8 Steps to a Presentable Porch
Does your home wallow under the onus of a small and chronically drab porch? Here are eight steps to create a warm and inviting entry.
- Blow it up. Even today, porches are built criminally small, with hardly enough room to hold a couple of teenage trick-or-treaters. If possible, simply start by building it larger. You may not be able to add a grand space that spans the front of your house, but maybe you can add a few welcome feet.
- Brighten up. Lighter colors are warm and inviting, and make a space feel larger. No black door, no black decking--go light where you can.
- Cover up. If the risers are open, so that you can see under the porch from the front of the steps, cover them and paint them a light color (but not the same color as the steps - they need to contrast with the steps for safety).
- Rail up. If your porch is less than two feet above the ground, your building code probably does not require a rail. Add one, anyway. Besides the safety factor, porches with rails look classier than just a flat slab. Plus it can come in handy in the next step.
- Brighten up, revisited. Let there be flowers! Nothing warms a porch more than flowers. Hanging baskets don't eat up precious porch space--just be sure they are not in head-clunking position. Pots or urns might work, if the porch is large enough to handle them. Even better, hang planter boxes over the side of the railing, or build a combination planter/railing. Check with your nursery to select plants that thrive in the climate on that side of the house--shady, sunny, windy, etc. Remember esthetically, baskets or pots are better in odd numbers, rather than even--use one, three or five.
- Grow up. Border the porch on one or two sides with a trellis and grow one of the many vines that abound with flowers--clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria and more. Or you might plant one or two narrow-growing, columnar evergreens beside your porch. A trellis or tree can be especially welcome if you want to shade your porch from hot, afternoon sun.
- Spiff up. Little things, like a nice doorknocker or fancy doorbell button--maybe wind chimes if you like the sound--can provide a nice finishing touch.
- Cover up, revisited. If possible, extend a roof over your porch. It can help keep it, and your house, clean. And it can keep your guest dry as you dash to answer the door.
Just as street appeal creates an image of your house, your porch is the portal to the inner sanctum. It would be nice if your guests feel welcomed when they ascend the stairs.
Jim Mallery, a semi-retired journalist and onetime registered contractor, has extensive experience remodeling, repairing, and rebuilding homes.