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kristen_hallock

Help me sprucen up my screened-in porch (cheaply)

Kristen Hallock
14 years ago

I have a pretty nice screened in porch on the back of my house. Its off the kitchen with a 6' sliding glass door to the kitchen. its great for summer nights. But we dont use it hardly as much as i would like to.

Its not very inviting looking inside. And we aim to fix that by putting a tongue & groove hardwood ceiling in, and adding a ceiling fan that will hang down a bit. Plus we would like to put hardwood on the floor at some point too. Now the floor is just the original decking (porch was put over existing deck), with a outdoor carpet cut out to fit the entire floor so that bugs dont get thru.

Now, I am having a party for my husband's birthday and I would like to do something to spruce up the place a bit. I'll re-oil the wooden furniture I think. I could buy some of those paper lanterns, but does anyone else have any other ideas?

I'd have to be able to do it rather quickly and I dont want to spend too much $$. I think the color of the wood frame really makes the place look dingy. But that color is also the color of the deck off of the porch, so I am not sure I can easily change it? I think I would have to paint the entire deck inside and out. Obviously I will clean up the clutter and I will probably move the grill to the outside deck.

Thanks!

Here are some pics

The roof where we will someday have a real ceiling

Comments (29)

  • Sueb20
    14 years ago

    I feel like it just needs some color. You mentioned paper lanterns. A friend of mine just had a party where she decorated with those ball-shaped paper lanterns with battery operated lights inside. They were all white and lime green, and it looked wonderful. Some were hanging from the ceiling of the porch, and some were just sitting on the floor in the corners. I would get paper lanterns in a couple of colors, and then use the colors elsewhere in the room -- maybe in some potted plants, a tablecloth on the table, etc. You could also add a colorful indoor/outdoor rug under the table and chairs. You could even just string white Christmas lights around, but that wouldn't really add any color.

    I love screen porches (hm, I should check the Sister Mary Vocabulary post to see if this is covered: is it 'screen' porches or 'screened' porches?). With a few doses of color, yours can be very inviting!

  • megsy
    14 years ago

    You need GREENERY!!

    Plants will go a very, very long way in making that space inviting.

    You can even hang a very tight clothesline across one end to add hanging plants if you desire.

  • folkvictorian
    14 years ago

    Hi, Khallock - now's the perfect time of year to find summer stuff on clearance, so I bet you'll be in luck! Sueb20's right, add some potted plants and, depending on what part of the country you're in, you'll find some beautiful flowering perennial plants on sale right now. To change the look of the plastic pots, replant the plants in decorative pots or classic terracotta ones and cover the dirt with a layer of dried moss from the craft store.

    If you shop at Walmart, they have some very stylish paper lanterns on clearance right now in the garden department and the colors are very *in* ones -- bronzes and greens and rich reds. I bet you could also find a summer floor rug on clearance at Kohl's or a similar place. Brighten up and lighten up and you'll have a wonderful new space!

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago

    Your porch looks just like my folks, and they did just what you are saying--spruced up the ceiling, installed ceiling fans, refinished the floor. I would get a tablecloth for the table, something colorful, and matching cushions for the chairs. Yes, now is the time to get these on sale. And you can have a couple of different patterns if you like and can afford, and can switch them out when you get bored with one. (I'm not saying do this now, I'm just saying that's a selling point to getting cushions, IMHO). My mom, the knick nack queen (hope I have the spelling right on that, lol!) has an etagere on the porch with ceramic things, etc, but only do that if you like artsy thingies to dust. Lots of gorgeous options for plants and candle holders and candle lanterns. Even a mobile. My folks have a sailboat mobile on their porch, as my dad loves boats. There are lots of outdoor clock options, metal sculptures to hang on the walls . . .

    And I would absolutely get a couchy glider or even a free standing hammock to go out there. My folks put a glider on their porch, perfect for those afternoon naps. And then a nice colorful area rug. Plus a small coffee table for the tray and pitcher of lemonade.

    Honestly, porches are my favorite "rooms" of the house (can't you tell!) and the most fun to decorate.

  • oceanna
    14 years ago

    I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some lovely summer pictures to inspire you, and hopefully give you some good ideas of what you might do with things you already have, or CL finds and a little elbow grease...

    Here's what you can do with your floor right now...

    See anything there that makes your heart go pitty-pat?

  • daisymc
    14 years ago

    I think you should paint the ceiling sky blue, and the trusses white. And also add flowers and plants. You have a nice area to work with

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago

    OMG I have died and gone to porch heavan! LOVE that huge wall clock! I remember visiting my grandma as a little girl and she had a bed out on the porch, I used to take naps out there. Of course she didn't live in a row house neighborhood like I do, she lived out in the country-ish. She had a big screened in porch surrounded by huge maple trees. The best part about grandmas porch was that was where she kept the cookie jar! On a table right next to the beast of a freezer and the jelly cabinet. Just a across from the garden tools and malathion sprayer, lol! She also had a rug loom out there, and hand made rag rugs on the floor.

  • fussy_chicken
    14 years ago

    Oceanna, those pics are sooo beautiful. Sigh.
    My porch is just not measuring up right now.

  • kcsunshine_2006
    14 years ago

    You have a good long-term plan!

    For the short term get an (inexpensive) outdoor rug or two that coordinates with your indoors -

    Get some coordinating pillows for the chairs.

    Take the grill outside, if possible. Put in its place a folding table from Sams or Wal Mart that you can cover with some inexpensive fabric - maybe some burlap, or something else with some texture. Throw a square of color on top. You can serve food & drinks from there. Something tall and green perhaps on the table? A flower pot that you have outside?

    A string of lights of some sort across the ceiling

    and inexpensive tealights from Pier One or some such in clear jars on the tables -

    And its a party!!

  • justgotabme
    14 years ago

    Well I've scrolled all the way down here and now I can't remember anyones names! Anyway here's my scoop on the ideas above and some of my own....

    1. If you have a Dollar Tree or other "good" dollar store check for battery operated paper lanterns.

    2. You most likely have clear Christmas lights and some nails/hooks already so that's a no cost addition.

    3. If you have any potted plants bring them to the porch at least for the party.

    4. If you can possibly get cushions for your chairs that would really make them more inviting. Even if you just add a little lumbar pillow or seat cushion for now.

    5. Buy yards and yards of the cheapest muslin when on sale. Either wash it first or cut extra long to allow for shrinkage. Tack it to the edge of the "ceiling" letting it drape just a bit as you go. This could be done just in the corners or all around.

    Well while typing this I chatted with my hubby and now it's bedtime. If I think of anything else I'll stop by tomorrow. Whatever you do have fun.

    Oceana, you have many of the same inspiration pictures I have! Not sure you don't have all that I have and then some. I'll be back tomorrow to save some of yours!

  • loribee
    14 years ago

    Oceanna...you are AMAZING! Now I want a porch, LOL!

    Such great inspiration~
    Good luck and make sure you show us the finished room!

  • lazy_gardens
    14 years ago

    Paint the ceiling - any color would do, although a pale blue is traditional. It looks unfinished now.

    Paint the floor - even paint a rug on it.

    That will get you 80% of the way to what you want with permanent and inexpensive projects.

  • lazy_gardens
    14 years ago

    OOPS! Didn't see that it's a rush job.

    I'd hang some "banners" - tack cheap cloth, even bedsheets, to the rafters to make a tent-like effect. Recycle the cloth after the party.

  • nanny2a
    14 years ago

    Along with those suggestions above, this is what I'd do. Instead of re-oiling that dried wood, I'd spray paint your existing deck chairs white, and add some colorful cushions. Fill all those terra cotta pots with flowers or plants and cluster them in groups in each corner. Drape the table with a colorful scarf or topper.

  • Kristen Hallock
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks everyone! These are really great ideas.

    I actually have a 9x6' dhurrie rug that was from our old house but is now stored in the basement that I think I can use out on the porch, its striped with red and yellows I believe. I am going to take that out and use it. I love the idea of covering the table with a nice table cloth. I think I will go for classic white and maybe a square of red on top to match the rug.

    Will definitely bring the grill outside for the party at least.

    I'll post pics when I have completed it!

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago

    Now is also a good time to find some colorful, cheap plastic dishes. I bought a big plastic tray with a flower design at it for very cheap at TJ Maxx or some such discounty store, and got a pitcher and cups in matching multi-colors at the dollar store. Folks always rave when I serve lemonade on it, how elegant it is, lol! You can also get lovely patterned serving-sized plastic bowls for a song. I've had mine for years, they are a great investment. Always ready to pull out for an instant party. I get almost all my stuff like that at K-mart, the Dollar store, TJ Maxx, you can even pick up cute stuff at the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

    The nurseris/garden stores are also having sales on all their plants now, you could fill those pots with colorful annuals for pretty cheap now, if that's what you want to do with them. I planted up a whole bunch of pots with annuals and a few herbs last weekend on my back patio, added a lot of fun color out there.

  • bodiCA
    14 years ago

    Personally, I like the wood, and I find it easier to refresh with oil rather than painting. The view of the trees is lovely also. Some solar lights in the trees would expand the party space and look fabulous. Do you have a theme for your husbands party? It is a perfect space to decorate endlessly. Exactly what I have begged my hubby for over 30 years! If you don't have a theme yet, what are your hubbys hobbies, and intrests with his friends? What kind of party would really delight him?

  • margaritalady
    14 years ago

    We LOVE our screened porch and started out with something very similar to yours. Begin thinking of it as an extension of your home--virtually all of Oceanna's inspiration pics do this. Pillows, lamps, candles, area rugs, plants, wall decor (you can hang things on the siding wall and on the vertical posts) all give it more of a cozy feeling. If you plan on having a larger group of people, maybe moving the table onto the outer deck and using the porch for just seating would help unify the area.

  • Kristen Hallock
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Well there is no theme for the party. He's into sailing. But I would kind of like the keep the decorating permanently (weather permitting).

    I think moving the table to the deck would be nice for the party. Would you move the chairs also? Or keep chairs on the porch?

    Someday we would like to have one of those outdoor teak couches on the porch, but can't swing the cost of that right now. Thanks!

  • zipdee
    14 years ago

    Fantastic inspiration pictures, Oceanna!

  • abundantblessings
    14 years ago

    I'd paint the inside trim white to match your house trim and paint the ceiling a light blue. The rafters can be blue too for a more subtle effect. No need to worry about painting the exterior trim if that's not within your long-term plans or time frame, but the interior porch could feel as inviting as your home. Not expensive or very time consuming, but will make a world of difference.

    Oil your furniture and get some pretty pillows for the chairs and for the rocker. Add some blooming plants, and whatever colorful decoration you'd like. I'd keep the table and chairs on the porch if mosquitos are a problem, and just treat the area as an outdoor room. You can always borrow decor from inside for the party. Have fun!

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago

    I wonder if you live near my folks Khallock, my dad is into sailing and they just sold their lakefront condo that had a screened in porch FILLED with sailing tchotkes. And I know they are having a garage sale this weekend to get rid of a fair bit of it! But anyway, there are probably many more people around the country having similar sales, lol!

    My dad cracks me up, he cleans everything out and has these garage sales, but his hobby is going to garage sales!! It's never ending.

  • oceanna
    14 years ago

    Lpinkmountain, I loved reading about your precious memories with your grandmother. I'm glad I could bring that back for you. :o)

    FussyChicken, Loribee, Zipdee thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the photos! That means a lot to me. It took me quite a while to get those together and post them since I had to plow through a kazillion pix to find them. I hope you all save the pix you like as inspirations for your future projects, though I did post them to the gallery too. Ya just never know how long those gallery threads will last.

    Justgottabme, lol! I know you get some great collections of pix up. You know you (and everyone) are always welcome to add pix to my gallery threads.

    Khallock, I don't know if you found the photos helpful or not, but if you did, you can find more in the Cottage Decor thread in the Gallery I think. Also, a bunch of us are pretty good at DIY on a tight budget, so if you want something but it's out of your price range at any time, you can always ask here for ways to get it with a little trash-to-treasure elbow grease.

  • justgotabme
    14 years ago

    I always forget to check out the gallerys until you mention them Oceanna. I should add the gallery to favorites right below my link here. Then I "might" remember.

  • bodiCA
    14 years ago

    Another thought, keep the wood and use cloth to drape any way you like, from beam to beam or center to side. You could chang it every month easy to machine wash and keep clean, a different color or pattern, string lights in front or to glow behind the fabric. I so wish I had a porch like yours to enjoy!

  • yayagal
    14 years ago

    Oceanna I have to say how much I appreciate all the effort in gathering and the gallery work that you do for all of us. You have no idea how often I've accessed them. Just this morning I was looking for inspiration in the bedroom threads and, once again, it's your gallery pictures that do the trick. This forum is really fortunate to have such a giving person. You're the best!!!

  • kathy77
    14 years ago

    I'd try to make 2 seating areas. A comfy one on one end, with a glider or wicker couch or loveseat, with pretty cushions, surrounded by a coffee table & chairs. On the other end of the porch, have a table and chairs for eating or playing cards or whatever. A pretty tablecloth with a coordinating color and you're off to a good start.

  • oceanna
    14 years ago

    Justgotta, yes do. I often go there with a question in my mind, like, "How should I accessorize this table?" Or "What kind of drapes would look good here?" Within a few minutes I have my answers.

    Yayagal, thanks! It's worth all the time and effort I put in if I know folks like you are getting good from those threads. :o)

  • hoosiergirl
    14 years ago

    Oceanna, I just wanted to second Yayagal's "THANK YOU"! I, too, often view your pics for inspiration. The porch photos will help immensely since we're finally having our screened porch/deck built. I had posted asking for help with the design a year or more ago, and now it's coming to fruition and the decorating fun part is going to start very soon! Thank you very much!!

    Khallock, I hope you share your after pics!

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