What Is the Difference Between a Porch, Veranda, Deck, and Balcony?
Plus McCreery's Home Furnishings' Top 10 Outdoor Design Furniture Picks

Spring 2021 is just around the corner. No matter what the season, though, people tend to enjoy spending time outdoors even when they just sit on the balcony, porch, veranda or the deck. But wait, can you tell the differences in structure and features of each one? And will you be able to shop for the right outdoor design furniture sets? 

The Porch 

 
 

The porch. This is one of the most beautifully-designed parts of a home; first, because it is the first impression that your home could have on visitors; second, because it is a place that should be classified as restful.

So when you’re out to make a remodeling project on your porch, treat it as you would a renovation project on any part of your home.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the porch is a roofed structure, usually open at the sides, projecting from the face of a building and used to protect the entrance. In the United States, this is what’s referred to as the veranda.

So there you go, you have two terms having just the same meaning and purpose. But there is just a little evidence of the existence of this structure prior to the Classical antiquity. There were many Egyptian wall paintings that indicated the occasional use of porch on some houses.

In Greece, the Tower of the Winds in Athens was a porch that had two columns carrying a pediment. The Romans, on the other hand, had colonnades which were used as porches. These all faced the street. This kind of porch was also seen up until the Early Christian basilicas’ creation. The porch was used as a formal entrance in old structures such as the Basilica of Old St. Peter’s.

The French in Burgundy developed porches that had vaulted structures. These showed great heights and were sometimes even as long as the whole church structure. An example of this fine architecture is the Vézelay Abbey church.

If these are exciting enough for you, wait till you learn about the Gothic era and the two porch types that were then created as ecclesiastical buildings. The first one is a tiny, gabled porch that either projected from the south or north walls of a nave. The other one is what’s referred to as the galilee which was constructed so beautifully that it’s short of being a separate building.

The Germans were even more flamboyant with their outdoor design. They had theirs frequently styled with tracery, canopies, cusping, etc.

In the Renaissance, porches were chiefly colonnaded porticos.

Integration


So what should be your first concern when renovating or decorating the porch? This should be how to add the porch in such a way that it would seamlessly be fused with the rest of your home. When bedroom windows line the back of the house, it is crucial to not diminish the size of each opening. The roof must not be too high so that it creates water intrusion during heavy rains or on snow storms. It is also not advisable to just extend a low-pitch roof outwards.

Define the Scope


The roofline is a sensitive project that must not be taken lightly. Your porch requirements should match the goals that you have set for the rest of the rooms in your home. The outdoor design for the whole project – not just the porch – can take months in some cases yet a good amount of your time will certainly be spent on this front part of your dwelling.

Every homeowner’s goal when setting up a lovely porch is to create a place that opens up naturally as an extension of the adjacent room. This same room, after all, has been classified into other names namely sunroom, screen porch, even the three-season room.

Screens are a great alternative to doors as they are airier although they can also keep the bugs out. Walking into a well-designed porch can be both dramatic and fun. The beholder notices the type of flooring used, the screens that have been installed from the floor to the ceiling, and the fine furniture brands that were carefully chosen especially for that place.

How ‘Bout a Fireplace?


It is also a great idea to put a fireplace at the end of a porch. If there isn’t much of a view outside, then this fireplace will definitely steal the attention of your visitors.

It will be satisfying to build a porch that meets all your requirements. This has to be a place that is comfortable, enjoyable, and a space that evokes conversations and other social activities.

See how much you can allocate for this kind of project. It can be as pricey as a living room project but it will definitely be something worth your budget. A porch project could easily cost $300 for every square foot.

Define the Activities


After evaluating the amount of space that you will allocate for the porch, it’s time to define what kinds of activities will be held in that area. Depending on the amount of space that you have assigned, this place can be a play area for kids, a simple sitting room, or it can also be a breakfast nook. If you live in an area where winters are harsh, then make sure to find furniture that is versatile in these kinds of harsh weathers.

Essential Additions


You need to carefully consider the flooring material that will be used on your porch. Use a rug and allow it to dry when it is not in use. This is so you would prevent mildew from growing. Covered porches, on the other hand, should have jute or sea grass rugs. These can bring color as well as texture to an often dull space.

Humans often create porches so they can have a great view of the outdoors. If there isn’t a picturesque view to enjoy, then consider hanging flowers in urns, basket plants, and planters with green plants. These small additions could make your porch more fragrant and comfy so go ahead and bring ‘em there.

The Veranda 

 
 

The simplest definition that one could come up with regard to veranda is that it is an open gallery that is, at times, partly enclosed. The modern roots for the veranda is believed to be in Australia. Colonial buildings began to appear in the 1850s and these structures began to incorporate an architectural feature called the Victorian Filigree or, nowadays, simply filigree.

The word veranda came from the Hindi word varaṇḍā. This same word also has a Portuguese origin which is varanda. The Spanish word is not too different with their own version – baranda.

It was the English word that was eventually used as a general term for this space. The word is veranda which was also used in France.

Roots of the Veranda 


Almost all residential units in Australia and New Zealand have verandas with wrought-iron screens, decorative cast iron filigree, or wood fretwork.

Spain also had its own colonial architecture to boast about. This is the Mission Revival style which also became quite popular in the U.S. in the early 1900s. These verandas were now part of the exteriors and in a few cases, along the interior courtyard walls.

New Orleans also featured verandas. This is no surprise since a lot of southern states and cities constructed stucco or brick balconies and verandas.

The veranda is also quite popular in Africa. Most of the early colonial abodes came with huge verandas. These allowed the inhabitants to keep cool during the hottest seasons. The Omani Arabs, on the other hand, have different varieties of this architectural feature. All had high ceilings.

People who tell you that they have an outdoor architectural feature may be describing a veranda. This is especially true when the structure is historically significant (e.g. the Creole Townhouses in Louisiana).

Modern-day Veranda 


The verandas of today are still a part of the most posh homes. Veranda is also a term that is often used to name hotels, restaurants, even pets. There are even novels that have the word veranda on its title.

If you are looking into setting up the perfect veranda, then you should also consider the kinds of furniture that you will place there. These furniture pieces must be manufactured specifically to last outdoors. Just think about the pieces that you would want to have in a patio, then these are the very things that can also be used in a veranda.

The veranda must be practical so you need fine furniture pieces that are weather-resistant. The materials used must be able to withstand even the harshest elements. If you live in an area that rains or have snowstorms each year, then find durable veranda chairs such as those made with aluminum, wrought-iron, stainless steel and other metals.

There are also special kinds of woods that can last outdoors as there are fabrics that can last longer even under the harmful rays of the sun. McCreery's Home Furnishings offers both Crypton and Sunbrella fabrics. 

You can further amplify the veranda’s appeal by setting up some cushy chairs with matching table. These are needful since you will need an area where you can relax the moment you want to enjoy the garden or the landscaping.

The veranda must always be a place of refuge. This is a spot where the family can gather to relax or for family members to read books. Make sure that the furniture arrangement is proper for entertainment. Keep everything low maintenance so that you won’t have a hard time cleaning the refined furnishings.

A covered veranda can also have its own distinctive garden sets. This is often a glasstop metallic table and some metallic chairs. You can also hang a gilded mirror at the veranda so that the most beautiful sceneries are reflected on its surface.

The Balcony 

 
 

The Collins English dictionary defines a balcony as any platform on the outside of a building, above ground level, with a wall or railing around it.  In a cinema or theater, the balcony is an area of seats above the main seating area.

Would you believe that balconies come with a two thousand year history? The term balcony was derived from the Italian term balcone meaning, a scaffold. The earliest types of balconies have been seen to date back for more than 2,000 years.

The balcony was originally created to increase air circulation especially during the hottest climates in Ancient Greece. Today, the balcony is integral to a building’s façade because it gives the property a more stylish vibe. Plus you get more space to roam in.

Balconies in the UK are Juliet balconies which date all the way back to the late Georgian era. They were created by architects to give structures a prestigious look. They were originally made of wrought-iron and were rectangular and filled the whole span of windows.

If you have traveled in Europe, you might have noticed how the finest balconies seem to have been constructed there. Most even have overlooking views of water-cooled gardens and courtyards.

The Deck

 
 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the deck as something resembling the deck of a ship such as a story or tier of a building or a flat-floored roofless area adjoining a house.

Do you believe that designing a comfortable and safe deck is easy? Some could answer this positively while others might be a tad more hesitant. Designing a home deck requires that you initially get in touch with your local building department or the homeowners’ association. There are deck restrictions as well as requirements that you should ask about. There are also zoning ordinances that put a cap on the deck size, its location and its general construct. In many cases, you would need a building permit before you can begin constructing or designing a home deck.

Wood decks can have wrought-iron furnishings. These structures can be used as a part of landscaping, an exterior part of a house, or as an alternative to the patio.

The Proper Location


Decide whether the house exit will lead directly to the deck or if it will be located elsewhere.

A freestanding deck comes with two or more beams. This can be installed right next to your house or right by the swimming pool. If it is away from any of these two locations, then make sure that you have a clear path or walkway leading right to it.

Think also of the kind of view that you would want on your deck. If you require privacy, then you can have a wall built for a portion of the deck. You can also use a nearby shade in keeping the deck cool especially during the summer. You can also place the deck away from a shrub line so you can have some cool breeze pass through.

Essential Deck Parts


Attached decks have ledger boards that can replace one of the support beams. This can be attached using bolts; a tool that greatly reduces material costs. This, however, comes with pest or water damage, eventually.

A lot of building codes require metal flashing for moisture prevention between the house wall and the ledger. If you want to prevent this problem, then have the ledger treated for mold or pest infiltration.

If you are thinking of building that luxurious two-story deck, then you have to provide a long stairway. It would help to break up the stairway with a transition deck. Plan the right connection for the stairs and the deck and where this connection would end. 

Figure Out the Deck Function and Size


If you are a frequent party host, then you would definitely need a larger deck. This is a place where tables, chairs, a bench or two maybe, and other outdoor design furniture can be placed. It’s a place where you grill and drink and have fun so make sure that you turn it into a pleasant retreat, one that is comfortable.

Avoid layouts that put a railing right in the middle of any of the windows in your home. Assure also that the doors swinging outward would clear the railings. Should the need call for it, you should adjust the location and size of the deck.

Pick a Style

 
 

Decks with some architectural lines made with lumber and vertical metal balusters are complementary looks. If you want a more traditional or classic appeal, then use lumber with visible grain lines as balusters; as much as possible, choose pressure-treated lumber.

Remember that the deck can be exposed to harsh elements. So in installing wood decking, make sure that you use weather sealants and staining. Redwood and heart cedar are often resistant to decay, hence, they are used extensively. If you use any other type of wood, then have it treated with any kind of preservative.

Conclusion

So, now that you know the different features as well as the pros and cons of each outdoor space, which one do you think will suit your needs? And which outdoor design furniture would you pick from our Top 10 fine furniture pieces?

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