Porch Furniture and Accessories

Create a porch that is efficient and attractive by adding well-chosen accessories that fit your lifestyle.

CI-Sunbrella-porch-plaid_s4x3 Photo courtesy of Sunbrella

While everyone loves a porch with an inviting swing or rocking chair, how you plan to use your porch and the style you want needs to be considered when choosing furniture. "Take cues from the inside of your home," says designer Nicole Yee of NY Interiors. Make your porch feel as inviting as your spaces inside by incorporating weather-resistant fabrics and comfortable seating.

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Natural wicker furniture is a classic choice but is best suited for protected porches. Porch furniture pieces made from synthetic wicker offer a wicker style but are more durable and can be exposed to the elements. Wood swings and Adirondack chairs are favorites on many porches, but remember wood furniture requires paint, stain or a sealer.

Wrought iron is a very durable material well-suited for formal porches, but it can be difficult to move. Aluminum furniture is a more lightweight alternative. Twig furniture pieces are good choices for casual porches, and they can be dressed up with lots of comfortable outdoor pillows and throws.

There are many stores and online retailers that sell porch furniture and accessories, but often you can find just-the-right item for your porch, like a vintage birdcage or trunk that works as a coffee table, at local garage sales and flea markets. You can even repurpose a piece of furniture from inside your home and use it to create a fresh look on your porch.

"Details are important in a porch," stresses Nicole. "Remember it's OK to break the design rules when you're doing an outdoor space like a porch. Be bold." Mix patterns together (like stripes with florals) or use a mirror in an interesting frame to reflect views or surrounding shrubbery.

Tips for Accessorizing Your Porch

  • Hanging chains for porch swings are often made of stainless or galvanized steel. If you prefer the look of rope, make sure it is marine-grade braided nylon or polyester, and check it regularly for wear.
  • Define a porch seating area with outdoor area rugs, and if you have the space, face some seats toward your house.
  • Woven baskets, terra-cotta pots with fresh flowers and topiary planters can add lots of nice texture to a porch.
  • Use durable mildew-resistant outdoor linens, pillows and throws or a vibrant doormat to infuse color in an otherwise white porch.
  • Don't be afraid to mix different types of porch furniture together. For her own house in Maine, Nicole has five antique rocking chairs in different colors that are well-suited for her narrow front porch.

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