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If you are lucky enough to have a front porch on your house, then you know what a great space this can be – a place to watch the neighborhood, chat with passers-by, or simply sit back and relax with a cold beverage and a good book. However, if your home did not come with a front porch and you want to add one, here are the dimensions you need to keep in mind when planning, creating and decorating this useful outdoor space. Start here with your front porch design project.

Width of the Porch

Front porch design for a Craftsman style house.

When designing your front porch by the dimensions, determine how wide it should be by taking into account several factors. One of those is scale; if your home is large and grand, then the porch needs to be wider than if it is on the smaller side. The goal in either scenario is to create a frame for the entrance to the home and enough area to make it usable. Take into consideration the width of the front door, as well as the placement of columns. Five to six feet wider than the door is a good rule of thumb to use for width on either side of it but your porch could be wider if your home has sprawling wings.

Front Porch Depth

For the majority of front porches, a depth of six to eight feet works well. Take into account the placement of columns, which will limit the space available behind those supports. For instance, if this allows for only four feet of depth in those areas, that is still enough room for an outdoor chair and table. Outdoor furnishings of smaller scale allow for good circulation and foot traffic on a front porch that is somewhat shallow.

Porch Proportion

Keep in mind how the front porch is proportioned in contrast to the house itself. For example, mid-century modern architecture usually means the home is low to the ground. In this case, you will want to keep the proportions of the front porch in line with those dimensions and use supports that are tapered to echo the style of the architecture. For a large, multi-storied house, the front porch should have a height matching the first floor, with wide and sturdy columns for support. When the home is massive and heavy, the style of front porch should be, too.

Does it Need a Railing?

front porch by the dimensions

Although building codes vary depending on your location, most of them state that front porches of 30 inches or higher off the ground require a railing. Even if yours is lower to the ground, you may want to add a guardrail for safety purposes, especially if you have young children or older family members in the home. The height of the railing should be about 42 inches and not allow for any spherical objects larger than four inches to fit through gaps.

Front Porch Furnishings

These chairs, which swivel, allow you to sit on your front porch and enjoy the view.

When designing your front porch by the dimensions, consider use of the space. If you plan on entertaining, make sure the porch is wide enough to allow for a dining table and chairs or benches that allows enough room to walk around it. If the front porch will be more about aesthetics, this allows you some wiggle room with the furnishings as you can shop with the specific dimensions in mind.

Width, depth, proportion, furnishings, functionality – these are some of the considerations to keep in mind when designing your front porch by the dimensions.

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