The Great Porch Makeover

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Local design experts share tips for creating an inviting space outside the home.

By Somer Tejwani

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Enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon on a  front porch or patio is as therapeutic as it gets. Luckily in Laguna, many homes boast charming front porches and patios that make for not only stunning entryways, but also outdoor extensions of homes’ interior design schemes. Whether you use the space for entertaining or enjoying a cup of coffee, a front porch should be just as inviting—or even more so—than other rooms inside the home.

“You want your front porch to be your statement piece,” says Aviella Borg, manager of Cottage Furnishings, a family-owned business that started in Laguna Beach almost two decades ago making Adirondack chairs. “You should put your best face forward with the space. It should be a welcoming and cheerful and put-together area.”

Interior designer Randy Boyd, who over the past three decades has built Laguna-based firm Thurston/Boyd Interior Design into a local institution known for creating spaces that are warm, inviting and functional, agrees. “Always remember that your front patio or porch is the introduction to what awaits inside, so keep that in mind when designing this space,” he explains.

To breathe new life into a tired porch, Randy suggests adding a few comfortable chairs and interesting potted plants to draw guests in. He also advises selecting decor pieces based on the type of environment you hope to achieve, such as a cozy conversation nook perfect for relaxing with friends and family. “I find that more clients actually enjoy watching the world go by rather than being tucked away in a back garden,” he says.  Aviella recommends that those on a budget avoid buying numerous smaller, cheaper  items, which can make a space feel cluttered and overdone. Instead, plan to splurge on one key statement piece.

Establish a cohesive aesthetic within a space by coordinating furnishings with the natural surroundings. What type of flooring does the space have? Which colors define the home’s surrounding landscaping? A bright green front lawn may become part of the color scheme of the porch’s decor. Or, a stark white, Cape Cod-style home may look fantastic with glossy black furniture, or a pop of color on a chair swing. “Depending on the style of the home, I’d recommend freshening up a front space with a couple of Adirondack chairs, which will help create that welcoming feel as you approach a home,” Aviella says. “A Tuscan-style, wrought-iron bench and a water fountain are always nice touches.”

However you choose to make over the space, remember: The front porch is your statement piece; put your best face forward with it.

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