The author of the blog East and Lane and Em Henderson mentee breaks down the formula for her serene screened porch.
What makes a room more than just pretty, what are the elements that make it memorable? In our Secrets of a Great Room series, we ask designers to tell us how they created their signature rooms. From decorating advice to the practical nitty-gritty of furnishings, we get their insider advice on crafting rooms to remember, like this fresh screened porch by interior design blogger and photographer Keyanna Bowen.
Bowen started her blog East & Lane because she was frustrated that most interior design blogs were aimed at homeowners who could make big changes to their homes; Bowen wanted to show what was possible for renters like herself. Over the years, Bowen has continued to share her rental updates on her blog, Instagram and YouTube. In fact, her videos caught the eye of a producer at the Magnolia Network, who filmed a pilot for Bowen’s very own DIY show, Rental Redo, which is still awaiting the official greenlight for a full season (we’ve got our fingers crossed!). Bowen describes how she reddecorated her screened porch—in two different styles—as a renter:
Start with a clean slate.
A deep cleaning can go a long way towards refreshing an outdoor space. Bowen’s screen porch had been neglected for several years, so she brought in a power washer to blast away the years of grime. Next, she gave the porch a coat of fresh white paint to lay a clean foundation she could style on top of.
Enliven a pale palette with texture.
“I’m a neutral girl at heart: I love white, light airy spaces,” admits Bowen. “Incorporating a lot of texture helps make the space visually interesting.” Bowen likes to mix and match subtle patterns and neutral-hued textiles, noting the variety of textures makes the space feel more elevated.
An outdoor rug adds a cozy vibe.
“I always love when outdoor spaces look and feel like indoor rooms,” says Bowen, “And rugs are the perfect way to add that interior element outside; rugs to make a porch or patio more like a living space.” Bowen notes that a rug also visually anchors the room; she styled her porch two ways with our low-profile Marlo rug in platinum and the super-textured Zhara Stripe rug, which has the look and feel of a Moroccan wool rug, but is made from indoor/outdoor fibers.
A porch swing will bring serious charm.
“To me, a porch swing is the quintessential outdoor furniture piece,” says Bowen, who created hers with the help of her hobbyist carpenter dad. “I really wanted to have a hanging porch swing, but the space was a little bit small and narrow, so I decided to custom make it to fit the space perfectly,” she adds. “It just adds so much charm and character to the space.”
Use textiles for a quick style change.
“Textiles, pillows, and small decor items are among the best ways you can change up a space without spending a lot of money,” says Bowen. “I can go from a neutral modern farmhouse look to a more of a bohemian vibe just by switching out the pillows.” Bowen created her neutral farmhouse look with a pair of our Crystal indoor/outdoor pillows and our Cape Stripe indoor/outdoor pillows; for her boho look, Bowen opted for our Anatolia Linen Kilim Print pillow and a Kitale Embroidered pillow.
In a small space, flexible seating is everything.
Bowen wanted to use her small porch for entertaining, but only some of the time. So, she opted for lightweight, versatile seating options that can be moved and rearranged as needed. Two slim wicker chairs and a pair of stools that can double as cocktail tables give her tons of flexibility. While our Braided Natural Indoor/Outdoor poufs can be used as footrests for the hanging swing, extra seating or even occasional tables when topped with a tray.
Don’t skip the houseplants outdoors.
“An outdoor porch is a great environment for plants,” says Bowen, who takes hers in during the northeastern winters. “You might think you don’t need any more greenery with grass and hedges just beyond your outdoor room, but bringing in some plants adds a relaxing feeling and also makes the outdoor space feel more finished.”
Weave in moments of contrast.
While Bowen is a self-proclaimed lover of all things white, she knows the power of contrast. To give her porch a bit of visual edge Bowen used a few black accents, including the black stain on the porch swing, a black metal side table, and the black embroidery on our Kitale Embroidered pillow.
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