I tend to be either 100% inspired and need to jump into a project immediately to see my vision come to life right away, or I stew in uncertainty for months or years, unsure of how to address a design challenge. This very long room falls in the latter camp.
Hawk Hill’s previous owner painted black and white stripes on three sides of the extra long room, and left in it a long, antique general-store cabinet. The cabinet was great for storage, and a unique piece in itself, but my attachment to it, paired with a mix of disgust and ambivalence about the striped walls, meant I felt “stuck” in this narrow and long room and so it was one of the last to be well attended to in regards to design.
Decorating a sun porch can be a challenging experience. The challenges include working with the limited space, choosing the right furniture and accessories, and making sure the space is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Sunporches often include decorating challenges like:
- long tunnel-like dimensions
- narrow width that limits furniture
- and lots of windows to design around
With some careful planning and a little bit of creativity, your sun porch can be a beautiful and welcoming space. Here are some of the best ideas I found for sun porches while I was researching how to decorate this space.
One way to decorate a sun porch is to use bright, cheerful colors. Yellow is a perfect choice for a sun porch, as it represents the sun and happiness. Avoid earthy tones and dark colors in your sunporch. In a long, narrow sun porch, furniture and textiles get a lot of UV light and dark colors are more likely to fade.
Don’t be afraid of Patterns
Another option is to use lively patterns and prints, such as floral or stripes. (Although I think the stripes that my home’s previous owners chose were a little overkill!) Doing so will give the space a fun and upbeat feeling.
Make it into a Conservatory filled with Houseplants
Another idea is to use all that sunlight in a long and narrow sun porch as a place to display plants. Potted plants can add color and life to the space, and they can also help to purify the air. If you have a green thumb, you could even grow some of your own herbs or vegetables indoors on the sun porch.
Make it Cozy
Finally, remember to add some comfortable seating to the sun porch. Furniture designed for outdoor use works best. While your sun porch is watertight (I hope! 😉), outdoor furniture is designed with fabrics that resist fading in sunlight. If your narrow sun porch doesn’t leave room for sofas and full-size chairs, rocking chairs and cushioned benches can work. They accommodate a very narrow room and are perfect for relaxing while enjoying the view.
Final thoughts on Decorating a Long & Narrow Sun Porch
When working with the limited space of a sun porch, it is important to be strategic in the furniture and accessories that are chosen. Select pieces that are both functional and stylish, and that will work well with the limited space. Be mindful of the placement of furniture and accessories, and make sure to leave enough room for traffic flow. It is also important to consider the function of the sun porch when decorating. This space can be used for entertaining, relaxing, or both. Make sure to choose furniture and accessories accordingly.
With a little creativity and effort, a sun porch can be a beautiful and inviting space to enjoy in all four seasons.
Finally fed up with my own sun porch, last thanksgiving I hosted the family meal and I convinced the men of the family to move the several-hundred-pound cabinet to the dining room- opening up the room to a total makeover.
I removed 90% off the clear glass window shelves that had covered the windows and tested several colors of Benjamin Moore grey:
Ultimately I picked Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray (HC-169) and love it! I had heard before how a busy room can “hide” a great view- but I never experienced this for myself until painting this busy room a soothing neutral color. Suddenly the view- which had been just a part of the busy-ness of the long striped wall- burst to life!
[This is where I give props to my man Benjamin Moore! I anticipated many coats to get good coverage over the black and white stripes, but two coats, with touch-ups to a few trouble spots, had the job done right!]
I will confess. I don’t actually love houseplants. I’m not very good at remembering to water them, and I’m terrible at cleaning up after them- but I do enjoy mountains of ferns around my pond in the spring and summer, so I tolerate the houseplants the rest of the year. (The garden fountain ferns come in reside in this room in the winter) I actually love what they bring to this long but sunny room.
I added a white-slipcovered Ikea Extorp sofa down one wall (the ektorp sectional, actually, minus the ottoman) and paired my writing desk with a homemade counter-height sawhorse table created just for this project.
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Finding the Right Furniture for my Narrow Sun Porch
I was in absolute love with Pottery Barn’s $399 Swivel Desk Chair for about two years until I was driving through a tiny old town in Missouri one day and saw the elderly owner of a junk shop sitting out in front of his shop in this vintage Lawyer’s Chair. I parked my car, walked over, and bought it out from under the store owner (literally- he was sitting in it!) for $40!
Ideas for Decorating a Sun Porch