This week, we are revisiting some of our favorite summer-centric Gardenista stories. Remember this one?
Screened-in porches are making a comeback, a trend we applaud. After years of dwindling popularity, porches are back on young homebuyers’ lists of “Most Wanted” features, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. Among Millennials, a front porch is more prized than hardwood floors, a master bath with both a shower and tub, or a dining room. And with good reason.
A screened-in porch is your summer living room. It’s a neighborly space, inviting breezes and greetings from passersby. And it’s an iconically American architectural feature. Before the 1860s, “there was no hint (or probably dream of) making a house flyproof,” writes Russell Lynes in The Domesticated Americans. Then, during the Civil War a manufacturer of wire mesh sieves miscalculated demand; the surplus was repurposed and sold as window covering. By the 1880s, screened-in porches were a trend.
In support of the screened-in porch, we’ve rounded up 15 of our favorites from around the country:
Shelter Island, NY
Bellport, New York
Charleston, South Carolina
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
San Antonio, Texas
Hudson Valley, NY
The Catskills, NY
Llano River, Texas
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published July 2020.
See more of our favorite summery living spaces:
- A Tiny Summerhouse in South London.
- Architect Visit: A Modular Danish Summer House—Ready to Go in 6 Months.
- A Shipping Container Transformed into the Ultimate Holiday House.
Frequently asked questions
What is a screened-in porch?
A screened-in porch is an outdoor living space that is enclosed with screens or mesh to protect it from insects and other outdoor elements while allowing fresh air to flow in.
What are the benefits of a screened-in porch?
Some benefits of a screened-in porch include protection from bugs, mosquitoes, and other pests, enjoying the outdoors without direct sun exposure, and creating an additional living space for relaxation and entertainment.
How can I decorate my screened-in porch?
You can decorate your screened-in porch with comfortable seating options like outdoor sofas or lounge chairs, add potted plants for a touch of greenery, incorporate outdoor rugs for added coziness, and consider hanging string lights for a magical ambiance during evenings.
Can I use my screened-in porch during all seasons?
While a screened-in porch provides an enclosed space, it may not be suitable for extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, strong winds, or snow. However, with appropriate modifications and accessories like outdoor heaters or ceiling fans, you can extend the usability of your screened-in porch.
What materials are commonly used for screened-in porches?
Common materials used for screened-in porches include aluminum frames, wooden frames, fiberglass screens, and vinyl-coated polyester screens. The choice of materials depends on personal preference, budget, and desired durability.
What are some ideas for furnishing a screened-in porch?
Some ideas for furnishing a screened-in porch include using weather-resistant furniture, incorporating outdoor curtains for added privacy, installing a ceiling fan for air circulation, and placing a dining table or bar stools for outdoor dining or entertaining.
How can I maintain my screened-in porch?
To maintain your screened-in porch, regularly clean the screens from dust and debris, inspect for any tears or damage, trim nearby plants that may obstruct the screens, and consider applying a protective sealant on wooden frames to prevent weathering.
Can I convert my existing porch into a screened-in porch?
Yes, it is possible to convert an existing porch into a screened-in porch. This may involve installing screens, adding support beams if necessary, and ensuring the porch structure is suitable for the conversion. Consulting a professional contractor is recommended for such projects.
Are permits required for adding a screened-in porch?
Permit requirements may vary based on local building codes and regulations. It is advisable to check with your local authorities or building department to determine if permits are required for adding a screened-in porch to your property.
Can I use my screened-in porch for sleeping or as a bedroom?
Screened-in porches are not typically designed or insulated for use as sleeping areas or bedrooms. They are primarily intended as outdoor living spaces for relaxation, entertaining, and enjoying the surrounding environment.