With spring just around the corner, and outdoor spaces essential for socially distanced gatherings, now is the time to spruce up the front or back porch. We talked to Megan Brown, designer and owner of Meg Brown Home Furnishings, to get some tips on making the most of exterior spaces.
How do you choose the right furniture for your porch?
“Pick the furniture based on the style of the house — if you have more of a Southern covered porch, I wouldn’t put something super contemporary on it. Take cues from your surroundings, like where the sun is and how you want to live in that space.”
What smaller items can make a big impact on a porch?
“Anytime you can use large planters with great foliage in them, it can make a big impact. Be it great tropicals or massive ferns, I love greenery. And sometimes actually using the same color can make an impact versus doing a bunch of colors with flowers — I like white blooms against greenery.”
How do you make the most of a smaller space?
“Do a small-space plan and take into consideration how you’re going to use the space and what the traffic flow is. I think it’s better to have less outside instead of being cramped and cluttered looking. For the front porch, you’d want a smaller bistro-sized table to have coffee in the morning, but out back, I could see a larger table or maybe a fire pit. The front is more of a rocking chair kind of place, and for smaller back porches, I’d stick to love seats — it depends on the size and where you live.”
What about lighting?
“You could use lanterns outside with battery-powered candles. On the back porch, I like string lights — they’re fun and they diffuse the light a little. If you have the option of a fire pit, I like the way that looks. On a screened-in or covered porch, on an interior wall, I like outdoor-safe lamps.”
What’s the biggest design mistake you see people making on porches?
“I don’t like mismatched furniture and a lot of crazy colors. I like furniture to have fluidity on a front porch; don’t throw everything in because it can get tacky looking. I don’t mix a ton of furniture finishes out front, but on the back porch you can be a little more risky.”