Porches were originally intended for purely utilitarian function, and became popular in the American South where the summer heat was intolerable without a shaded respite. Porches also provided a way to communicate with neighbors and keep an eye out on the surrounding land, a space open to nature within the safety of home. Throughout the majority of the 20th century porches were no longer a key element in residential architecture, but they are again gaining in popularity.

Numerous house styles make use of the porch as their defining element. Choose a Craftsman home with a deep, shaded porch, a Greek Revival house with stately columns providing a grand entrance. Farmhouse, Country, Tidewater, and Bungalow homes will also offer the comfort of outdoor living at the front of the home.

Stylistic details of the porch often define the character of a house. For example, columns can be one or two stories high, round or square, light and airy, or heavy and grounding. Cornices, piers, woodwork, and rooflines are different for every style; and of course paint color can be used to further enhance a porch's appeal. Craftsman homes usually have heavy piers that extend to ground level, with lighter columns supporting the roofline. Queen Anne homes will have woodwork painted in a variety of colors to set their unique architectural elements apart. A farmhouse usually evokes a simpler time and is often painted white with basic columns and balustrade.

Today's porches still serve the utilitarian need for shade, but they are quickly becoming an extension of the interior home. Owners treat the porch as an outdoor room and display their decorative style for guests to see before even entering the home. Outfit your porch with fans, unique light fixtures, porch furniture, and artwork that suits your own personal style.

Floor Plan AFLFPW19428 - Home with Front Porch

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