12 Ways to Make the Most of Your Porch
Reinvent this mini area by your front door to add style, storage and a warm welcome
This tiny area that, for many of us, links our front door and hallway, doesn’t just have to be a depository for takeaway leaflets and battered wellies. It can be a valuable space for storage, an area to neatly stash shoes, or even a dreamy spot to sit and think – plus, as it’s the first thing you see when you get home (or guests see when they arrive), it makes sense to give it some love.
Here are 12 simple ways to make the most of your porch.
This period porch really sets the scene in this home. The traditional stained-glass door adds brightness and uplifting colour, along with the floor tiles. It also means more light will filter through into the hall beyond.
Don’t forget to invest in an umbrella stand for your porch as well, so it’s easy for every member of the family to grab a brolly in a downpour.
Perhaps you don’t actually have a porch but would like one? It may be possible to construct one. This traditional-style oak, glass and brick porch was built onto this Hampshire home, but it looks as if it’s always been there.
One advantage of a porch is that it adds extra insulation, as there’s another door blocking gusty draughts and cold air. This may be especially valuable if the rest of your ground floor is open-plan.
If you’re worried about your porch clashing with the style of your hall, you could do worse than simply painting it all white – doors and walls. It creates a welcoming impression of light and freshness.
To keep the space clean, consider getting an extra-large doormat made of coir or coconut matting, cut to fit your porch’s dimensions.
Don’t fancy white? Painting your porch in a rich, bold colour will lift your spirits when you turn the key at the end of the day. A heritage green can be a great choice for in-between areas, signposting the transition between indoors and out.
Tongue-and-groove panelling is another simple touch that can bring a porch to life, adding cottagey charm and character. If your porch walls are less than lovely, it can also hide a multitude of sins.
Find a local carpenter to help with the job and read reviews from previous clients.
More: 9 Times Dark Green has Transformed a Room
While most of us don’t live in a manor with a separate ‘boot room’, many of us do have a porch. So it makes sense to turn it into somewhere to store those muddy wellies, especially if you live in the country or are an outdoors type. Line up boots either side to create a clear path indoors and double up your door mats if you’re worried about muddy feet.
Rustic bare brick walls can be another nice touch in a porch – something you might not want indoors – so consider removing the plaster.
Browse boot room photos for more inspiration.
Whether your porch is open, like this one, or enclosed, don’t miss the opportunity to put in a bench. A simple seat will offer a place to don or remove footwear, as well as creating a defined area beneath to leave boots and shoes. Lighting under these rustic benches helps to both open up the area and light the way to the front door.
You could also consider a built-in bench to create storage for those myriad items that tend to accumulate near front doors, such as umbrellas, canvas shopping bags and ice scrapers.
Not keen on the idea of a cramped indoors porch, or simply don’t like the look of them? One option is to remove your outer door to get the best of both worlds. You’ll still have a sheltered area at the front of the house that adds character, but the open design will give a view of your attractive front door. By having only one door, you’ll also allow more light to flow through into your hallway.
This super-stylish modern home also incorporates a sheltered outdoors porch – complete with integrated slatted bench. Not only does it add architectural interest, it’s a place to prop bikes and leave wet boots, too.
The simple canopy is enough to prevent postmen and house guests from getting rained on as they wait for the owner to reach the door. Simple touches, such as a flower pot and shrubs that partly screen the seat, soften the contemporary lines.
If your porch is made of glass, you probably don’t want piles of trainers and shoes visible for all to see through your windows and doors. A low-level shelving unit, as here, can be a good solution.
If you have a ‘shoes off’ policy in your home, a bench is a double win, as it’s somewhere to sit and put on or remove shoes – it’s never much fun standing on one leg.
Don’t forget to keep plenty of spare wicker baskets on hand to sweep up the inevitable shoe overspill, too.
Front doors tend to veer towards the practical, traditional and sturdy. However, an additional internal porch door could be the opportunity to experiment with something more interesting that sets up the style of your home. Here, a reclaimed vintage stable door has tons of old-world character.
Many Victorian homes had ornate front porches featuring decorative encaustic floor tiles. If yours have seen better days or are no longer there at all, consider replacing or restoring them. It’s a small area, so it shouldn’t be too pricey, and it sets the tone for the rest of the house, even if you can’t stretch to traditional encaustic tiles in your hallway.
Look for classic encaustic designs that match your home’s period – there’s a huge array available, both original and reproduction.
More: 10 Times Beautiful Patterned Tiles Have Transformed a Room
An enclosed porch can be a great spot to store those classic hallway clutter culprits – coats, hats, boots, skateboards, brollies…
The porch here is a large area that can accommodate plenty of shelving, but even a small space could probably handle a few hooks, a shelf up high for hats, and perhaps a spot for wet footwear.
How have you styled your porch? Shares your ideas in the Comments.