Is there anything more inviting than a comfortable and inviting porch? Whether it’s a front porch that welcomes visitors or a back porch that’s private and perfect for entertaining, we love the way a porch functions as an additional living room during the summer months. That’s why it’s important to make the most of the outdoor space you have, and the biggest thing you can do to up your porch game is to arrange furniture in a way that functions for your needs. Here are 15 ideas for coming up with a layout for your porch furniture.
CLASSIC ARRANGEMENT — A SOFA & TWO CHAIRS
Our go-to setup for larger porches is the classic combination of a comfortable porch and two chairs. Just like your living room, this is a foolproof layout that works in a den, on a patio, and yes, on your porch too. In the porch above, we love the way louvered shutters and a chandelier really give this outdoor space the polish of an indoor space.
TWO LOVESEATS AND A MIX OF CHAIRS
Loveseats are a great use of space because realistically, you’ll only seat 2 people to a couch (just like you will a love seat), but their shorter width allows you to squeeze in more chairs. In this space, Suzanne Kasler used herDirectoire collection — two loveseats, three lounge chairs, a coffee table, side table, and even a little folding cafe chair. The great thing about this arrangement is that all of these pieces can be moved around for a more versatile setup!
CREATE A CORNER WITH TWO SOFAS
Your first instinct might be to place two sofas facing each other, and while that’s a great layout that always works, we also like to create a corner with two outdoor sofas. The result is an intimate corner where you can chat tête-à-tête. It also opens up the other side of the seating space for easier flow.
USE A SECTIONAL TO CREATE BOUNDARIES
Alternatively, a 3-piece sectional can create the same intimate seating as the corner to corner arrangement above. We like to use a sectional when space is at a premium as sectionals will offer lots more seating for a smaller amount of floor space — always a winner!
WORK A CHAISE INTO YOUR PORCH ARRANGEMENT
Typically we think of chaise lounge chairs for relaxing by the pool, but they’re actually easy to work into your seating arrangement too! Here, we created an asymmetrical arrangement with our Amalfi Collection — a sofa, twochairs, a coffee table, and a chaise in the opposite corner.
SUBSTITUTE A CHAIR WITH AN OTTOMAN
If you’re short on space, consider substituting a chair with an ottoman. This space uses a sofa, one chair, but then an ottoman can act as a foot stool or an extra perch when you’re entertaining. An ottoman is more versatile than achair which is especially helpful when you’re trying to make the most of a small porch.
DINING & SEATING IN A SMALL SPACE
We often run into a dilemma when decorating a porch — do you want a dining or a seating space. What if you want both! One way to bring both into a smaller porch is to do just a pair of chairs. It’s far easier to work two chairs into a space than a full sofa and coffee table. To keep the space above from feeling cramped, we substituted traditional dining chairs with benches.
FOUR CHAIRS IN A CIRCLE
There’s no rule you have to use a sofa at all on a porch! And no space illustrates how inviting a porch can be with just four chairs than this one. How chic is this? Placing four chairs in a circle makes the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail with friends while you’re waiting for the grill to heat up!
We’ve showed you the combination of a sofa with two chairs on either side, but for a space that’s deeper than it is wide, place the chairs across from the sofa so they’re facing one another. We’ll often use this setup when we want to allow for traffic flow through the space. With a coffee table, side table, and floating cube, there are plenty of places to place your drink or kick up your heels.
A PAIR OF CHAIRS
You may be noticing a theme with many of these spaces — a pair of chairs. Both inside and outside, we tend to think that two chairs are better than one. Who wants to drink a glass of wine alone? For a narrow balcony or small porch space, we suggest a simple pair of chairs with a side table between them. This is a great option for narrow front porches too!
DIVIDE YOUR NARROW PORCH INTO TWO SEATING SPACES
If you have a long, narrow porch, it’s impossible to come up with an arrangement where someone at one end can socialize with someone at the other. Instead, divide your space into two different seating areas. Pull a loveseat and two chairs tightly together on one end, then do a simple pair on the other end. This way, you can have a more intimate, private setting for when you’re reading a book, but when guests come over, you have a larger entertaining space too. In other words, it’s ok if one seating area can’t do it all — divide and conquer!
BRING TOGETHER DINING AND SEATING
Another option for long, narrow porches? Dividing them into a separate seating and dining area. In the outdoor room above, we used our Newport Collection to create a dining space, anchored by an umbrella and outdoor rug, with a seating area. Outdoor rugs are a great way to help visually divide the space as they clearly indicate two different areas.
TWO LONG SECTIONALS SIDE-BY-SIDE
At the Southern Living Idea House, Suzanne Kasler was challenged with furnishing a long, narrow covered porch, and she placed two 4-piece sectionals from her Directoire Collection side-by-side to create two distinct and equally inviting spaces — create for hosting big parties! She finished off the two different areas with mirroredcoffee tables and lounge chairs.
On the porch of the Idea House Bunny Williams’ designed, she used just chairs to create a cozy but open porch. We love this because everyone gets their own seat, and with a porch as large as this, you can fit plenty of seating!
MIX IT UP
Why limit yourself to just one seating area? If you have a super long porch (what we wouldn’t give to hang out here during the summer!), mix it up. Here, you can see a pair of chairs in the foreground, a dining area, two chaise lounge, and a deep porch swing at the far end of the porch.