Until yesterday, our enclosed front porch was my nemesis. It is a long, skinny room with concrete floors, scraps of indoor-outdoor carpet, and all of the dead bugs in Iowa. I don’t know how they coordinate it (or why they have chosen this room) but I swear that all of the bugs in Iowa come here to die. Those factors (combined with the room’s lack of AC in the summer and heat in the winter) led to my love-hate relationship with this room. I love it because it has so much potential. The bright light offered from its many windows in the daytime and the cozy secludedness if offers in the evenings. Since we moved here last June, I knew this room had potential. Other essential living areas in our home have taken priority, but since we feel totally settled I decided to tackle the forgotten front porch.
We hosted a Halloween party for trick-or-treaters on this porch, complete with a pancake bar and photo “boo”th. It was a really lovely way to utilize this space for once, and I’m thankful we were able to do it! The Halloween decor never exactly made its way to storage, so for the past four months this room has contained felt leaves, vinyl pumpkin tablecloths, and signage from the party. Our mail slot drops directly onto the porch, so you can see my lovely pile of junk mail that I usually ignore.
Ben and I decided to finally give the porch some love and attention, and invested in some new furniture last weekend at IKEA. We wanted to make this space cozy, functional, and kid-friendly. Our friends have lots of small kids, and our house doesn’t have a space for them to play and be silly. We wanted this room to be a place that we could sit and read in the evenings, and make available to kids when our friends come over. When I was designing the room, I kept these things (and a small budget) in mind for every decision.
Here are some photos that really inspired me during the design process.
I really love the string lights, greenery, and symmetry in the first space.
The bold black and white striped throw pillows and fuzzy sheepskin in the second photo create a nice contrast between hard and soft. Again, the string lights and greenery sang to me! These inspiration photos are both outdoor spaces, but I wanted our enclosed porch to feel like an outdoor retreat. The big windows and view of the park across the street make this room feel connected to the outside more than the inside. I wanted to connect the coziness of a living room with the organic elements of nature. We bought a few plants so far, but I plan on including more as our budget allows.
When we went to IKEA, our goal was to find a few chairs, an end table, and some plants. I saw these beautiful rocking chairs when we walked in, and had my heart set on the black and white striped print.
Sadly, these rocking chairs were way out of our price range (At $150.00 a piece!). I am glad I saw them though, because my vision was solidified. I knew I wanted to look for black and white, neutral wood, and greenery. We found some great pieces from IKEA and mixed them with things we already owned. I vacuumed every inch of this space and ironed the curtains while Ben put together all the furniture. Now that I’ve talked about our vision and my design plan, here are some photos of the finished product!
(The bird poster is a sheet of wrapping paper from Cavallini)
The hanging planter is from IKEA. I put some fake leaves in there until I can buy a plant!
My favorite Rifle Paper Co. books! (minus Little Women, which is on my nightstand)
The black vintage trunk is from a local auction, and is functioning as a toybox (full of new IKEA toys for visiting children!) I plan on adding coloring books and crayons soon. 🙂
With the black and white striped rocking chairs in mind, we picked a more affordable option that I am so happy with. The plain white chairs were $49 a piece, and paired perfectly with black and white pillows ($10 each). I am so glad we didn’t have the money to buy the striped chairs because A) I totally would have and B) I would be forever committed to black and white stripes. The plain white chairs will work in any room with any other furniture, and I can just switch out the pillow covers if I get antsy for a change.
*Design Tip: When purchasing furniture, keep things simple! Look for pieces that can work with the things you already own, and will still blend with your home as your style evolves. Incorporate pattern, color, and style in your accessorizing. A throw pillow or blanket can be substituted much easier and much cheaper than new furniture.*
Another big change was the white curtains. We needed larger curtains that could close and cover the whole window. The plaid curtains left from the previous owner didn’t cover the whole window. This would be totally okay if we had blinds or roman shades, but we don’t! Buying larger curtains was a cheaper and easier option for us. We also saved money by buying shorter curtains. I leaned towards the floor length ones, but Ben and his practicality leaned towards the shorter ones that I wouldn’t have to take the time to hem. We bought four packs of these white curtains for $60 total (two packs for this corner, and two packs for the opposite end of the porch). We saved $40 by purchasing the shorter length, and I think they look better than the longer ones would have looked! We also bought three small white stools ($5 a piece) that can be used for extra seating or end tables.
I already had the two colorful rag rugs that I bought a few months ago at Walmart for $10 a piece. I layered them with an IKEA sheepskin that feels so soft on my feet.
In the Spring, I may paint the walls white to brighten and freshen things up a bit, but I am perfectly content with the cream colored paint for now. We will continue to tweak things and hopefully add more plants, but this space has transformed from a dead bug graveyard to a cozy, kid-friendly retreat! Ben and I have already enjoyed a meal on the porch last night, and coffee time out here this morning!
Here’s a list of sources for all of the things we bought from IKEA. Everything not listed was already somewhere in our home!
Thanks for reading about our IKEA porch makeover!