One porch decorated three ways
Liesa Cole

So Many Options

It's amazing how great minds don't always think alike. Given the challenge of decorating a totally blank porch area, three editors came up with three unique -- and totally different -- designs.

New England style
Liesa Cole

Lydia’s Porch

Sometimes inspiration can be found in the smallest of things. I found mine in this pillow, which led me to an ethnic but subdued approach to the porch.

Liesa Cole

Cool and Collected

The epitome of New England style, a pair of Adirondack chairs takes on a hip new demeanor when mixed with fresh accessories.

I chose cocoa and white accessories to form the basic color scheme but spiced things up with accents of robin’s egg blue. And a pillow I got from a Target collection introduces the chic bird motif.

Contrasting pillows
Liesa Cole

Avian Accents

I love finding pillows that contrast yet complement each other. This sky blue one with the bird appliqué coordinates well with the Moroccan-inspired print pillow. The rug features a henna motif -- and best of all, it is made of plastic so you can clean it with a broom and a hose.

Glass hurricane
Liesa Cole

A Bit of Shine

I like that the shimmer of the capiz on the drum table adds a note of glamour to the setting. And the glass hurricane is practical as well as pretty.

A pierced lantern in crisp white
Liesa Cole

Bright Idea

A pierced lantern in crisp white is a fresh take on the traditional hippie-chic, rusty version.

Cozy space
Liesa Cole

Kim’s Porch

My goal was to create an inviting space that could easily accommodate hanging out with friends yet still be cozy enough for just one or two.

Moroccan influences
Liesa Cole

Pillow Talk

The Look: There is definitely a Moroccan influence mixed with a bit of an island feel and some southwestern accents. I wanted it to be bold and mildly exotic so that you feel almost as if you are on vacation. These differing pillows look like well-traveled souvenirs.

Bold palette
Liesa Cole

Bohemian Chic

Decorating outdoors lets you take chances with colors you might not try inside, and I jumped at the opportunity. I was a little all-over-the-place with my bold palette of red, blue, and green, but the white cushions and curtains balance things out and allow for this sort of play with color.

Oversized pillows
Liesa Cole

Bench Press

I softened the structure of the bench (a modern take on the ones in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris) by using oversized pillows. It sits low to the ground, which only emphasizes the relaxing nature of this space.

The best part about the bench and matching chair is they are made from rustproof metal and the ivory cushions are moisture- and mildew-resistant, making them ideal for this covered porch.

Beanbag ottoman
Liesa Cole

Bean Counter

My favorite piece of furniture is the beanbag ottoman. It’s a more modern take on the retro chair, and it can serve as a footrest, a table, or extra seating. The fabric is water resistant and washable, which makes it great for covered patios.

Depending on how often you clean your porch, the bottom may get a bit dirty, so I recommend putting a hand towel underneath to help protect the fabric.

Wicker lamp
Liesa Cole


As the sun sets, the patio can really come to life with mood lighting from this wicker lamp. I hung it by a simple hook so that when the weather turns wet or windy it can easily be brought inside. It would also be great as a chandelier over a dining table.

Simple layout
Liesa Cole

Final Touches

This rug was the perfect fit to go underneath the bright red side table. I love the mosaic pattern, and it actually helped establish my use of the primary-color palette. Using lots of candles created the feeling of intimacy and added pops of color.

TIP: Mix in a few citronella candles to keep insects at bay.

Southern porch
Liesa Cole

Dawn’s Porch

I knew I wanted to create a simple layout (with relaxing style) where my husband and I could hang out after work or entertain friends and family on the weekend. Since we are newlyweds on a budget, I chose to purchase most of the items at local closeout stores, including HomeGoods and Tuesday Morning.

When our photographer arrived and saw my setup, she said, “This is perfect for the modern Southern girl!” I couldn’t agree more.

Teak table
Liesa Cole

Breaking Up the Space

It’s imperative to have multiple seating options on a porch this size. The large table and chairs are actually a set, so they could easily be moved together for a dinner party.

The durable teak furniture is perfect for an outdoor room yet decorative enough to bring inside if needed.

Sectioned container
Liesa Cole

Nature’s Decor

Greenery comes out of the garden and onto my porch. I used seasonal plants as fragrant accents on the tables and as a way to accent the colors in the wood, rug, and pillows.

This two-piece planter is wonderful for the outdoor table. I made a mini-herb garden out of it, but it’s also perfect for appetizers and utensils. Plus, it fits around an umbrella.

Liesa Cole

Plush and Cozy

I found these lovely pillows when I was out shopping with my mom on a Saturday afternoon, and I liked them so much that I based this entire porch design around them.

These accents are actually for indoor decor, but I brought them outside to add a cozy feel to the setting.

The orange outdoor rug really anchors the space and sections this area off from the rest of the porch. I’m usually not a fan of orange, but this warm hue fit right in with the look I was going for.

Outdoor fan

Cool Breezes

The South is notorious for warm, humid summers. So for a cool flow of air through the space, this cute outdoor fan really does the trick.

When you’re decorating on a budget, it’s important to shop wisely and choose pieces that are decorative and functional. In this space, every piece works with the others to create a serene and sophisticated style.

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