The weather may be taking a turn for the winter-y, but that doesn't mean we're ready to throw in the towel on our newfound love for outdoor leisure. After a summer spent in the backyard, on the patio, or lounging on the back deck, we've become accustomed to spending the better part of the day getting some fresh air outside—and we're reluctant to give it up just because the temperatures are threatening to drop.
Enter: screened-in porches. These ostensibly all-weather spaces are the perfect compromise between indoor and outdoor, offering protection from bugs (a much-needed asset, especially in humid areas), cover from unexpected cloudbursts, and an opportunity to blur the line between inside furniture and outside furniture—in the best way, of course. Even those who shudder at the idea of outdoor upholstery can get on board with putting a few plush pieces in this seasonal space.
Decorating a screened-in porch can be tricky, however. Because it's usable more months of the year than true outdoor zones, a few seasonal switch-ups are advisable: trade seagrass mats for something cozier underfoot when seasons turn, and pepper in a few plush pieces that make the space just as inviting in winter as in summer—we're thinking cozy throw blankets, of course. But there's no need to go overboard on seasonal decorating, either: part of the appeal of a screened-in porch is that it's an escape from the rest of the home, and effortlessness is in its DNA.
Read on for some of the most inspiring screened-in porch spaces we've found—just in time to make the transition to the next season a little sunnier.
Go Wild With Your Décor
This screened-in porch is nothing short of a mini-vacation. With lush emerald greens, subtle midcentury designs, and just the right amount of trendy woven rattan, we'd love to take our morning coffee (or evening cocktail) in this luxe retreat. Gossamer curtains complete the look—with a twist: here, classic white sheers are replaced with an unexpected gingham pattern for added interest in this treetop paradise.
A little color theory hack: surrounding yourself with lush green hues like the ones seen here might help lift your mood in the grey days of winter—all the more reason to go green.
DIY an Accent Wall
One of our favorite easy weekend hacks for a more statement-making screened-in porch or sunroom—painting one exterior wall of your home, to create a high-contrast backdrop for all-season styling. It's an often-overlooked move that can completely transform the look and feel of your space, and is affordable and budget-friendly, to boot. Just keep in mind that, if you ever remove the screened-in porch, you will likely need to repaint your exterior to match.
Mix Old and New
If you're not blessed with a historic, character-rich exterior, don't fret. A screened-in porch is a perfect place to incorporate some choice architectural salvage pieces to infuse an air of antiquity into your space. Here, a beautifully ornate door offers both color palette inspiration and instant old-world personality. This tip is particularly key if designing within a new-build, which can sometimes lack architectural detail in favor of bland "builder's standard" finishes.
Add More Than One Rug
Indoor-outdoor rugs are a natural complement to screened-in porches or sunrooms, but they're not the only option. While the commonly seen plastic-based rugs found at big-box stores have come a long way from where they started, there are still organic alternatives that can bring more warmth and richness to your space. Opt instead for natural pelts (which fare well underfoot, and can survive in many climates) or even a rugged woven rattan or seagrass mat to add some beach-y texture to your space. And don't be afraid to layer—sometimes, the best rug for a room is actually two (or three).
Layer Your Textiles
Screened-in porches and outdoor spaces are one of our favorite spots to give our design sensibilities carte blanche—whereas an interior design scheme may have to remain consistent from room to room, a screened-in porch is the perfect place to play with pattern mixing, fun tropical motifs, and other bold, off-the-wall style choices you wouldn't want to risk in your main living space. Layering in lots of textiles is a surefire way to not only create a cozy feel, but also add an element of exotic escape to your space...even if it's just a few steps from your kitchen.
Define Your Zones
If you happen to have enough square footage, defining multiple "zones" in your screened-in porch area is a useful way to make the most out of the room, all year round. Conversation areas can be visually separated from an al fresco dining setup with the strategic use of rugs, or even small floor-dwelling accessories like potted plants or lanterns to create the effect of "walls" in one space. Another element that makes a screened-in porch feel more home-y: curtains. We love the classic white sheers seen in this space, especially when a light breeze makes them billow dramatically...but bamboo shutters or shades are also a popular choice for achieving a different aesthetic.
Bring in the Greenery
Of course we'd all love to festoon our spaces with leafy greens and palm fronds galore, but some climates don't lend themselves to these types of plants year-round. The alternative? Embrace tropical, verdant plant life in the form of patterns, rather than the genuine article—these pillows and palm-y rug achieve a similar effect with zero maintenance. For a finishing touch, add in a string of cafe lights to create a garden glow reminiscent of warm summer nights, even in the dead of winter.
Make Use of Small Spaces
Short on square-footage? Not a problem—this cozy corner is proof positive that you can make a big impact inside a small footprint. A petite cafe set surrounded by plants is enough to make your early morning caffeine fix feel downright indulgent—without requiring a large time (or financial) investment. (Best of all, these small chair-and-table sets often go on sale this time of year...so be sure to snap them up if you're ready to create a year-round relaxing retreat.)