A book, a soft summer breeze and warm temperatures, plenty of pillows and my dogs sleeping and snoring nearby – a lovely way to spend many moments. Ah, then adding a porch swing would take it over the top. 🙂
When I purchased my home in my previous hometown, it was a French-Norman style architectural design. And while it did have a porch, a porch swing would not have fit the architecture. So while I initially desired a porch swing for that home, one never came to be.
There is something calming about a swing built for two people. Movement is occurring, but stability is present. Granted, no progress is being made, but sometimes being still is the best thing to understand which direction to go next . . . after climbing off of the swing.
In the back of my mind, swings have always provided comfort. Simple comfort, nothing ground-moving, but still comfort. Upon purchasing Le Papillon last fall, a Craftsman, the porch was begging for a swing, and this architecture fit it to a T.
With a gift over the winter holidays from my parents of a porch swing, now all I had to do was hang it. Hmmmm . . . How was I going to do that?
Fast forward to the first week of June, and my contractor who I am patiently working with to eventually start customizing my kitchen, kindly installed it as a way to clear out my garage to make room for my stove which was about to arrive. He did a beautiful job, and had it hung centered with the windows on the front of the house.
But the porch needed more than just a swing.
Before I share with you all of the after photos, let’s take a look to the right (photo) of how the space looked prior to the ceiling being painted and the lights being updated.
Today I would like to share with you seven ideas for creating a porch swing living space that is luxurious and calming.
1.Add semi-flush ceiling lighting
Since having lived in Nob Hill in Portland, as well as touring historic homes through the city as well as historic homes around Oregon, one simple detail that repeatedly caught my eye was the addition of semi-flush light fixtures for exterior rooms. Knowing exactly where I would find the styles I loved, I waited for a sale at Rejuvenation, made my purchase and realized I errantly purchased ones with canopies that were too small. Sooooo, I returned those and finally ordered the proper style to secure the proper canopy that would cover the existing hole in which currently canned recessed lighting was located.
The story behind the installation of these lights was shared in a recently newsletter sent out to subscribers, but needless to say, a teacher friend who unbeknownst to me had built his entire house, offered to install the lights, and did so without a hiccup in an hour or so a couple of weeks ago. I was beyond thrilled and so grateful for his generosity and time.
Decor Note: You will see in the following images that the doorbell and door handle of the door are still nickel. I will be updating those to also be aged brass to match the light fixtures.
But I wasn’t done with the ceiling updates yet.
2. Painting the ceiling with a satin finish and space-creating hue
The ceiling needed to be painted. Initially the ceiling had been painted the same light brown hue that exactly matched the beams that framed it (see the before picture at the top of the post) which gave the ceiling no introduction. As the ceilings enclose the space, I wanted to heighten the area and provide a glow rather when the lights were turned on, rather than a spotlight that was currently happening with the recessed lighting. Nobody wants to be on someone’s porch with bad lighting and feel as though they are being targeted and blinded. Such a detail seems insignificant, but trust me. If you want your guests to feel welcomed, as well as your being able to see who is ringing your door bell, there is a way to find a middle ground that makes both possible. It’s all about the paint color and how the light is dispersed.
I chose to paint the ceiling the same warm white of my house’s trim – Benjamin Moore’s Monterey White in satin. I wanted a bit of a sheen to again, create a glow when the lights were turned on. As you can see in the before and after picture from above, in daylight hours, it doesn’t look that significant, but it is in the evening and at night the effect is significantly improved and has I had hoped – warm, welcoming and enables reading to take place comfortably without strain.
~All paint seen is from Benjamin Moore, their Historical Collection: ceiling is Monterey White.
3. Add a rug that feels good to the feet and looks good to the eye
The porch is an extension of the home’s living space, so I chose to add a jute-blend rug that was soft to the feet and neutral in color to balance well against the cement floor. I also, as you can see, chose a rug that is not all one solid color which was intentional.
After taking Rita Konig’s interior design course online, she pointed out that prints or patterns actually allow your eyes to see through, or travel through, them thereby opening up the space. It seems backward, but it is actually true. And while she was referring to sofa upholstery, it works with rugs as well.
I will likely be adding a rug pad in the future to create even further softness to the feet, but even by itself, this rug is quite soft, and the boys love sleeping on it while I swing. As well, my feet do not need to be clad with a pair of shoes as I prefer walking out on to the porch barefoot as I go back and forth from the inside to the outside to listen to the birds, say hello to the neighborhood, water the pots, etc. (and it also keeps the rug cleaner).
4. Add cushions/pillows in vintage fabrics that are not too full
Another tip I learned from Rita Konig was the decor benefit of adding pillows covered in vintage fabric, and making sure the pillows are not over-stuffed and thereby hard and not cozy. Why? Vintage fabric adds interest and enables you to stray from matchy-matchy which you don’t want as it can often feel forced or trendy. I found these two separate pairs of 24″-square inch pillows made of vintage velvet fabric and fell in love (forest green & the apple green (lighter shade) is no longer available). Upon choosing a color for my porch, I decided I wanted to step away from any color that competed and did not complement the many plants and blooms that were in from of it – lavender, red and soft pink roses, salvia, Japanese maples and peach tulips in the spring. Green was the best choice as it offers no competition, yet stands out from the beige hues on the house. So long as I stay in this palette of green, I can bring in other, non-matching greens and they will work well – notice the vase and the napkins.
5. Purchase larger than you might expect
Initially I was concerned about the size of the pillows before they arrived, but these 24″-square pillows work perfectly to create a statement porch swing. Now you may be wondering, “Where do you sit?” or “Is there space for two people?”. Since I usually sit on the porch by myself or with Norman, I actually lay down in it like a hammock, and the pillows are perfect as it is much like a bed or a cloud of comfort. I have also placed one or two of the pillows on the rug to use as a hassock for my feet when I do sit up-right in the swing. I love having options as to how the pillows can be positioned, and and these pillows provide structure, softness as well as simple, comfortable options that can easily be packed away in late fall and winter.
6. Add side tables
Let me begin by sharing that I am looking for a shorter cement-finished side table for the near-side of the porch (where the current table sits) and want to place the tall table I currently have on the far end (near the corner) as the shorter table would be better for drinks and books and not block the view of the swing, and the tall table can hold items that don’t need to be reached for frequently as well as give height and interest to the end of the porch area. But that is an example of how our decor is constantly being added to and improved upon in order to be the most functional for how we truly want to live in our homes.
I have had the tall metal table for about five years now, and was happy to be able to put it to use in my new home. One piece of decor insight that I have discovered over the years is that by continuing to purchase along the way in your decor journey, and purchasing for how you want to live, you will be surprised how much of what you have, no matter what home you live in, will find a place that works well.
7. Add potted plants to frame the door or living space
The color of your pots is another element to think about when you are considering your color palette. This year I chose terra-cotta pots picked up on sale earlier this year and planted a mixture of primarily annuals with one perennial that will be potted out in the garden come fall for its forever home (hostas).
While I planted the creeping Jenny, hostas and begonias earlier in the spring, often the pots will need some sprucing up and additions or rearranging due to quality of the plant, how well we have taken care of it, etc., so don’t hesitate to update come summer. I added some coleus and sweet potato vines to add a punch of purple and complement the chartreuse in the host.
The porch and swing have become my place to begin the day as it is east facing and offers the warmth of the morning sun. In the evening and afternoon the porch swing has become my favorite place to go read a book or just take a quick nap as it is cool and shady, not touched by the wind thankfully if we have a blustery day.
I had considered covering the chains with rope as many have done on Pinterest, but the more I live in it, the more the chain works okay with the cement floor. If I continue with the silver metal tables and cement side-table I want to add, the color composition and balance of soft and hard items will work well. Of course, decor ideas may prompt me to change my mind as I come across them, but so far, the space has a nice balance of soft and hard, simple and luxurious and a space to relax and be comfortable for both people and dogs. 🙂
Below I have shopped the space for you as well as shopped for a handful of other styles, colors and shapes of swings, along with links to the decor accessories I included in the photos.
SHOP THIS SPACE
Shop a variety of styles, colors and sizes of porch swings below:
- Wayfair sells many quality, highly reviewed swings at varying price points and colors
- Hammmade makes luxury swings, swing beds in classic and craftsman style (the swing in the upper row, middle is from Hammmade)
SHOP DECOR Details:
- Green Apothecary vase – Sophie Conran – three sizes
- Seville Napkins, set of four – white and navy available – The White Company
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