9 Great Features for Your Screened-In Porch

A little over three years ago I was faced with a big decision. I had a badly deteriorating deck and I knew if I didn’t replace it then, I would surely have to replace it before I ever listed my house to sell one day. How often do we do that…wait until it’s time to move before we fix things or make improvements we’ve dreamed of for years? Then it’s the next homeowner who gets to enjoy our hard work. If you’ve been putting off a little home renovation dream, don’t wait until it’s time to move. Do it for you and enjoy it now.

My deck had lots of issues. Boards were popping up and splintering and the previous homeowners had added an addition that was a drop off from the original deck. It was really a hazard and was just an example of poor planning and design.

 

Also, the steps stuck out into the center of the yard and took up a lot of space in addition to just being unattractive. It was clear the best course of action would be to tear off the old deck and start from scratch.

 

As I began the process of getting estimates for the porch, I immersed myself in all things “porch” by reading books about porches and searching online for pictures and ideas.

Building a Screened-in Porch

 

In the end it was clear, I wanted a traditional porch with an old fashioned porch feel…the kind of porch where you could spend lazy afternoons sipping sweet iced tea with friends or alone, reading, napping and enjoying the breezes.

Now, I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on everything you need to know about adding on a screened-in porch, but since it’s springtime and porch time, I thought I’d share what I have learned and have come to value in a porch in hopes it will prove helpful for you.

As I always say, please take what you can use from this post–what suits your needs, then just discard the rest. The porch of your dreams may look very different from the one I added, but hopefully you’ll glean a few new ideas from my experience.

As with any renovation or addition, the most important place to start is by sitting down and making a list of how you want your new space to function once you’re done. How do you plan to use the space? What activities will take place there? What needs do you want this space to meet?

When I began planning the addition of my porch, my list included:

1. Lots of seating
2. Roomy enough for friends and family
2. A place to dine
3. No mosquitoes or bugs getting in
4. Soft lighting for evening time
5. Ceiling fans
6. Music

Looking at my list, you’ll see my plans for this space were pretty basic…nothing too out of the ordinary. While I was in my research phase, I saw porches with wide screen TVs and Jacuzzis. Though, those weren’t features I wanted for my porch, they may be features you would like. Dream big when you’re making your list. You can always scale back your plans later if needed.

It’s important to read and research a lot in the planning stage because you don’t want to spend money adding a screened-in porch to realize later you left out something you really wanted. As you read and research, jot down ideas and questions so you’ll have a list once you start getting estimates for your addition.

I’ve been asked before why I didn’t add on a sun room. That’s a little like asking a person why they bought a convertible car when they could have had a hardtop. I really wanted a porch, not another cooled and heated space. I do love sun rooms, but that just wasn’t what I wanted. Now that I’ve had a screened-in porch, I’m totally ruined; I never want to be without one again.  That’s what a porch will do to you!

I could write volumes about all the things I learned in the process of adding on a screened-in porch, but today I thought I’d share 9 of my most loved features for a porch.

9 Great Features to Include in a Screened Porch

 

Size:
Size is pretty important when designing a screened-in porch. My deck was 18 feet long and only 12 feet deep, which seemed deep enough. The contractor I used encouraged me to build my porch 2 feet deeper making it 14 feet deep. I’m so glad he did. He told me he had never had anyone call him back and say they wished their porch was smaller, but that folks always regretted if they had gone too small in their design.

 

Mosquito-proof Flooring:
There are a number of options for porch flooring. I avoided regular decking because there are always gaps between the boards which means you’ll need to screen under the flooring to keep all the bugs out. Yep, folks do screen under the flooring; I’ve seen it under screened porches while on house tours.

I wanted my porch to feel more like an extension of the house, like a room that just happened to be outdoors, so I went with tongue and groove KDAT wood. KDAT stands for Kiln Dried After Treatment. Just “Google” KDAT flooring and you can read all about it.

My contractor originally tried to convince me to use tile. A tiled floor was not at all in keeping with the feel I had envisioned for the porch. I wanted an old fashioned looking porch floor. He did talk me out of painting the flooring and staining it, instead. I still love the look of a painted porch floor, too. I even like it when they start to show some wear and look a little worn.

Staining the flooring created a really nice transition from the inside of my home to the porch. My contractor had my flooring professionally installed by a flooring company and they glued and nailed it down to ensure it didn’t warp in the humidity we have during the summer months. He also used a really heavy-duty subflooring underneath it for extra stability. If you use KDAT wood for a porch floor, just follow their recommendations for installation.

 

Dining Area:
One of my favorite features on my porch is a dining area. Meals just taste better out on the porch. I recommend allowing room for a table that will seat at least 4, preferably 6 or even 8. Just imagine all the breakfasts, cookouts and dinner parties you can have with friends and family out on the porch. (This tablescape can be viewed here:  Summer Dining, Alfresco)

Spring Table Setting, Tablescape on the Porch

 

China Cabinet:
If you’ve allowed room for a dining space, put a piece of furniture out on the porch for storing the china you’ll be using every day. It will make it really easy to dine outside whenever you’re in the mood.

Building a Screened-in Porch

 

You may need to take things out each spring and give them a quick wash for the season, but it really comes in handy having a cabinet close at hand for storage.

This piece was only $95 at a local antique store and I painted it with an exterior grade paint like the paint store recommended. It’s still holding up well and it has been through some bitter winters and super hot and humid summers.  You’ll find that tutorial here: Painting Furniture: A China Hutch Transformation.

Building a Screened-in Porch

 

Ceiling Fans:
You gotta have ceiling fans. Not only do they caress you with cool breezes, they add so much ambiance and romance to the porch. Even when it’s not that hot outside, I’ll turn on the fans at their lowest setting just to enjoy their slow movement as they gently circle overhead. One fan is good, two is even better if it’s a good size porch.

Be sure to buy “exterior” grade fans. You can get away with interior grade fans…for about a year. But before long, the heat and humidity will cause the blades to droop. It’s not a pretty sight when that happens. Also, the housing and inner parts of the fan may rust and cease to work. Exterior grade fans don’t cost that much more and are the smarter way to go. They come in a gazillion styles. I found these Hunter fan online at Lowe’s with a wicker look to go with my wicker furniture.  (I think the name of this fan is Bayview.)

Building a Screened-in Porch

 

Lighting:
Lighting is so important in any space, be it indoors or out. I’m not a big fan of overhead lighting, but I love lamp light. When I designed the porch, I ask my contractor to include a lot of outlets and I told him I didn’t want any overhead lighting. I think he thought I was crazy.

 

It added some additional expense to the cost of the porch, but it was so worth it. I have four outlets on the porch itself. One outlet was already on the wall behind the hutch, the other three were added. That’s how I get the soft lamp lighting in the evening. If you’re wondering about rain and having outlets on the porch, just check my FAQ at the top of the sidebar.

Screened Porch Lit Up with Lamplight

 

Out on the decks, the outlets have special covers over them and they work great.

Building a Screened-in Porch

 

That’s how I was able to create this tablescape on the deck. This outlet is located under the window. (Tablescape can be viewed Romantic Table for Two.)

 

I also use it for a fountain I put out occasionally. There are two more outlets on this deck. One is for the gas grill because it has a light inside and the other was for lighting I had strung around under the handrail.  They also come in handy for plugging in electric blowers when you need to blow off the deck.

 

Music
The only thing better than decompressing under swirling fans on a screened-in porch is doing it to the sound of James Taylor or Michael Bublé singing your favorite songs. This is your chance. You’re adding on a porch, pre-wire that baby right up front for some great outdoor speakers.

I had the porch pre-wired and a speaker placed over each door leading out to the decks. You can also hear and enjoy the music while on the decks. Again, make sure you use speakers designed for the outdoors; regular speakers won’t hold up.

 

A Swing:
I’ve never been much of a swing person, or, at least I thought I wasn’t. I like to be stationary when I’m sitting–not real crazy about swaying to-and-fro. But the porch had a spot that was the perfect size for a swing due to the fireplace box that juts out into the porch.

 

I knew I wanted a seating group in that area. A swing seemed like a great way to finish out the seating instead of just having another settee or more chairs.

Now about this swing thing, be forewarned: swings are people magnets. Your guests will totally gravitate to it. It’s always the first place they head. When I have friends over for a cookout or party, someone always goes for the swing and stakes it out before anyone else gets a chance.  You may not be a big swing person, but your guests will be. You can count on it. A swings adds something special to a porch.  It’s hard to describe. You need a swing.

Wicker Porch Swing

Ceiling Height:

I saved this for last because it’s not always something you can design into a porch, but I recommend it if you can. If you have the room and your house will allow, go “up” in your design. Raise the ceiling. It will make a smaller porch feel much bigger, plus it really helps the porch feel even cooler. Height will add to that airy, summer-breeze feeling you are seeking out on a porch.

Screened in Porch

If you’re thinking about adding a porch, go for it. It may just become your favorite “room” in your home.

If you have any questions about the porch, please check the FAQ at the top of the sidebar.

Also, you’ll find a post I created answering some of those most frequently receive questions here:  Springtime Means Porchtime: Answers to Your Most FAQ.

If you don’t find the information you need, feel free to e-mail me at betweennapsontheporchatgmaildotcom. It may take me a few days to get back, but I’ll do my best to respond.

If you found this post  helpful, appreciate so much if you would give it a Google +1.  Thanks so much in advance!

You can read more about the construction of the porch here:  Building a Screened-in Porch.




Comments

  1. Kim @ keller-creative says:

    I like lots of plants and color and some good strong citronella candles.

  2. Barbara F. says:

    Susan, I had to lift my (somewhat) double chin off the floor where it had fallen after I read this post. You put Better Homes and Gardens to shame! Beautiful taste, the table settings, oh my. xo

  3. I agree, esp with the width. We have a wrap around covered porch, but it is not screened. We have the fans, and the outlets, but I sure wish we had gone wider. To do it now would be very costly because of the roof. Maybe if I win the lottery. :)
    I would do everything you did, but I would have some kind of windows so I could close them. You have a much longer warm weather season than we do, so I would do that so I could use it 3 seasons. Also it would protect the furniture out there from the severe storms we have here.

  4. Susan,
    Your porch is so lovely. I always enjoy visiting! You've done a splendid job, and it certainly has paid off in enjoyment…for all of us!
    I love the railings and trim you used. And I think the idea about the flooring is perfect. I have filed those ideas away!

  5. Our house actually originally had an open porch that had been turned into a sun room. Many people thought we had lost our minds when we decided to take it back to an open porch. We use it all the time. One feature that I'm glad we have is a west facing view over a small lake, so we always have great sunsets!

  6. Renee @ where the grass is greener says:

    A screened in porch is something I've wanted as long as I've lived in my home (going on 16 years), but we never had the money for it. WE have this giant deck that we never use because its either too hot or too buggy. I will definitely use this post if we ever decide to build one (I've been saving and saving). Thanks for all of your advice!

  7. I'm not sure how I originally found your blog, but I love stopping in for visits. Your table scapes are always so pretty. I. LOVE. YOUR. PORCH! It is gorgeous! One day, maybe we'll live somewhere we can have such a dreamy outdoor setting! I do enjoy our back porch now, but screening it isn't feasible for the space we have, especially with small children running back and forth from the porch to the backyard. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'll add them to my dream book! :)

  8. Well, you know my porch was modeled after yours. I'm still trying to decide whether to add cabana shutters on the one side we get a lot of rain from or whether to plant some crepe myrtles in that area and hope for the best. Mine is 18×16 and I wish it was a little bit longer against the wall of the house and didn't extend as far out. Once you get to the far end of the porch, you feel like a sitting duck, exposed to the whole world. LOL! I have learned (my porch compared to my moms which is long against the house and only extends out about 10 feet) – the further it extends from the house, the more rain you will get on it.

  9. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Theresa, I've seen some gorgeous porches with shutters. I wouldn't mind my porch being about 2 feet longer, so I know what you mean. Unfortunately, there just really wasn't room to make it any longer.
    Good luck with that rain solution.

  10. Richella says:

    You've nailed it with this post, Susan! I just love my screened porch, which was already built when we purchased this house. If it ever needs to be replaced, though, I'll do just what you've suggested–I'll make it bigger! I've eked out a dining space and a sitting area, but I'd love to have a bit more elbow room. Your porch is loveliest space!!

  11. Holly @ Roller Coaster Life says:

    I don't have a screened porch but if I did it would look just like yours! I love looking at pictures of your porch! The swing would be my spot!

  12. Heidiopia says:

    Porch envy. :) We have a back deck that we love, but I've always wanted a porch. Thanks for all the food for thought and great inspiration!
    Heidi @ Show some Decor

  13. We replaced an old rotten wooden deck with a combination screened in porch and deck in 2008 – the year before we retired – so it would be ready for our retirement years. Like you we didn't want another heated and cooled room we wanted an outdoor space where bugs wouldn't bother us. We have ceiling lights and a ceiling fan and a beautiful beaded board ceiling and a composite flooring that looks and feel like a wooden floor. We had extra electrical outlets put in too. We just love our porch and are so pleased with how it looks. Yours is so lovely and I enjoy seeing photos of it with all your beautiful furniture. Right now ours need to be pressure washed it is loaded with yellow tree pollen. I'm looking forward to cleaning it and getting the chair cushions out. Thanks for the lovely post.

  14. Marianne says:

    I always enjoy coming here. Pictures are just beautiful. We have a wrap around porch but it is not screened in, much to my dismay. I would love to screen it in one day. I do I wish we made it a bit wider when we built the house. I think its 30' x 13', long and narrow. It's beautiful but living where I do we don't get much use out of it. I am thinking of putting up some sheer panels this year. And I finally got a dining table and chairs which I am so excited about!
    Marianne :)

  15. tammylovesdishes says:

    I just love your porch. Thanks for the helpful tips. I will print them out and add to my printouts of your porch pictures that live in my Porch file. Some day.
    Tammy

  16. You have an absolutely stunning porch! I have a three season porch and we love it. (It's modest compared to yours.) We spend most of our time on it during the summer and early fall.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Your planning obviously paid off – it looks like you thought of everything and it's really beautiful! I'm sure you enjoy it so much – I know I would!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Susan,

    Your porch is absolutely perfect! I love seeing pictures of it! We have lived in our townhouse for 20 years – so no porch for us. My grandma had a porch with a swing! It was my favorite spot! You hit the nail on the head about swings!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Betsy

  19. Sue (Someone's Mom) says:

    Well, you certainly did a great job. Your porch is my dream porch, but our house just isn't designed for one. Darn it!

  20. Every time I see photos of your lovely porch, I want to head for the swing….LOL….really, I do. It just looks so cozy and inviting! If I had a deck and a porch, I would hope it could look exactly like yours!

  21. Lady Katherine says:

    Loved all the info in your article about your porch. Just as wonderful as your porch.

  22. Awesome and helpful post.

    I want a screened porch so badly sometimes that it keeps me up at night dreaming and scheming how I possibly could get one.

    I have my dream home, except for that but whew they are so expensive. But I shall get one!

    Your hints were great, thank you so much! I would so love to come and sip tea with you in that gorgeous space you created.

    Smiles.

  23. Donna Gotlib says:

    This looks like a perfect porch to me. I love it. You've obviously done your homework. And, it's nice that you didn't wait until you were ready to sell your home. I hope that you get a great deal of pleasure from this wonderful space that you have created. Thanks for sharing. It's a dream!

  24. That porch is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. I wouldn't want to leave it. Stunning.

  25. I just love your porch, Susan. I can't seem to get enough of it no matter how many pictures you post. You mentioned making repairs before selling. You aren't thinking of putting your lovely house on the market, are you? I can't fathom selling such a perfect place.

  26. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Thanks, Terri. Not right now…but just planning ahead. :)

  27. Annesphamily says:

    I love your porch! I wish we had the money to make a dream porch! This was a lovely informative and beautiful post. Thanks Susan

  28. All your research paid off, Everything is just lovely.
    Lezlee

  29. martinealison says:

    Un endroit plus que romantique… je trouve que vos animaux ont beaucoup de chance … Bisous

  30. FABBY'S LIVING says:

    …aaaaaand, ta-raaaa…! the famous porch was created!!! I love how you research and find exactly what you had in mind to start, anyway! Just like the great office you just did…you got great and definite taste, Susan! Congrats, honey, you amaze me everytime!
    Hugs
    FABBY

  31. Susan, I have major porch envy every time I visit BNOTP.
    We do have a screened in porch, but it is much smaller. Originally it was simply screened in, and the first thing we added when we moved in was a swing. Yes, I'm the one who would be on that swing for hours. But when we wanted to use our porch year round, we had French doors and floor to ceiling windows put in with Phantom screens. Now we can have an enclosed porch in the winter and a screen porch when we want to be open to the air. It's the best of both worlds, but the change required that I give up the swing. :-( I'm working on a spot in the garden where I might add a swing, but so far haven't figured that one out either. ~ Sarah

  32. Evergirl says:

    Your porch is wonderful! And I really love that little sign you have on the wall.

    Living in a much colder country, a screened in porch would not have been possible, but we added a sunroom and I totally agree with you that it is something one never regrets. Spending the summer evenings out there is wonderful.

  33. Luncheons at the Junction says:

    Susan, I agree with the mindset of creating your dreams before putting your house on the market. We converted our screen porch which already had concrete floors, electrical and framing into a sunroom by adding tile floors, windows and french doors. We now get to enjoy it year round since we are in the mid atlantic region. It was the best home improvement we have ever done. I'm sure all your fans will agree your efforts are beautiful!

  34. CalypsoInTheCountry says:

    Thanks for all the advice…your porch is my dream porch and I think I would be out there 24 hours a day. I have regretted putting our deck on since about year 2 when we realized it had to be power washed and re-stained at least every other year. It is cedar and is in the bright sun all day so it really takes a beating! It is always too hot to be out there in the summer and we seem to get a lot of bees so the kids never want to eat out there. I like the fact that you really knew what you wanted and didn't let the contractor talk you into or out of anything! It's always nice to know you did things the way you wanted. Thanks for sharing the details on your wonderful space!
    Shelley

  35. Donna-Mom says:

    We have a great back porch that my husband built all by himself about seven years ago. This year I have replaced the swing with a three-seater sofa because the swing made me nauseous and squirrels came and chewed out the cushions. (LOL) My aim was that I would always keep the porch clutter free and only add new updates as needed, getting rid of things that got shabby. I think the reason people love our porch so much is that it's serene because there is not much to distract you from relaxing. Your porch has been the greatest inspiration. Thanks for doing what you do.

  36. Pamela Gordon says:

    I have always loved your screen porch and decks and enjoy seeing how you have decorated them, especially the screen porch dining table! Alas, it is but a dream for me with the house we have right now due to winter frost that move our back deck (the one with the most sunshine) up and down. I do enjoy it though and try to decorate it like it's a 'room' or private oasis. Thanks for all your tips today! Pamela

  37. Susan, your post(and your porch!)is beautiful. This post is so timely for me, as the hubby and I were talking of options on expanding our outdoor spaces this summer–we have a screened porch, but it is just a wasteland. GO DEEP is a great tidbit–ours are only 8 feet front to back, and that's just not enough for the "sheltered" feeling to take hold.
    Thanks for all the great info and the inspiring pictures!

  38. Susan great advice on planning a porch. We have just added a wonderful portico across the back of our house and thinking of enclosing with windows. I love the way you just walk from your eating area onto the porch, So charming and its another room to enjoy.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

  39. Laura Wilkerson says:

    Ms. Susan,
    Great advice! I would have never thought of the ceiling height for better air flow or the sealed flooring to avoid the bugs…need that around here for sure with these mutant mosquitos…I have to say I showed my hubby pics of your porch and he loved it…i'll have to share this info with him too since we were planning on screening in our side porch, maybe we'll just go all out! :)

  40. Oh Susan,

    I'd love to have a porch of my own and after seeing yours I'm hopelessly envyous.
    You're the Queen of the Porches.

    Porch is a portion that is attached to the house, isn't it? Or you can have a porch in the middle of the garden far from the house? Sorry for the questions, but porches are not very common in my country (Portugal)

    Congratulations on the wornderful work done creating and arranging yours.

  41. Debbie L says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love your porch. It has everything you could need. On my porch I love having the sounds of water, so I have included couple of water features. and I love my candliers. Thanks for sharing your creativity and expertise.

  42. The Quintessential Magpie says:

    Your porch has, and always will be, one of my very favorites, Susan! It's adorable. We have a screened porch on our home, but it is so hot here that it's hard to enjoy even with fans. I will likely have it closed in if we don't sell this house first. I never use it. I do use it in the winter for extra seating for parties, but this winter, it was too cold. Go figure! LOL!

    I loved the screened porches from my youth.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

  43. Magnolia Steele says:

    Your porch has been my inspiration for some time. I have wanted to add a screened in porch but always wondered how much it cost. Would you mind telling us approximately how much your porch cost, please? Thank you for having such a wonderful blog.

  44. Susan,
    I have major porch envy!! Thank you for all the advice, tutorials and pictures! We're about to cover our patio, but I sure do wish it was a screened in porch up amongst the trees like yours! I'll definitely be using your posts for hints, tricks and advice.
    Thanks for such a wonderful blog!
    Susan

  45. Tess Maxey says:

    How lucky you are to have such a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors and entertain! I'm so in love with your porch.

  46. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Magnolia, It's been several years but as I recall it was around $26-$29,000. That price also included adding two new decks and the pergola on either side of the porch.

  47. QueenMarcy says:

    My cat-walk rail!!!!!
    Marcy

  48. Mariebop says:

    I've been in love with your porch since I stumbled upon your blog. I live in a townhouse with no room for a porch. Hopefully, one day I'll live in a location that can accomodate one.

  49. Hi Susan
    I loved your porch when I read about it the first time…I love it now too..great suggestions to go along. Totally lovely. As one of your readers wrote you are lucky to have it as it is because you have a long season to use it. I just love it and your dishes and tablescapes too.
    enjoy and have a great evening
    Judi

  50. black eyed susans kitchen says:

    The first time I saw a picture of your screened porch, I knew we were kindred spirits. The dinner table, the candles, the white wicker…I actually consider it the heart and soul of the house. I wouldn't give up the porch for anything!!

  51. Alison @ The Polohouse says:

    Susan!
    Gorgeous outdoor living space. Oh my heavens…..wow!
    Love the evening shot where the room is all aglow with charm.
    May I come and take a nap when you aren't?
    (Maybe we could work out a little schedule, k?)
    ;)
    xx
    Alison

  52. Alycia Nichols says:

    Susan, this post has helped me more than you can imagine. My husband and I will be moving to Savannah, GA in about a month. Living in the Midwest, porch living has always proven very different from in the South. I want to be able to fit in, so these tips will be carried with me as we search for a home there. We will be renting at first until we decide on exactly where we want to live for the long haul, so I won't be able to be as picky. At least I now have a frame of reference! Thank you, and see you around Georgia!

  53. laurie @ bargain hunting says:

    I cannot imagine that there would be anyone who is dreaming of a porch, who could dream of a better porch than yours! Sounds like you had a great contractor. Between the two of you, a magical space was born. laurie

  54. Eileen @ Cottage Beach House says:

    I love this post and all your recommendations are spot on! A few years ago we added a 2nd story porch to our tired old deck. We had to rebuild the deck anyway and by adding the porch/ sunroom we created an entire 3 season room that we use more than any other in the house. I am just now considering adding an old table for playing games and having a nice snack with a view. Your tips are ideal. Thanks so much.

  55. classic • casual • home says:

    Your porch is so ideal. How do you get your guests to leave? I just love all the thoughtful details and your choice of fabrics is divine.

  56. I really appreciate the practical nature of this post. THIS is the kind of detailed, specific information that never seems to be in the decorating books I pick up. Thanks!

  57. Anonymous says:

    Love your porch!! Where did you get the furniture?

  58. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Anon…most of it came from Pier 1…some from thrift stores.

  59. Designs By Pinky says:

    It is probably a good thing we can't afford to put a screened in porch on. I have ALWAYS wanted one, we have been in this house 27 years now! If we ever build another house I will definitely put on a screened porch.Thanks for all the tips! XO, Pinky

  60. Shabby Soul says:

    I have always adored your porch. I am planning on screening in my back patio soon – you gave me some great things to think about!

  61. Bluebirds and Butterflies says:

    I visited your blog about a year ago…now, I am blogging myself…I thought then, as I do now, that your porch is beautiful!!! I am wondering…do you leave these lamps out there all the time…and does everything get really dusty? I used to live in Florida and that was an issue I had with my covered back patio areas. I was just wondering if you leave your pillows and lamps out there most of the time or just put them out when you have company or are going to use it. Paula Deen would LOVE your backporch…you should send her some photos! She might feature you sometime… You have a very beautiful porch! I just love it!!!! Have a wonderful day! xoxo Kim

  62. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Kim, thanks so much! Congrats on entering the Land of Blog! :) Yep, everything stays out year around. Things get REAL dusty during pollen season, but the rest of the year, it's not too bad…probably because it's a full story up off the ground. The pillows are beginning to fade a bit, but I don't mind. I probably should bring stuff in during the winter and store it in the garage, but here in Georgia we usually have a few warm days each month, even during the winter…so I just leave it all out there.
    I would pass out if Paula Deen said scat my way. lol That's one busy lady! :) Thanks again, Kim!

  63. Dixie Delights says:

    Thanks for this!!! It is so informative and I'll be looking back at it when we build our porch "one day" (hopefully not toooooo far away)!

  64. Thank you for the dream porch photos and the article. I will build my porch now and not wait ’til I retire…or ready to sell…or…
    Brenda P.
    Sugar Land, TX

  65. Pamela Moore says:

    Love your porch! Are there any particular books that you would recommend that would help with ideas on adding a screened porch, with maybe a helpful checklist included? I’ve always enjoyed Taunton Press’ books, but in searching I wasn’t able to find one on this subject.
    Thanks!

    • Thanks, Pamela! No, I don’t know of any in particular. I just looked through the ones you see in this post and kind of created my own list. Next time you’re in The Home Depot, check over in their magazine isle. They sometimes have specialty magazines about decks and porches, so you may find something there.

  66. I would like to know where you purchased your ceiling fan. Your porch is lovely..

    • Thanks, Ruth! I ordered those from Lowes. They have catalogs you can look through…i didn’t like the ones they had in the store, but found this fan in one of their Hunter catalogs . Check the Huntner website online. Maybe they still make it.

  67. Susan,

    Your porch is absolutely stunning! I am in love with it!
    Can I ask what the square footage of the screened in porch is? Also, it looks like you have additional deck space… can I ask how big that is as well? Trying to plan my own and have no idea what size I should go with… but you seem to have a perfect layout for dining and relaxing!

  68. I just LOVE your porch! I moved I to a new home a few months ago! With a 3 season porch! It is the same style as yours. It was actually a major selling feature for my husband and I in purchasing the home! I am in the research phase for decorating out there! I have a pottery barn outdoor sectional sofa and a matching dining table. I have a hutch I was already planning on DIY-ing like yours as well! My question is – where did you get the window treatments!? I am debating on the curtains. I would love them, but am curious about the upkeep and care of them. Thanks!!!

    • Hi Maureen,
      The sheers are just inexpensive sheers from Walmart. They were only $4.95 each so I did the whole porch for around $100 including the rods. They’ve been up around 4 years now and I just take them off every 1 1/2-2 years and give them a gentle wash. Also, click on the FAQ at the top right side of the BNOTP home page and you’ll find additional info about the porch there, too. You’re going to love your porch this spring/summer! I’m glad to hear it was a selling feature…good to know in case I sell my house sometime in the next few years.

      • Great! I was hoping for an answer like that! Lol! I didn’t want to spend alot And was thinking of a sheer. Thought the sheer would be perfect for a breezy day! Would love to see them blowing in the wind! We purchased in October and haven’t been able to use it yet. Hurricane sandy hit us, then the holidays and cold weather. I am planning on this spring as a finish date so I have about another month to get it all together! Thanks you for your post!!! It is very inspirational and informative! I will have to send you before and after pics!!

  69. When DH retired in 1994, we decided we wanted to build a screened in porch but we didn’t want a dinky size one. We wanted one where we could entertain comfortably. We started out by adding a deck 20×10 I think.
    Our neighbors had built theirs over the original patio that the builder had installed. Get at least 3 or more estimates from contractors..you can pick up some great tips from each. If we were building another one, we would make some changes but we built it with our knowledge. We didn’t get any professional advice..and we should have. It was definately a labor of love and we loved that screened in porch so much and enjoyed it from the first signs of Spring like weather till late October. The first winter, we dealt with now blowing in through the screening. The next year we build frames that we wrapped heavy duty plastic around and each Fall, we’d attached those to keep the weather elements out. There are some other things that I would have changed but we did it on our budget. When we visit those neighbors that lived next door to us, we can sit inside their small porch and look over at what used to be our house. It is used as a toy garage now and that breaks my heart but hey, we don’t own that house anymore so we have no say in what the new owners use it for. It’s a big investment but you will enjoy it and it will be a big asset when you go to sell your home.

    Susan has the idea porch..I absolutely love it!

    • Thanks, Betty! I know it’s hard to go back by a house you once lived in and see changes folks have made. It’s so much fun to hear folks talk about that past or current screened porches. They always hold a special place in the heart. I’ve never heard of anything bad happening on a screened in porch. :)

  70. I have a deck that I am thinking of turning into a screened porch. You have given me some inspiration. Thanks!

  71. Hi, I was curious what kind of drapes you have. Do they require a lot of cleaning, or collect mold or anything?

    • No, they are just polyester or nylon sheers from Walmart ($4.99 each) so mold doesn’t grow on them and when they get wet from rain, they dry almost immediately since they are so light weight. The wind/sun dries them quickly. They are around 5 years old and still look almost as good as the day I bought them. It was kind of an experiment, wasn’t sure how they would hold up. They have exceeded my expectations…never thought they would still look so good so many years later. Hope that helps.

  72. Susan, you are such a talented writer. I remember finding this post years ago excited how our Cape Cod wicker swing looked on the porch and so glad you are enjoying it 5 years later! I’m very happy I was able to reconnect with your blog, because with your passion and extremely useful posts you certainly deserve the title “The Queen of the Porch!”

  73. We have been so inspired by your site that we have decided to add a large screen porch to the rear of our home. We live in an historical neighborhood in New Orleans. The mosquitoes are so bad here that many days the outdoors are avoided so we have never bothered with a deck. We do have a beautiful back yard that we enjoy from afar. We anticipate that the new screen room will bring a change of life style with it. The first major obstical we have encountered is the cost. The access to the back yard is only 30″ wide so our price is almost double. The estimate is now $45,000. The room will be 21′ X 21′. The final meeting with the contractor is Monday. We are looking forward to them getting started.
    Ken

    • Ken, you are going to love it and wonder why you didn’t do it ages ago. That will be such a nice size porch! It’s a good bit bigger than mine if that makes you feel a little better about the cost. Mine is just 18 x 14 ft. I wish mine was at least 20 by about 16, that would give me a bit more space between my dining and seating area…but that size just would work on my house. You will love having a porch that large. You’re going to want to eat out there, read out there, entertain there. If you have pets, they will love it, too! :)

  74. My house had an old-fashioned greenhouse and we took out the glass as some of it was cracked. This left us with a rather informal porch. There are outdoor outlets and the base is there. I would love to transform it into a screen porch with pretty furniture where we could unwind after a long day. Right now it is usable but rather an eyesore. Your porch is beautiful!

  75. Carolyn Price says:

    Hello, Susan. We are getting bids now to re3do our decks and, possibly, the screened porch between them. I did read the FAQs on the porch and all about the staining but I haven’t seen info on the white railings you have outdoors. Are your exterior railings a PVC-type product or wood?
    Thanks much, “Grandma!” So happy for y0u. I am still waiting …..

    • Hi Carolyn, It’s all pressured treated pine that is just painted with Sherwin Williams Duration paint. It has lasted well for 5-6 years but I’m thinking of having it repainted this spring to just freshen everything up.

      • Carolyn Price says:

        Thank you , Susan!

        • You’re welcome! And thanks for the Grandma congrats! :)

          • Carolyn Price says:

            You are most welcome, sweetie!
            Oh … another really strong feature on your porch is the inverted “scallops” that soften the straight lines at the tops of the walls. We were just getting ready to add those to our porch in the Raleigh area when we moved. This home is ready for some updating and those curved boards at the top of the walls will be scheduled soon. I intend to enclose Cooleroo shades behind them. We need those for the morning sun coming in.

  76. Susan, we had a perfectly wonderful screened porch and I let hubby convince me that it should be made into a sun porch – I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s nice, but it’s just another room. I have so many memories of sipping sweet tea in rocking chairs and watching the world go by. As a matter of fact, a front porch features prominently in my new novel that was just released in December. It’s called Sweet Tea and Southern Grace and an excerpt in the description of the book reads that that it’s about “a small Southern town in rural America where sitting on front porches, drinking sweet iced tea out of heirloom glasses, and participating in innocent gossip are the favorite pastimes of the good folks of Park Place, South Carolina”. I think we could solve some of the worlds problems if we took a little more time to sit, rock and have meaningful conversations in our porch rockers!

  77. Your porch is stunning! I’m working on mine and wanted to ask you about your Summer Breeze sign. I found the website to order it but can’t decide on the colors. What color blue would say that is? Baby Blue? Aqua? Also, is the print done in black ink or a darker shade of blue? Thanks for the info and mostly thank you for sharing your beautiful porch with us. :)

  78. I love the design. I would love to know how you covered the chains on the swing! I loved it all. Thanks!

  79. Thanks Susan for the great suggestions. We have a few people coming over to bid on our porch/deck combo and this site is so exciting! I’m so glad that we’re making our screen porch 18′ x 14′ and you did too! I know you said you’d like it bigger, but that’s as big as we can get. I didn’t think about the speakers. Love that idea! We thought about getting floor to ceiling screen, but I see that you still have porch railing in your screened room. Can you tell me the pros/cons as opposed to the full screen (with a lower “chair railing” going around the room)? Please and thank you!

    • Thanks, Emily! I would love to have had screening all the way down but if a porch is over a certain number of feet off the ground, the building codes requires the balusters and railing. Since my porch is a full story up, it had to have the balusters/railing. You may not need it if your porch is on ground level or not far off the ground. You’ll love your porch!

  80. I’m inlove with your porch! It’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s serene, calming, loving and full of hospitatlity! Thank you so much for the inspiration! I hope to have an enclosed porch like this built within the next few years!

  81. I fell in love with the swing; it gives your porch a romantic look. Plus, those lamps are dazzling, most especially at night. You have an awesome set of chairs and tables, too—perfect for a simple family and friends gathering. Nothing beats the color white when it comes to furniture and wall paint. Good Job! Keep it up!

    • Thanks so much, Catherine! I’m about to post about a porch a reader built that was inspired by mine, so if you have a moment today, check back a little bit later and it should be up. It’s so similar to mine, I think you’ll really love it. :)

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