Decorating a screened porch

mbarstowMay 18, 2014

We are about to close in a 12 ft. x 20 ft. deck and build a screened porch. I am looking for ideas on decorating and would love to see some pictures. I probably will use wicker pieces and plants because the porch will face southwest.
Also, does anyone have an opinion about floor to ceiling screens or using a knee-wall and installing the screens from the top of the wall to the ceiling?

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Below is a photo of the screened porch on our last house (sorry it's a bit far away, it was the only one I could find quickly). I felt that using all screen would look like you were pretending it was not there, whereas the way we had it it was a bit like a decorative element. It did not interfere with views in anyway.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:52AM
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Having some wall will give you more flexibility as far as furniture and use of the porch, i.e.: sleeping.

One thing for sure, have the screens done in this new screen that is a poly whatever. Tough as nails. Dogs can jump on it with their claws and nothing happens to it. If it happens to pop out, you just push it back in.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:49PM
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There are all sorts of photos when you Google screen porches, but that's all you get. No comments on the pros and cons of using full screens or partial. I suppose we could just go with what appeals. I like the idea of keeping the deck's railing we now have to prevent someone from falling through the screen and getting hurt. We have 6 little grandchildren and kids being kids, I can see one of them running right through a screen. Dogs have done it, I'm sure kids have too.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:51PM
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Definitely get that new screening! It is kid and dog proof!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:35PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Maureen , I have a screened in porch with a wall about as high as chairrail . I'm not sure if that's what you mean by knee wall . But I am glad it's that high because rain gets in and it would be worse if it was a full screened wall. I don't know if it's the sideways Tennessee rain we get or what ! Lol my neighbors just had a porch put on that is full screen . They will be having a damp area for sure when it rains . Just something to think about ! :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:22PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Well, keep in mind that screened in p's get very dirty with pollen, rain debris and dust and too much stuff (plants, pots, decorative things, furniture) are difficult to keep clean. (this is a reminder to me, btw)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:25PM
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I had a very large fully screened porch for many years that I have since converted to a family room. I loved the idea of a screened porch--but it is a very dirty room--as Bumblebeez says, pollen, dirt, and so on. You are almost in the elements. It was floored in poured concrete, so it was easy to just hose down, but I can't imagine getting too fussy with it--the most you would want in there for upholstery would be removable cushions for wicker. When we bought the house it was already there--along with a completely illegal natural gas grill on the interior. It was so great--you could grill while the snow was knee deep on the ground. Miss it!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:09PM
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No help on decorating as that's a project I hope to finish this year. I highly recommend the Screen Tight system, though for screening in your porch. That and Solar Screen. It's tough enough for pets and the grasshoppers can't eat it.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:52AM
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I have a screened porch with the EZ breeze panels. They slide up and down easily and stack so not much screen covered when totally open. Love it for pollen, driving rain etc. My porch is much cleaner and warmer during cold months. Lots of porches locally have a short knee wall not even chair rail height. It is useful to run electrical and looks fine if done well with beadboard or paneling. They have TVs, fireplaces and nicer indoor/outdoor carpeting. I have no desire to put a TV on my porch but during the dead of winter a fireplace would be nice.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:41AM
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I had a knee wall in my last house and highly recommend it. It helps keep _some_ dirt and rain out, and helps with furniture placement as stated above.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:14AM
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My little screened porch is screen from top to bottom. A knee wall would be nice for all the reasons mentioned above. However, once the dog or cat makes a hole in it, it does make a great pet door!. My cat made a hole in the door and used it for many years to go in and out while I was at work.

I have Lloyd Flanders wicker and some metal garden tables out there. I don't like having plants because of all the stuff they drop. You also have to buy a while new batch every spring unless you have an indoor spot to keep them. There's no electricity out there so I have candles.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:00AM
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We have a screened in porch at home and at our beach house. We have a different type of kneewall at each, but both are about 18-24" high, which is mainly to keep our short dogs from pushing their noses into screens.

I don't find them all that "dirty" -- certainly more so than being inside, I guess, but nothing that an occasional sweeping doesn't take care of (plus a seasonal "real" cleaning). Our screen porch has been open (meaning storm windows out, screens in) for a couple of weeks and I have no more pollen out there than I have on the INside of my house, actually.

On both porches, I have all-weather wicker furniture with sunbrella-covered cushions, an indoor-outdoor rug, an exterior-rated table or floor lamp, and end/coffee tables.

In our beach house porch, which gets more abuse from the ocean wind, I have a photo in a regular frame hanging on the wall, which has been there year round for 3-4 years, and I'm surprised it is still just fine -- no wear and tear from being exposed to the elements.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Our screened in porch has a knee wall. Even so, we have had to replace the screening on one side.

Favorite items on the porch are a comfortable couch with soft pillows for napping, an ottoman to put feet on while surfing the web, a ceiling fan, an outdoor weighted lamp, and a hummingbird feeder hung right outside the screen.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:10AM
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I have seen some beautifully decorated porches on this forum, so I am sure people will have some great ideas to share with you. Also, this month's Southern Living features some lovely porches.

FWIW, I'm attaching a photo of our small porch. We don't have a wall at the bottom, but we do have rails (stiles?). We chose to put these on the inside and the screen on the outside so that dogs/kids could not easily punch out a piece of the screen. I also like the openness of it compared to a solid wall, but I think a lot of that might depend on what you want to use your porch for and how much "outdoors" you want to feel that you are.

I took the picture at the angle I did so that you could see the ceiling. Instead of a flat ceiling, we did an additional triangular screen panel at the top and a peaked ceiling. I'm really happy with how this worked out.

Still working on furnishings, but I grabbed a wicker chair that a neighbor was giving away (I need to paint it) and threw some World Market outdoor cushions on it. The table is an old wood drop-leaf table that I painted with exterior paint so it would stand up to the elements. It collected a lot of grime over the rough winter, but a few weeks ago, I just wiped it off and the paint looks good as new. The rug is indoor/outdoor from HomeGoods.

Last summer was our first summer with the porch, and because it is small, I knew that I couldn't realistically do a nice size dining table and comfy seating. But I didn't know which we would actually use it for more. So I brought in a few patio chairs we already had, painted the table we had, and grabbed that free chair so that I wouldn't spend a lot of money and then determine that it wasn't right for how we use the room. With a bigger porch, where you don't necessarily have to choose between functions, you might not need to wait. But I am glad that I didn't buy anything last year, because it's only now that I'm starting to get a sense of the furnishings I might ultimately want to put out there to maximize its use.

For electrical, we have sconces on the house exterior side of the porch (one on either side of the french doors leading to the porch) and a ceiling fan with a light. Depending on where you live, having the ceiling fan on the porch is incredibly useful.

Hope something here is helpful -- good luck, and enjoy summer on your new porch!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:11AM
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Hi Maureen, we also are in the process of converting our deck to a screen room....actually a 3-season room. There is a code rqmt in our area for a knee wall (or railing) if the room is high off the ground, which ours is. We are having Eze-Breeze windows installed which negates that requirement. If you haven't seen these, definitely take a look. It was only $800 more to install these windows versus screen alone. The carpenters are supposed to be finished next week. Just have to put in the windows and install the cedar on the ceiling and walls. So anxious to use this room, and I'll be looking for decorating ideas, too.

For those of you who have upholstered furniture in your screen room, so you have any issues with humidity or mold?

Here is a link that might be useful: Screen Room (under construction)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:07PM
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my screen porch has a knee wall. It's so far a random collection of furniture and cat stuff. and Dust -- inches and inches of dust and sand from our windy spring.

I'm waiting until I see how much dust there is the rest of the year, and where the rain will go before I do much to pull the space together. Needs more cat perches, too, since one of the main functions is to be a catio.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:05PM
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