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Of all the summertime activities that we look forward to throughout the year, spending time on the porch just might be our favorite. Whether it can accommodate dinner for 12 or only a couple of rocking chairs, from the beginning of summer to the first hint of fall the porch is an undeniably inviting space and the perfect perch from which to take in summer’s beauty. The above porch, from the portfolio of Chicago-based interior designer Bardes Interiors, is a charming example of why we adore these semi-enclosed places. From the architectural details to the side table filled with potted plants to the sweet sitting area perfect for sipping iced tea, it is both welcoming and a wonderful place to watch the world go by.

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Everything about this porch by Nashville’s Julie Couch is comforting and relaxing. The neutral palette in no way competes with the natural beauty beyond the screened-in space, and having an abundance of pillows on hand ensures that people will feel comfortable curling up in their favorite spot. (Plus, who can resist a porch swing?) Hexagonal hurricanes and a simple concrete planter complete the look without seeming at all fussy.

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You can almost hear the ocean just by looking at the above porch by Charleston-based architects Herlong and Associates. The expansive space allows room for both a row of rocking chairs—ideal for enjoying a cocktail with friends after a day at the beach—and a few chaises on which to enjoy an afternoon nap.

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Bathed in light, this porch by Westbrook Interiors, with its warm, woven furniture and colored glass vases, practically glows.   

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Punctuated with bright blue chairs that match the cerulean sky above, the porch on this project by MHK Architecture and Planning in Naples looks fresh and inviting.

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Left: A porch by Architecture Works in Birmingham exudes simple, rustic beauty; top, right: a porch designed by Herlong and Associates is decked out in a cheerful palette; bottom, right: a porch by New Orleans’s Tyson Geary Interiors is arranged to offer multiple places for people to gather.

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The porch by Princeton-based Michael S. Wu is inviting from top to bottom, with a gorgeous wood paneled ceiling adding extra warmth to the serene space.

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Savannah’s Mary Jo Bochner proves yet again that while a porch is a lovely place to spend a summer evening, a porch with a swing is perfection.