Decorating a screened-in porch doesn’t happen overnight, and it needn’t be expensive! See how a small screened-in porch evolved from a grungy space to a colorful outdoor room.
The breeze gently blowing through my hair, a magazine in my lap, a fruity cocktail in my hand…
That’s how I imagined grown-up life with a screened-in porch would be – hours of mosquito-free relaxation.
Guess how many times I’ve sat on my porch without getting a mosquito bite, something spilling on the floor, or the dog clawing her way through the screen to attack a chipmunk?
When we purchased our 1960’s Garrison colonial with a screened-in porch addition, I dreamed of creating an idyllic outdoor room.
But we all know that life often gets in the way of our decorating dreams, so for about a year my little porch looked like this:
The rusty ceiling light and beat-up floor just scream “PIN ME!” don’t they?
Last summer I decorated our small screened-in porch by dusting off the outdoor furniture and pillows from the patio at our first house, adding a rug, shopping my house for a few accessories, and making a quick succulent wreath.
But the space still wasn’t quite right.
The Trouble with Decorating a Small Screened-in Porch
At the time, I knew the porch decor I threw together on a shoestring was an interim solution.
But there were some major problems that required changes:
- The furniture for the 10’x12′ porch was too big (it was leftover from our old home’s outdoor patio)
- The rug was too small
- Our dining room decor changed during the year and no longer flowed well into the porch
- A huge eyesore remained
Can you spot the monstrosity?
Here’s the thing about small spaces.
They simply can’t be all things to all people.
Sure, they can serve multiple purposes if you plan the room down to the last inch.
But there comes a point where something’s gotta give.
For our small porch, that something was the gas grill. My husband’s the chef in our family, and he grills nearly every night all year round. Having the gas grill on the screened-in porch is quite convenient when you want to cook during a snowstorm or driving rain.
It took some convincing, but my husband finally agreed to move the grill outside, which required him to level a section of the yard and create a grill-sized mini patio.
That’s how much he loves me. <3
Relocating the grill created new opportunities for our small screened-in porch:
- I could safely use a larger rug
- We could eat comfortably eat there without feeling the grill’s heat and worrying the kids would burn themselves on it
- There was room to create a sitting area (so I could relax there with the aforementioned cocktail)
The Easiest Way to Find Decorating Inspiration
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With the grill out of the way and a small budget to purchase new porch furniture, I looked to the adjacent dining room for decorating inspiration. My goal was to create better design flow between the dining room and porch, which are connected by a sliding door.
The easiest way to find decorating inspiration and create cohesion between rooms is to pick your favorite item from one room and use it as the building block.
Our dining room rug is filled with rich, vibrant colors including blue (a constant throughout the house) and bold pink, so I challenged myself to create a complementary outdoor space on a budget.
4 Budget-Friendly Decorating Ideas for Your Small Porch
Last year I wrote about budget-friendly ways to decorate a small porch, so I took my own advice and implemented four of those ideas (so far).
1. Replace outdated lighting
My husband replaced the rusty old ceiling light with a much nicer version for around $50 (mine is no longer sold, but this one is similar) to immediately upgrade the room. Cheap string lights attached with mini Command hooks provide additional light and a pretty atmosphere when we dine outside (bonus: the kids love them).
2. Use scaled-down furniture
I sold the old patio furniture and bought inexpensive stacking outdoor chairs and a smaller table from Target, and with the grill out of the way, there’s room for a petite settee. The settee is from Lowe’s and no longer available online. You may have luck at the store.
3. Take plants vertical
Macrame is back from the 1970’s in a major way, and this macrame plant hanger adds nice texture while keeping the greenery up and out of the way. Plus, it’s a steal for only $10!
4. Bring the indoors out
See that little tray on the side table? It’s actually a Melissa & Doug play food package! A quick shot of teal spray paint transformed it into a colorful porch accessory.
The metal wall art was in our basement for years, and I originally bought them at Pier 1 to hang in our first apartment more than a decade ago. Now they finally look at home on the porch!
Money-Saving Porch Decorating Tips & Tricks
Here are some lessons learned during this makeover process that I hope will help you, too:
- Never underestimate the power of a power washer. My dad and husband hosed down the whole porch, as well as the rug, to freshen things up.
- These hooks make it super easy to hang lights, art, and more on vinyl siding (with zero damage).
- This screen repair kit takes just two minutes to patch holes.
Screened-in Porch Decor
Just click on an image to go right to the product!
This makeover isn’t done yet. Eventually, I’d love to paint the floor and the door, replace the door hardware and add beadboard to the ceiling. But this is good progress, and shows that decorating a screened–in porch (or any room, for that matter) doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time to figure out what you like and need.
Now, I’m off to make a watermelon mojito. Please pray that I’ll be left alone for a few minutes to enjoy my porch.