Front porch designs are usually modeled after your home's architectural style — such as Country, Craftsman, Contemporary and Victorian. The style of a porch should fit the architectural style of your home as much as possible otherwise it will look out-of-place and diminish your curb appeal. Just as important as deciding the style of your porch, is deciding the purpose for your porch.
Ask yourself if you plan on using your porch for entertaining or for quiet time? Do you have a view you want to take advantage of or are you looking for privacy?
How you pull together architectural style, landscaping, columns, millwork and furniture will make your porch the envy of the neighborhood and a great place for gathering. Here are some common architectural styles to get you started.
Classical style homes have porches that range in size from small to large. These designs typically have a central entrance and an equal number of windows on each side of the door. For landscaping, use trimmed hedges, brick walkways and geometrical plantings in containers. Base your furniture selections around teak — a gorgeous and durable outdoor wood.
Victorian homes feature large, one-story wraparound porches. They may have multiple verandas with some on the second level that can be accessed from the master suite. You'll find elaborate decorative details like mouldings and intricate balustrades. For landscaping consider using symmetrical and colorful plantings in containers or window boxes on your steps or balustrades. Wrought iron furniture is very complementary to this style.
Colonial homes feature porches that are typically small in size with a pediment and accented with crown moulding, pilasters or columns. They feature double-hung windows or multi-pane windows in pairs on each side of the front door. Landscaping should include brick pathways, large symmetrical plantings on each side of the door and geometric beds. Choose a striking front entry door with etched glass. Classic teak furniture creates a warm, stylish look.
Farmhouse homes have large wraparound porches with high windows, shingled or metal roofs with dormers and gables and simple mouldings. For landscaping use symmetrical plantings, mixed beds and borders. No farmhouse is complete without a set of rocking chairs. Brick, flagstone and stepping stones make for an attractive walkway.
Contemporary homes are not easy to define because of their unique designs and shapes. Contemporary porches are often simple and sleek without much ornamentation. You'll find several porches incorporated into these plans to create a cohesive indoor/outdoor living space. Bold furniture looks very attractive in a contemporary setting.