How to Design Your Enclosed Porch


Properly designed, an enclosed space makes ideal outdoor living space. It's important to design the porch to be easily accessible from living areas. Well-designed doors, such as French doors or sliding doors, often work well to make a living area and porch area flow together almost seamlessly. A porch is a good place to relax or entertain, plus enjoy outdoor views. An enclosed porch on a house located in a busy urban district can also provide a nice connection to city surroundings.

Things You'll Need

  • Porch design books
  • Outdoor living magazines
  • Online porch design websites
  • Measuring tools
  • Sketch pad and pencil
  • Graph paper
  • Obtain porch design books and outdoor living magazines to review good porch features. Examine porches that are enclosed with glass, louvered materials or siding. Go online to look at special porches that have been built in as a family gathering place. Make notes about ideas that are appealing. Review building designs, materials, windows and doors used and other amenities.

  • Measure the actual porch space to figure out how much room the design will include. Draw the house facade to scale on graph paper and include details of the porch to complement the house. Allow one square of graph paper to represent four inches of real space. Design a porch roof that will include overhangs and under-arch areas that match the architectural design of the house.

  • Create the porch exterior door to look good from the home's curbside. Decide where the exit door to the sidewalk area will go before sketching windows or exterior siding for the porch enclosure. Figure out the traffic flow into the house to make sure porch furnishings will be placed appropriately. Add amenities to the drawings of the porch that will include a skylight or storage shelves, for example.

  • Sketch each interior wall and its corresponding exterior facade. Plan to put wall studs for enclosing parts of the porch on 16-inch centers. Consider using pressure-treated lumber for roof areas, especially since the porch may attract moisture if windows are left open a lot. Design the roof covering to match the house materials. Use roof materials in the same color as the house roof.

  • Don't forget to include a guttering system, downspouts and splashblocks on the porch. Design it to look as if it has always been part of the house versus added on. Plan to design everything visible from curbside to look appropriate with the house style and surroundings. Use more formal furnishings, for example, if the porch is located in a high-end district of a busy city. Incorporate furnishings in the porch area that are more ornate and artistic if the house is located in a district of only Victorian houses.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan to use materials that will enhance the overall market value of the house. Avoid using materials that will look inferior to the home's facade since a porch can actually detract from curbside appearance. Build an enclosed porch design that is similar to what other homeowners in the neighborhood are using so the porch will be in harmony with other homes in the overall neighborhood.

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  • Photo Credit summer porch image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from
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