Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest can leave you with some serious envy for those huge wrap-around farmhouse porches and sprawling pergola covered patios. The reality of owning a cozy porch, patio, or balcony can feel disappointing in comparison. However, even if moving to a new home or building a bigger porch isn’t in the budget there are some ways to make your current space feel luxurious.

Think About Your Goals

The first step is to really consider your goals for the space. Think about which elements of an outdoor space make you the happiest. Is having a comfortable place to relax in the evening important to you? Do you love to grow your own herbs?

For example, if you’re a gardener who loves to enjoy your space in solitude maybe you don’t need extra seating. Instead of benches or chairs, add a potting bench, a few large planters overflowing with flowers and foliage, or hang a shelf with hooks to keep your most-used tools close at hand. Invest your money and use your space for things that will really improve your quality of life beyond just the look of your porch.

Opt for Hanging Plants

No space? No problem! There are plenty of plants that thrive in hanging baskets in the sun or the shade. If you have a west- or south-facing porch or patio that receives plenty of sun with minimal roof overhang you can grow strawberries, herbs, succulents, million bells, trailing lobelia, and other flowers. If your roof extends far from the porch or you have an east- or north-facing porch, you’ll be better off with ferns, wishbone flower, fuschia, and annual vinca. Going vertical with gardening will create lush surroundings without taking up valuable floor space.

Add String Lights

For a little extra sparkle without sacrificing space, add string lights. Look for commercial grade outdoor string lights that you can leave in place all season long. If your porch isn’t wired for electricity, there are battery operated options.

Paint the Door

Avoid the mistake of adding too much color. It can make a small space feel crowded and cluttered, but you don’t want it to appear bland either. If your porch is feeling drab, consider painting the door to add a nice pop of color. Paint is a quick and inexpensive way to make the whole space feel new.

Hang Hammocks

Hammocks are a great way to provide an enticing design element for relaxing. They can be easily hung with heavy duty hooks or clips that allow them to be quickly taken down. They’re great for spaces that need be multi-purpose and are easy to pack if you're someone who moves frequently. You can purchase hammock chairs as well as the traditional style hammock that are more comfortable for sitting upright.

Stick with Cohesive Colors

Choose a color scheme that matches your house to help your small space seem larger. You can still have a bright pop of color here and there — think colorful containers or brightly hued flowers—but incorporating too many colors will feel chaotic.

Add a Personal Touch

Find a piece that you are passionate about to place in your design. Maybe it’s your favorite plant or a souvenir from your latest trip. It doesn’t have to be something made for a porch either. Add some of your favorite artwork, a vintage end table, or old mirror. Just pick something that will make you smile (and that you won’t mind being exposed to the elements).

You don’t have to have a big space to make it creative and inviting! You can design a relaxing Pinterest-worthy porch without a huge budget or home.

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