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Video:Design a Beautiful New Front Porch

with Jackie Craven

A new porch does not have to be large or dramatic to make a statement. See how to best use this space, and how to match your porch with the rest of your house, from the decking to the walls.See Transcript

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Transcript:Design a Beautiful New Front Porch

Hi, I am Jackie Craven, Guide to Architecture at About.com, here with some tips about porch design.

Porch Size

A porch does not have to be large or dramatic to make a statement. The secret is in the scale. The size of your porch should be proportional to the size of your house. On a small house like this one, a small porch is a charming and welcoming accent. A larger house may need a porch that extends across much of the first floor facade.

Porch and Roof Styles

Your new porch will harmonize with the rest of your house if the porch roof echoes the shape of the main roof.

Choosing Porch Columns

Choose columns that reflect the overall style of your house. An unfortunate remodeling left this big house with thin wrought iron porch pillars. We replaced the thin pillars with big round columns.

You can give your new porch a greater sense of mass by grouping columns in pairs. These two columns are only a few inches apart. Columns also seem larger when they are placed on square pedestals. Many porches are framed with rows of spindles or curved balusters.

Porch Wall Tips

For a more private retreat, consider framing your porch with a low wall. Build the upper ledge the same height as your first floor windowsills. That way your new porch will blend harmoniously with the main house.

Porch Decking

For your porch decking, choose a wood that resists pests and rot. This deck is Philippine mahogany coated with a clear satin urethane. The craftsmanship of your porch will shine through if you lay the decking in a picture frame pattern, with the outer edge parallel to the steps.

Porch Ceilings

On many older homes, the porch ceilings are painted pale blue to mimic the sky. But feel free to paint your ceiling the color of your house, or apply a clear urethane.

Decorating Porches

Now you are ready to decorate. The bench on this small porch is both practical and inviting. Most important of all, finish off your new porch with plenty of flowers or seasonal decorations.

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