header photo

Porches are Popular: What to Consider When Constructing or Updating One

By De-de Mulligan


According to the United States Census Bureau, in the East North Central area, 70% of new construction homes or condos are adding porches versus 26% are adding decks.

It turns out screened-in porches were popular before centralized air conditioning became the norm. They were great places to escape from the sweltering summer heat that was trapped inside the house. Often, children and adults alike slept on the porch to obtain a good night’s sleep.

But now, porches are popular for many reasons, including preventing bug bites, overexposure to the sun, and as an escape from inclement weather. They are great gathering places for families to eat and entertain. And equally a place to enjoy nature and reflect quietly on your thoughts.

Here are a few things to consider when building or remodeling your porch.


Four Porch Specifics


Placement is Vital
Before you hire an architectural firm or buy your first piece of furniture, walk around your house to determine where the porch will be located. Here are three recommendations from architects Fred Wilson and Terri Crittenden:

  • Choose the location with the best view, ideally looking over a lake, garden, or natural area. However, make sure the porch does not take away from the perspective of the rest of the house.
  • Please stay away from the strongest midday sun as it can quickly bleach out your cushions and become the hottest room in the house.
  • Put it adjacent to a favorite indoor room, such as a family room or kitchen area, as an alternative place to gather or eat.


Size and Costs are Important

Architect Elizabeth Demetriades recommends a porch be around 12 x 18 feet with high ceilings. However, a minimum dimension should be 10 x 15 feet.


Building Materials and Amenities Must Be Decided

  • Flooring: determine whether you are going to install concrete, flagstone, or plywood covered with carpeting.
  • Screens or no screens: If you decide on screens, determine if they will be fixed or can be rolled up (when the bugs are not out).
  • Extras: A fireplace, sound system, and TV are excellent additions to make the porch a central gathering place, even on colder days and evenings.
  • Ceiling fans: one to two is recommended.


Invest in furniture and cushions that can withstand inclement weather. Have a table and chairs for dining that will seat six individuals comfortably and couches and overstuffed chairs for lounging and relaxing.


Once you complete the four steps listed above, you can fully enjoy your new room with a view!

Go Back