Welcome Back the Front Porch

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Traditional Porch by Chappaqua Architects & Designers Fivecat Studio | Architecture

The front porch is making a comeback in home designs. Builders recently said the front porch is one of the most popular amenities in 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The rebirth of the front porch in the past decade may be in partial nod to younger generations who have shown recent preferences toward smaller homes in more dense neighborhoods that boast greater social interaction.

The front porch used to be a mainstay in home designs in the early 1900s, according to a historical paper on “The Rise and Decline of the American Front Porch” published by the Montana Heritage Project. But soon, the front porch became replaced by a garage facing the street. The front porch was moved to backyards as a deck that offered home owners greater privacy.

The popularity of the front porch once was as a gathering place, allowing children to play in the front yard and offering families a cozy place to sit outside, relax, and socialize with their neighbors. But after World War II, front porches began disappearing from newer houses, according to the Montana Heritage Project. The article speculates it was partially due to people becoming “more individualistic and less communal-minded,” and home owners preferring to take their barbecues to the backyard in privacy.

Some home owners are welcoming back the front porch as a way to add more character to your home’s curb appeal. Even if your listing doesn’t have a big front porch, adding some seating may help give buyers that image of this iconic symbol to American homes. Stage it with rocking chairs, a porch swing, or outdoor furniture to show it as an extension of the home, and a place to sit back and connect with your neighbors.

Check out some of these examples:

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. We LOVE a great front porch!

  2. Love the Traditional example by Wilmington General Contractors and the Beach example by Cornado Design-Build Firms. They look so cozy and inviting for a cup of coffee or a drink after a long day at work. Now the real question is, would I actually use it if I had that nice of a porch? 🙂

  3. Front porches are a great way to get the most out of the daylight depending on whether you get the morning or evening sun.

  4. We just purchased a lovely Florida home with a front porch! It was never my idea to have one but now that we do it makes for a wonderful option to our back screened patio to enjoy our fabulous weather all year round with a different view! I sell Real Estate here and we do not find that many front porches, but they are a pleasure.

  5. Welcome back Indeed! My local market has long been characterized by it’s strong sense of community. A perfect summer night is spent sipping Iced Tea on the front porch enjoying the company of neighbors, as the kids play in the yard!
    Turn off the TV and get to know each other. You never know when you may need to borrow a cup of sugar .

  6. I remember the front porch as a place to relax with a cool drink on a hot night before air conditioning. It was also a great place to play, out of the sun, with friends who came by. So glad they are coming back!

  7. I’ve always loved the HUGE front porches you’d think of in an older southern home with the ceiling fans and all. In our area, (Minnesota) the builders we work with are putting some sort of a front porch on nearly every home, buyers are asking for them for sure. I guess if you don’t have a front porch you could always do what my grandparents did (along with the whole block) and sit in the garage, ha, I never did understand that:-)