A porch swing is a terrific spot to read with a friend.

How to Decorate a Long and Skinny Porch

by Mary Cockrill

Enjoy the outdoors with your kids from the comfort of your porch. Even a long and skinny porch has tons of design potential for creating a spot to relax and daydream, play games or read a book. Decorate your awkward-shaped porch to minimize its narrow, elongated shape while maximizing the available floor space to accommodate your activity needs and personal preferences.

1. Walls, Floors and Ceilings

Because light-colored paints tend to make a small space feel more open and spacious, they're ideal for a long and skinny porch. Apply white paint to the porch ceiling for a look that adds visual height. Cover a wood or concrete floor in a high-gloss porch paint for a heavy duty surface that resists scuffs and scratches from kids and pets. The glossy finish also reflects light to deliver the illusion of a more open space. For an enclosed porch, choose a light wall color such as creamy ivory, barely beige, misty gray or a soft pastel to enhance your home's color scheme while delivering a light and airy feel.

2. Furniture

Determine the activities your porch needs to accommodate before acquiring furniture, and choose pieces that fit the space. Avoid bulky, oversize outdoor furniture that is out of proportion with the narrow layout and makes the area feel cramped. Choose weather-resistant wicker sofas and chairs with plump, colorful cushions that practically beg you to come and sit. Hang a classic wood swing at the end of your porch to break up the space with a cozy seat for you and your kids to snuggle. Space-saving nesting tables remain neatly stacked until you need to pull them out as a convenient spot to set snacks or drinks. Furnish the porch with a small outdoor dining set to offer an informal dining spot that also can serve as a craft or game table for your kids.

3. Lighting and Climate Control

If you have the available wiring, install a ceiling fan at each end of your long, skinny porch to keep air circulating on a warm day. Your family will enjoy the fans' gentle breeze without the fans taking up floor space. Select ceiling fans with attached light fixtures to illuminate the porch when you need extra light. Hang curtains or roll-up shades in a weatherproof fabric around the perimeter of the porch to deliver welcome relief from the sun's rays. Affix solar film to windows in an enclosed porch to protect interior furnishings against harmful ultraviolet rays, and lessen the glare and heat from incoming natural light. Situate a few compact space heaters along the length of the porch to warm you and your kids on chilly days.

4. Accessories

Place a couple of soft area rugs over hard-surface flooring to warm up cold floors with cozy texture. Pick out rugs to fit the narrow room, leaving 1 or 2 feet of bare floor showing beyond each area rug. When you furnish the porch with two or more area rugs, you also help break up the lengthy space with cozy spots for your kids to hang out with their friends. Hang colorful flower baskets from the ceiling, and fill the shelves of a slim baker's rack with pots of greenery to incorporate outdoor energy. Increase the comfort level of porch seating with soft toss pillows and cozy furniture throws. Scatter a few decorative items such as lanterns, pottery and candleholders around to add visual interest.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

Photo Credits

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