by Erin Vaughan


Porches with Personality

by Erin Vaughan

Is there anything more classic than a front porch? Plunking yourself down on a summer evening after the heat of the day has dissipated, sipping on the beverage of your choice, taking in the cool air, watching the night roll in—it’s a time-honored tradition that’s as American as apple pie. 

But just because porch-sitting is a well-worn ritual doesn’t mean that your decor needs to be old-school. What better way to celebrate your James Hardie® siding and trim than by giving your outdoor space a fresh update—get inspired by these themed porches. With kicky new takes on vintage design schemes, they’re a great way to shake off decor ennui. Here’s a look at some of the best ones we’ve seen.

Photo courtesy of Modernize.

Seaside Chic

Feeling a little landlocked? No matter—luminous white wicker chairs and quaint blue surfaces bring the allure of the shore to you. The brightness of this white furniture is the key to the look, so keeping furniture clean is of utmost importance. You can ward off the mildew by giving furniture a gentle scrubbing with a mild detergent, taking care to bring furniture indoors during the winter months.

Photo courtesy of Southern Living.

Southern Belle

Porches are practically an artform in the South. From the Parisian-inspired, double-decker balconies of the French Quarter in New Orleans to the wide, low-slung wrap-arounds of Macon, Georgia, Southerners have found ways to style exteriors that are at once casual and classy. In particular, a painted ceiling in a crisp, elegant blue is a pivotal part of the Southern porch experience. Once thought to ward off evil spirits, “haint blue” ceilings now add a note of historical authenticity to your decor—and they may even keep away harmful insects too!

 Photo courtesy of Modernize.

Cabin chic

“Rustic” is admittedly a bit of a cliche these days, but there are ways to do it that don’t tread into cheese territory. This specimen, for instance, uses modern decor and weathered finishings, combined with some kitschy cushions, to keep things light while still giving a nod to traditional cabin decor.

Photo courtesy of HomedIt.

Boho Beauty

Forget the sweet tea—how about a hit of absinthe served in a vintage Pontarlier glass? If your style runs a little more Ken Kesey than Harper Lee, you’ll love the idea of using your front porch as a beatnik outpost. Hanging seats, hammocks, globe lanterns, and stenciled flooring in bright, eclectic patterns are all ideas to capture the laid-back beauty of bohemian decor, making it the perfect spot for a casual get-together or impromptu poetry reading.

Photo courtesy of Modernize.

Upscale Urban

A small porch does not need to mean a meager design statement. This pint-sized balcony makes a big impact using bold, bright colors. Unexpected hues paired with natural textures are very on-trend, and offer relief from a stark color palette—much like this tiny enclave provides a sanctuary from the urban jungle.

Photo courtesy of Aiken House and Gardens.

A Real-life Dollhouse

Gardeners, take note! Festooned with heavy-headed blossoms, the stunning porch of Aiken House and Gardens on Prince Edward Island, is an homage to all things Victorian. To keep the look from feeling dated, owner Carolyn Aiken has added some punches of bright color and unconventional planters that help draw the outdoors in. Frilly, flouncy flora are the key to achieving this look on your own porch, so make sure to any planters you put out get plenty of TLC. Be warned, however—these looks are so darling, they may draw some serious envy from your neighbors!

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.