An Ode To the Southern Porch

Photography by William Dickey

Every good Southerner knows that putting your best foot forward is of the utmost importance, and Southern homes are no exception. As an extension of your living space and a reflection of the charming style inside, your home’s exterior should envelop your guests in the welcoming embrace of Southern hospitality long before they set foot inside. From the fence and yard to the furniture on the porch to the color of the front door, no detail is too big or too small to go overlooked when it comes to extending a visual invitation to your neighbors.

Photography by John O’Hagan

In the South, outdoor living is essential, and there’s no better place to enjoy the warm weather than in one of the open-air spaces Southern homes are known for. Whether gathering with all of your family and friends or unwinding on your own with a cold drink and your favorite book, it’s always a good idea to sit for a spell and enjoy the view. So, let these style tips and inspirations help create an exterior that will not only make your guests feel welcome but also provide you with a place to appreciate all of the beauty that the region has to offer.

Photography by William Dickey

First Impressions

Not defined by specific architectural elements, Southern cottage style can encompass a wide variety of design elements and tastes. From the elegance of antebellum-style homes to the flair of coastal charmers to the rustic, rough-hewn stone of mountain cabins, the iconic hospitality of the lower United States can be found in nearly any style. Wherever there is sweet tea and a deep porch on which to enjoy it—and the year-round mild climate of the region—there’s no shortage of Southern charm.

Photography by William Dickey

Porch Pride

From the ceiling to the floorboards and every inch in between, each aspect of the porch is a chance to let your style shine. The painted blue porch ceiling is an iconic Southern feature that adds a cheerful note to an already charming space. And don’t forget the importance of the front door—from a natural wood finish to a vibrant, cheerful hue, the options are endless. And whatever design elements you choose for the rest of the porch, accenting your outdoor space with vibrant greenery and festive wreaths is a great way to add in a little lively style.

Photography by Marcy Black Simpson

Curb Appeal

White picket fences and window boxes are iconic for good reason, and helping your home stand out is all in the details. Make a colorful statement by filling flower boxes to the brim with your favorite blooms, and inject some new life into the space with an abundance of greenery. An entryway framed in climbing ivy and quaint window shutters painted in a bright hue can grant your home a fairy-tale feel, and outdoor lighting will let onlookers enjoy your yard’s beauty even after nightfall.

Photography by William Dickey

Outdoor Rooms

Take advantage of the region’s warmer climate. From weathered French daybeds to classic wicker sofas, the right outdoor seating can help you enjoy your home’s exterior space as outdoor rooms nearly year-round. Pile cozy cushions and throw pillows high in your gathering space to keep visitors in comfort, and consider an outdoor fireplace for cutting through the chill on cooler nights.

Photography by Jim Bathie

Bring the Indoors Out

Accompanied by the cicadas’ song and illuminated by twinkling fireflies, outdoor dinner parties are the best way to give your guests a night to remember. Make sure you have enough seating for all your friends and family, and create a spread that complements the beauty of your home’s surroundings. Bursting with bountiful greenery and wrapped in twisting growth, this enchanting outdoor space blurs the lines between the gathering space and nature beyond.

Photography by John O’Hagan

Swinging in Style

There’s no better place for Southern living than on the porch swing. From sprawling bed swings to cozier selections, these calming options for relaxation should be at the top of the must-have list for any front porch. And with an endless variety of materials, styles, and colors—from natural wood finishes to cheery coats of paint to weathered, rustic facades—they can blend beautifully into nearly any home’s style. Add outdoor-ready throw pillows in your favorite pattern for maximum comfort, and toss in a cozy throw for when the weather takes on a chill.

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