoes and socks when we relax on a porch. Seek out area rugs that are durable, weather resistant and soft to the touch. Home decor stores sell a variety of suitable woven and braided rugs in an array of colors and patterns.
• Perch Perfection. Select comfortable swings, rocking chairs, love seats and daybeds for seating. Feel free to mix durable furniture materials such plastic, wicker, metal or wood. Use color-coordinated paint, pillows and blankets to unify the pieces. Add footstools, ottomans and coffee tables that accommodate resting feet and legs.

Written by Cheryl Hackett
Photographed and Styled by Gridley + Graves