By Jill Morgan published
Looking for front porch ideas to gain space or level up your home’s kerb appeal? Well, there are plenty of solutions out there ranging from the latest outdoor flooring and exterior lighting to self-assembly porch kits to stunning bespoke designs.
But why are these – often tiny – spaces so important? In the UK they are the focal point of our home’s exterior. Framing the front door, they not only provide somewhere dry to kick off wellies, store shoes and leave parcels but they also reflect the look and feel of both our front garden ideas and our home’s interiors. In past times, the design, materials used, and sheer size often reflected the social status of the occupants, but today these varied additions are more likely to describe the mood and style of home beyond.
Above all these important areas should be inviting and that means keeping them smart and free of clutter. It’s amazing the difference a fresh coat of paint can make, and never underestimate the impact updating door furniture and porch lighting can have. There are clever styling tricks to try too – from positioning pairs of over-sized planters, co-ordinating foliage with paint colours and material choices to adding in comfy seating and even a tiny table.
13 front porch ideas to make a style statement
Give your home the entrance it deserves with the latest front porch ideas. Whether you want to give your existing porch a quick spruce up or it's in need of a complete overhaul, you'll find plenty to inspire in our selection of ideas.
1. Go for a tailor-made porch kit
Want to give your home character, quickly and easily? Try a porch kit – such as the classic design pictured from The English Porch Kit Company. Choose from a wealth of timber designs that offer both period and contemporary detailing, decide on the perfect scale for your home and place your order.
Most kits come with base plates, sturdy fixings and can be erected by a builder or experienced DIYer in as little as a day. The beauty of this approach is not only the speedy result but quality of the design and how it can easily be adapted to suit the property and the site.
Timber porch designs can be painted of course (there are endless colour choices out there), stained, or left to naturally weather and age. Combine them with slate, stone or terracotta roof tiles – new or reclaimed – to personalise your design and help it blend or contrast with your landscaping ideas for front of house.
2. Create a welcoming and cosy vibe
If your front porch is roomy enough, why not make it a comfy sitting spot? Ideal for watching the world go by or perhaps basking in the morning shine. Tuck in a deep, cosy chair, layer up with cushions and throws add a table for perching your cuppa and you’re all set. It also creates a warm welcome for visitors too.
Add a tall plant, such as a bamboo or eucalyptus, to make the space feel more intimate without taking up too much floorspace. A glazed hanging lantern will provide plenty of light for when the sun goes down.
A durable outdoor rug also shouts that this somewhere to kick off your shoes and make yourself at home.
3. Paint your front door and wall to match
Use colour to give your front porch ideas real impact. Painting the front door and surrounding wall the same strong shade will immediately draw the eye and create a welcoming feel. It also creates a dramatic background to show off choice plants, door furniture and lighting.
Here, dark blue exterior wood paint highlights the red-orange brickwork and looks stunning alongside the silvery galvanised steel Fisherman’s lamp and potted olive tree.
Other striking combinations to try are a vibrant yellow with matt black door fittings and black stemmed bamboo or Pittosporum tenuifolium, or denim blue teamed with touches of copper and the red orange foliage of Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ or Heuchera ‘Marmalade’.
4. Frame your doorway for a stylish welcome
Adding height and symmetry either side of a porch will instantly add impact and focus attention firmly on the front door. A simple but stylish way to do this is with some clever container gardening ideas filled with tall planting.
Go for identical containers and arrange them in ones, twos or trios leading up to the front door. Keep the look ordered and symmetrical but do play with your choice of materials and plants to strike the right note. These hand-woven rattan planters introduce natural colour and texture for a relaxed and informal feel while the topiary buxus spheres add drama and formality. Conical conifers and yew would also work well, or for a softer look try rustling bamboo or tall and graceful types of ornamental grass such as Miscanthus or Stipa.
5. Incorporate architectural detail into a new porch
If you’re after front porch ideas that blends effortlessly with your home, then pay attention to the detail and choice of materials. This is particularly important with period properties, where any non-sympathetic selections are immediately obvious; the key to a good design is careful observation.
Borrowing construction techniques, shapes and architectural features from the original building and incorporating them into the new structure is an approach architects and specialist builders often employ.
The team at Border Oak handcraft a range of designs that vary from simple canopies to grand entryways. 'There are no shortcuts – the oak we use is the finest restoration grade and each porch is made by hand. The dimensions of each beam have been scrutinised to ensure they are neither too bulky, nor too flimsy.'
6. Make Victorian-style tiling a top porch feature
Packed with drama and impact, Victorian-style paving ideas always make a good impression, especially if kept in tip top condition. Featuring black and white tiles, along with two or three accent colours, they create a handy colour palette to inspire garden borders, woodwork paint colours and even annual bedding schemes for pots and window boxes.
Preserving original tiling is nearly always worthwhile, although it can be costly, labour intensive and definitely an expert job. Cracked or missing tiles can be replaced and carefully colour matched, but in many cases, sound outdoor tiles just need a thorough clean and reseal. Specialist products are configured to gently strip away existing grime and sealants without damaging the tile’s surface, and there are stronger acid gels to remove stubborn stains or old adhesives. Once clean, a coat or two of sealant is essential to protect against future stains, dirt and to enhance the tile’s colour. Solvent and acrylic formulae are available and will leave a satin, matte or low sheen finish.
Need to replace your current paving and want an authentic period look for your garden path? Why not opt for one of the many Victorian reproductions out there? Featuring intricate patterns, many with strong contemporary shades, these geometric tiles are fixed to a handy mesh backing ensuring neat results are quick and easy to achieve. Intended to be used inside and out you can create a continuous pathway from the front gate, through the porch and right into the hallway. Creating a sense of grandeur and feeling of space, these tiles are a timeless and firm favourite.
7. Mix climbers and aged zinc for a period touch
Introduce a touch of elegance with a handmade metal porch. Featuring sweeping canopies, fine wirework and slender supports these refined front porch ideas complement both old and contemporary properties.
Designer Hilary Thurman from Garden Requisites of Bath, explains, 'If you’re thinking of adding a porch or door canopy over your doorway, it is important to consider an appropriate design as well as suitable materials, and of course check that planning permission isn’t necessary – any listed or property in a conservation area will require permission.'
Shapes of these solid steel coverings, many of which are then hot dip zinc galvanised, vary from simply door canopies that project out from the wall to more elaborate porches with trellis sides. Wirework patterns can be rigorously simple or ornate and intertwined.
'The woven wirework sides of our designs offer great support for twining plants and help to link the porch to the garden and create a magical entranceway when swathed with colourful, scented plants all summer long,' adds Hilary. 'Come winter, why not add a few strings of fairy lights for a magical scene – the perfect antidote to dark winter evenings.'
8. Keep it smart and contemporary
Not just for period charm, there are many porches out there that add an edgy, contemporary look to complement more modern garden ideas. Often featuring bold, contrasting materials and finishes they can also add depth, form and interest to a bland, flat fronted property.
Getting the proportions right is always important when choosing a front porch. Contemporary designs are often cubes or rectangles, so look to balance the same shapes that already exist in the original property. Repeat your chosen colour on the front door and other detailing – such as supporting steels or rendered masonry – to help tie the whole the façade together. Using a similar material and finish for your front garden wall ideas can create a further visual link at the front of your property.
'Our Brompton Porch combines powder-coated aluminium and cedar to create a practical and easy-to-install design that can dramatically change the look of a house,' says David Sutton of The English Porch Company. 'Manufactured to order, and ideally fitted to a flat wall and base, the Brompton can be supplied to suit a dwarf wall configuration as well and the hollow roof and side panel can house discreet lighting.'
9. Add grandeur with cast-stone
Give your home a stately entrance with a cast stone porch – aka portico. Hard to beat for status and impact, these designs were a key feature of grand Georgian homes and are popular in Neo-Georgian and new Georgian Revival homes too. Usually made up of a projecting pediment or canopy supported by columns and pilasters framing a flight of steps, these constructions have unrivalled impact and presence. Porch designs can also feature a flat roof with lintel, cornice and balustrading, perfect if a taller, two storey format is required.
Made to order from fine reconstituted stone poured into wood or rubber moulds, there are a few specialist companies that will take on small decorative or larger architectural projects. Products are all handmade and hand-finished and can also incorporate stainless-steel reinforcements if needed. Pigments can be added at the mixing stage to create a specific stone colour and finish.
10. Pick out period detail with bold colour
You can’t beat a bold paint shade for highlighting a porch or period detailing. Yes, our instincts may be to opt for a pastel or neutral tone that will blend in with the immediate surroundings, and conjure up a soft, country style but a stronger colour will always dazzle with style and showcase an intricate design.
The trick is to go for a colour you love and use it on all the woodwork – uprights, railings, soffits and the front door for a cohesive look and maximum impact. For a slightly softer result, that also creates an illusion of extra depth, choose a slightly lighter shade for the outer areas.
Not sure what paint shade to go for? Take your cue from other original features such as stained glass panels, tiling, surrounding plants or your garden colour scheme. Another insider tip is to find a colour that complements the brick, timber cladding or stonework and makes it pop. Here the red-orange brickwork is set off perfectly by the deep blue.
11. Be bold and make the porch a feature
Some of the best landscaping ideas use contrasting materials and colour to draw the eye, and with thoughtful design this can be the same for your porch.
A front porch made from the humblest of materials can be a real showstopper, especially when the attention to detail and sense of proportion is spot on, as shown in this project by TJ Ross Joiners.
'The porch was designed to a size that did not overwhelm the existing cottage, yet comfortable enough for an internal bench with a flip up lid for muddy boots and spacious enough to say goodbye to friends and family on cold, wet days,' say the team at TJ Ross Joiners.
'Natural slate was chosen to ease the impact of a new roof grafting into an old pantile roof and in keeping within the budget, fully painted lining was chosen with a colour which complemented hues from the natural stone of the original cottage. A wing was designed to offer protection from the elements and provide support to an outside ‘flying’ bench made of wany edged elm, where they could sit while removing dirty boots or a with a morning coffee.'
12. Choose lighting that reflects your home’s architecture
Outdoor lighting ideas are essential for both safety, security and creating that warm welcome, but striking the perfect balance between function and style can prove tricky. Taking cues from the period of your home and its existing architectural features is a good starting point for getting right every time.
'The exterior design of your home is as important as the inside: what you choose to put outside serves as a taster of the beauty within,' say the team at lighting experts Jim Lawrence. 'We tend to suggest you stay in keeping with the era of your home when it comes to outdoor lighting.
'Flush fitting lights are easy to install and offer a neat space-saving solution if you don’t have the space for the drop of a pendant lantern. Hand-blown glass shades are delicate but sturdy, ideal for doorway lighting where you want something striking, but also where task lighting can be fulfilled without making the area feel cluttered or heavy.'
13. Go modern with a semi-glazed design
Clean lines and bold front porch ideas that mix both glazed and solid sections will give any home a contemporary edge. Add in a dash of colour for personality and you’ve got a design that looks instantly appealing and unique too.
Remember that in a fully enclosed porch, a front door makes a huge impression and it’s not just the design, finish and scale but choice of door furniture too. If you're going for a strong statement like this, continue the overall aesthetic in the design of your garden steps, paths and driveway too for a smart exterior.
How much does it cost to build a front porch?
'The cost of a front porch can be greatly affected if you want to be able to access it from the house using an internal door,' says Rob Wood, Director of Simply Construction Group.
'If you want to remove the existing front door and perhaps have a normal internal door or even no door, then the front porch needs to comply with current building regulations in terms of the way it is built. This will increase the cost significantly. Typical front porches built to Building Regulations standards will cost £8,000 to £10,000.
'If you are happy to keep internal access to the front porch via the existing front door, the porch will not need the same high standards in terms of insulation. This type will cost in the region of £3,000 to £6,000.
'Front porches typically don’t need planning permission and can be done within permitted development, but you will need to check with the local council to be sure.'
How can I make my porch look better?
Give a tired front porch an update with these easy ideas:
- Spruce up woodwork
Whether it needs a wash down with warm soapy water or a rub down and repaint, freshening up painted woodwork always creates a smart and cared-for impression
- Clean roof tiles of moss and lichen
Tired of fallen debris littering your paths or clogged up and overflowing gutters? Treating your porch roof to a professional power wash can reap rewards and prevent long-term maintenance issues. Alternatively, our guide to the best pressure washer will help you find the right tool for the job.
- Pay attention to porch flooring
Clean grubby tile grout with a steam cleaner, relay loose floor tiles, or go for a complete paving overhaul with new tiles to ensure the approach to your home is safe and inviting.
- Invest in a new doormat
In sheltered spots opt for a natural coir design, for wet or muddy entranceways a slatted wood mat with bristles or galvanised steel is a smarter, more durable choice.
- Refresh the lighting
Glass outdoor wall lights and pendants do get grubby so treat them to a regular wash and scrub for maximum light output.
- Simplify the styling
A central wreath or decoration on the front door is always welcoming. Go Scandi style for pure class with personality and team with a pair of wooden planters and galvanised lamps for effortless style.
Should your porch match the architecture of your home?
'Your porch doesn’t have to match exactly,' says Alexandra Hull, Managing Director of Back to Front Exterior Design Consultancy. 'But it does need to work in harmony with the style of architecture and be an echo of the rest of the building. When designing a porch, start by looking at the pitch and shape of the existing roof to inform shape and style. For example, if the roof is hipped, avoid introducing straight gables and vice versa. Design from the outside-in and once the principle of the design looks great on the outside, adapt it to create the space on the inside to suit your daily needs.
'When considering materials, particularly on a traditional style porch, the default tends to be oak. Done well it can be beautiful but can blacken over time. A painted porch can really elevate a colour scheme and is often cheaper to build.'
Making sure your porch design works in harmony with other landscaping features such as your chosen driveway ideas and garden walls will also create a cohesive scheme for the front of your property.
Jill puts her love of plants and all things garden related down to the hours spent pottering around with her Nan and Grandad when she was little. There was never a moment at their house when they weren’t weeding, pruning, planting or harvesting cucumbers or dahlias from the lean-to greenhouse. Her Grandad’s shed was a place of wonder, and she can still recall the musky smell. Today she is lucky enough to have a garden of her own in Surrey and spends much of her time writing about them too. A typical long-thin town garden it features favourite flowers along with the odd veg plant and the usual assortment of toys, bikes and… oh a couple of guinea pigs too.
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