A woman smiles sitting in a wicker loveseat on a porch. the evening sun streams in and she looks faraway past the dark pink roses climbing up a trellis along the porch edge. a brown Labrador pokes his head in her lap looking for attention .

What Makes a Farmhouse Family Porch?

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A Family Porch can be many things. Not only is a porch a beautiful place to hang out: I consider it an asset. A family porch provides so many different memories. It holds the riches of many conversations. It gives us shelter at parties. People have even gathered in dresses and ties around our porch to celebrate a wedding. It has been a date night’s sitting room when we couldn’t get away from the house and a play room for the kids. It’s a dining area on hot summer days. Our porch gets messy. The family porch takes wear and tear. It’s lived in and loved.

A woman smiles sitting in a wicker loveseat on a porch. the evening sun streams in and she looks faraway past the dark pink roses climbing up a trellis along the porch edge. a brown Labrador pokes his head in her lap looking for attention .

I’d always dreamed of having a porch to sit on with family and friends. The idea of a farmhouse front porch evokes pictures in black and white where people sit on porch swings and even on the steps to just sit and talk.

If you have a porch, I hope you find inspiration to use it to it’s potential. If you don’t have a porch, look at what you do have. Perhaps a patio or balcony? Take care of it and make space for living outside with your family.

The Purpose of the Family Porch

When making any space into living quarters it’s important to first decide it’s sole purpose. Is it to sit (living room)? Is it to eat (dining room)? To sleep (bedroom)? Our family porch is a general living hub in the summer months. The main parts of life (eating, sharing conversation, playing, etc.) all happen here. It’s not specifically a place for sleeping but that doesn’t mean it’s never happened!

A toddler sleeps on a soft pillow atop a wicker loveseat in summer

Adapt your Porch Space to Align with Your Purpose

Here is the main purpose of our family porch and how we strive to provide the “tools” for accomplishing this purpose.

Purpose: To provide a place for living the best parts of life with eyes wide open. Loving others, laughing with others, time for self renewal and sharing food and drink.

In order to accomplish our purpose I’ve taken steps to make that easy and natural!

Note that our space is FAR from perfect. This is only meant to give you ideas and stimulate creativity in your own space!

Conversation with Others

  • Comfy seating and extra chairs in case they’re needed
  • Blankets or extra pillows if needed
  • Safe places to put any bags or purses friends may bring

Sharing Food and Drink

A young boy enjoys a bagel on a farmhouse porch next to his brown lab dog. In the background, a wicker chair set sits inviting people to come and stay awhile.
  • Side tables to rest plates and cups
  • We use a child size picnic table for our little ones
  • Easily accessible napkins, cups or tableware
  • During summer months it may be feasible to keep a self serve drink station on the porch with water
  • I love keeping my food safe from bugs such as wasps with a covered plate made for outside

Play Time on the Family Porch

A colorful vintage worn wood croquet set against mustard yellow planked house on a farmhouse porch
  • We have a galvanized tub set aside to “home” smaller outside toys such as chalk or bubbles.
  • I only allow one or two large toys to be stored on the porch so that it doesn’t become cluttered. It’s much easier to remember where one thing goes, compared to remembering where 4 toys are stored.
  • Inside toys are allowed outside on the porch, but only for part of a day so mom can make sure they get put away inside.

Quiet Time on Our Family Porch

books are set inside a sideways leaning wooden crate. Next to the books, a thermometer acts as a book end. The crate bookshelf sits atop a white wicker side table on a farmhouse porch.
  • Find a safe storage area such as a cupboard or bin (away from rain) to keep a few books for outside use.
  • We don’t have one- but a porch swing, indoor style swing or (therapy swing for kids) is a great tool to have for personal reading and calming down overstimulated children. I hope to have an indoor style swing for rainy days soon but my sensory seeking son OFTEN goes out to our hammock (similar to this one) in the yard.
  • Extra blankets also come in handy during quiet time and my while doing homework with my son 😉

Make it the New Normal

To help truly make your porch space the “Family Porch” make a rhythm of going there. It might start by having friends over and sitting out there. Then perhaps you eat breakfast on the porch the next day. Maybe you pick an activity usually done inside to do outside on the porch a few times a week.

While switching living areas from inside to outside, making a new routine is important. We are creatures of habit and if we are used to one thing, our bodies automatically go to that “one thing.”

Getting into the habit of going out on the porch will contribute to more and more times of being out on the porch together.

Don’t Stress Over the Little Things

While Better Homes and Gardens may show the best and cleanest Porches throughout their pages, your porch CAN be just as magical for your family.

It doesn’t need to be flawless and perfect to make good memories!

Children play under blankets and sheets inside a home made fort. A large sheet is held up over them like a tent by the wicker seating on a porch.

Start a normal routine to clean the porch or sweep as you do in any other living space. We tend to cherish the things we care for most. Realize that you are outside and nothing will be perfect among the cobwebs and dirt. Make it comfortable and then ENJOY it! The perfection here comes in slowing down and taking in the outside world with those around you!

Hope you get some inspiration from this post and are able to use your family porch (or other outside space) to make great memories this summer!

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From the Hilltop,


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