by Fancy Nancy, Interior Designer
The official arrival of the spring season is upon us, more specifically the spring equinox. All over the world on March 20th, days and nights are approximately equal. That means that we get to enjoy increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets, and the beginnings of nature’s renewal. Worms begin to emerge from the earth (much to the delight of the robins), birds are migrating northward and the increasing sunlight triggers bird song. Crocus and daffodils begin to waken from their winter sleep which, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, means that the weather is right for planting radishes, parsnips and spinach (who knew?). The longer days bring warmer weather, time to strip off the heavy coats. Best of all, time to ready the porch for observing the arrival of spring and the magnificent show it has to offer. It’s no secret that we southerners love our porches. Is there any better memory than swinging the afternoon away with your grandmother in the porch swing, drinking a cold glass of sweet tea? I can’t think of one.
Naturally, the first step is to give the porch a thorough cleaning. Those industrious spiders have been busy building apartment complexes in the corners and the dust angels have been hard at work. Move everything off (or out of) the porch and give it a good sweep and mop. Strip the covers off the chair cushions and throw them in the washer. Channel your inner Good Housekeeping diva and wipe down every surface. Then reassemble and start thinking of how to make this sparkly clean space an extension of your living room.
Spring is the absolute best time to enjoy a porch but there may be a few cool days still to come so the mosquitoes, flies and bugs have not emerged yet. It’s a great time to move the plush and heated throws to the porch for coffee on the those cool mornings. I even put a heated mattress pad on the double chaise lounge for leisurely Sunday afternoon naps, listening to the patter of a summer shower or reading a good book. It is a little slice of heaven, and makes even those cooler days comfy and cozy.
It’s no secret that we southerners love our porches. Is there any better memory than swinging the afternoon away with your grandmother in the porch swing, drinking a cold glass of sweet tea? I can’t think of one.
Add a lamp on a small table for reading, a bistro table for al fresco dining and a foot stool for comfort. Go ahead, use real furniture on the porch. There are no furniture police coming to get you for moving a piece outside and it will make the space much more inviting. Weatherproof, flameless candles are an easy and affordable way to add light and ambiance. If it’s in the budget, consider adding an outdoor fireplace or at least a propane patio heater. Think about hanging a ceiling fan now, this will make even the hottest days bearable for they are certainly on the way.
I can’t write an article about a porch without suggesting to paint the porch ceiling blue. It’s an old southern tradition with numerous theories as to why – from fooling spiders and wasps into thinking the ceiling is the sky, to blue being a harbinger of good luck, to the color extending daylight, to scaring away evil spirits. People have always painted porch ceilings blue in the south, because it’s what their grandmother did. Maybe that is reason enough.
Don’t forget the migrating birds, hang a feeder on a pole within viewing distance of the porch. Consider a second pole for a bluebird house and if you’re lucky enough that a pair like the real estate, you will enjoy hours of watching them build a nest and seeing bluebird fledglings take flight for the first time. That, my friends, does the heart good.
These are just a few ideas to transform the porch into one of your favorite rooms of the house and ensure many moments of relaxation and enjoyment that will last into fall. Don’t forget the porch swing, you’re sure to make some new memories of your own.
With over 30 years in the interior design industry, Fancy Nancy is anxious to answer your design questions on how make your porch more inviting. Contact her by visiting www.persnicketyhp.com.