Porches | What's Popular

It's Spring and, I don't know about everwhere else but, the weather is beautiful here!  It was pretty hot a few days ago but it's been breezy and cool this past weekend and couldn't feel any more like the perfect Spring weather!  Needless to say, we were outside a lot, which got us thinking about porches.  Porches, especially in Florida, are a big deal.  States where you can be outdoors for a number of days out of the year make porches a big deal.  So today we're talking porch design and what features are popular to have on your porch.  It's funny because porches have really become an extension of the home.  Similar to the way the kitchen is treated--a functional space that's more of a gathering place now, porches are like outdoor living rooms!  So here are some things to consider adding in your next porch renovation

Comfy seating is a huge deal on a porch.  Unless you don't want to be able to enjoy your porch, I guess.  For some people, this means upholstered furniture that almost looks like it belongs indoors, for others it means things like hammocks or swings--something to relax in while enjoying the view.  Whatever your seating of choice is, make it something that you don't mind spending awhile in.  A porch is for enjoying the view or relaxing with a friend so you don't want to have to cut your time short because of uncomfortable chairs.

Porches are also getting much more decorative.  Ceiling details and column additions are popular now.  These are things that need to make sense with the rest of your house so that the overall look of everything flows.  A wood-slat ceiling and a great light or nice outdoor fan can make an outdoor space instantly feel welcoming and you'll feel like you're enjoying an extension of your home rather than just "sitting outside".

An outdoor fireplace really makes a big statements on a porch.  It can be a big built-in fireplace with a chimney or something a little more scaled down like a firepit or chiminea.  Either way, the added ambiance a fire creates is almost priceless and will be especially nice on those chilly nights!

Fall is in the Air | Decorating your Fireplace

If you live in Florida like we do, you may have a fireplace that you never use.  For some this is because it's simply too hot and there's really never a need for a fire.  For others, it's because they haven't kept up with the scheduled maintenance of their fireplace so it's just not safe to start a fire in it.  Either way, you are in a scenario where you have an un-used space in your home.  We hate un-used spaces.  To make it worse, most fireplaces are a focal point in a room, so an un-used one that sits there empty year-round can really be an eyesore.  We never want you to have un-used space in your home--visually or functionally, so today we're discussing ways that you can put that fireplace to good use and make it a focal point you'll want to look at!

A lot of the time, a fireplace is messy.  It's got ashes and soot and who knows what else that has fallen in from the chimney, so people don't want to deal with it and just put a fire gate in front of it to make it all go away.  Mistake #1!  If you're gong to use your fireplace on a regular basis, ok, we can make an excuse for that, but if you're not, you've got no reason to clean that up!  Get your shop vac and put your gloves on and get that fireplace clean.  Then! Once it's all clean, paint it!.  Whether you've got brick, a mixture of wood & stone, or tile, a nice coat of white paint can really transform a dingy old fireplace.  Of course, this may mean you'll have to paint the walls white as well, but we like this look so we say do it!  Once you've painted your fireplace, you have a clean slate for any sort of decorative item you choose to place in it.

Greenery is a great fireplace filler.  We know, this may sound weird, but greenery is always a nice way to liven up a dull area.  Greenery brings life, texture and color to a space.  It's also versatile in shape, so no matter what size or style of fireplace you're trying to fill, there's some sort of greenery that can work for you.

Aside from greenery, there are other forms of nature that can work in a fireplace.  Stacked logs are currently on-trend to fill un-used spaces in a variety of room types.  This option is nice because it's earthy and fragrant and also creates texture, but the logs can last a while and don't have to be burned.  Maybe the stacked log look isn't for you but you do appreciate natural forms. Trying using a large piece of knotty driftwood as a sculpture in your fireplace (once it's painted, of course).  This is a little cleaner and simpler but still offers an interesting focal point.

If you're not so interested in bringing the woodsy feel to your home but you'd still like to decorate your fireplace, try using it as a display area for various piece of art. Framed art can be leaned on the mantel and against the front of the fireplace or even in the back of the fireplace, if it's been cleaned like we suggested. :)  Leaning art can be mixed with stacked books or magazines as well to create various groupings and add texture.

When it comes to scale, try incorporating fewer larger items.  One big piece of art or one large sculpture or bowl to keep the look streamlined.  But keep in mind the size of your fireplace, mantel, and surround while selecting pieces that fit the appropriate scale.

Of course, if all of these items scare you, you can always use candles.  We'll warn you, candles can be messy but the can give the look of ambient fireplace lighting without the maintenance of a wood-burning fire.