10 small front porch ideas to add character and style to your entrance

Learn how to pack a punch with our small front porch ideas

small front porch ideas, dark grey front door with turquoise tiles halfway up in the porch, umbrella lent up, lantern pendant
(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee Photography)

Front porches are designed to protect you from the elements as you get ready to go out through the front door. That means they can often be small spaces needing a few small front porch ideas to spruce them up.

Any compact space can be challenging to prettify, but it's always possible with some clever design tricks. Front porch ideas along with front door ideas are important to set the tone for the rest of your house. Not only will they be the first thing your guests see, but the first thing you see when you get home.

Sometimes all it needs is a little TLC like a lick of paint, some new cladding or a tiled entrance that will create a warm and welcoming entrance to your home. 

Small front porch ideas

Our small front porch ideas will inspire you to create a porch that befits the style of your home if you're having one built, or, to make the most of what you have. 

'The front door is a real focal point of the home and is often the first thing to greet the eye. It is the first glimpse of your personality that visitors will receive so is the perfect place for bold colour,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene

1. Match the door and woodwork

small front porch ideas, cottage porch with green painted front door and frame, plants and flowers

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Some small front porches can be dark, so highlighting your door and frame by painting them the same colour, will give depth to the overall look of your porch whilst making it feel welcoming. 

'Consider painting both the door and surrounding frame in one shade, this can create a trompe l’oeil effect by drawing the eye beyond the framework of the door and making the entrance appear larger as well as delivering an impactful finish,' says Ruth Mottershead. 

Darker colours will recede whereas lighter shades will pop forward, so consider which kind of look you prefer when choosing your colours. 

2. Add seating

small front porch ideas, country cottage with yellow front door, bench outside

(Image credit: Future)

If you're lucky enough to have a pretty country cottage that comes with an overhanging roof, and therefore a ready-made cute little porch, make the most of the space you have. 

Adding in seating will be practical and pretty when positioned next to the front door. Depending on the available space this could be one of the best garden benches or some fold-up garden chairs – either will be sufficient enough to use to pop off muddy shoes or perch with a coffee.

3. Consider a glazed porch

small front porch ideas, front door with tiles and glazed porch, monochromatic tiles

(Image credit: Future)

If you're not keen on a fully covered up porch, then consider a glazed design – and it could double as a mini greenhouse too! 

We really like the idea of this kind of porch as it's instantly light and airy whilst still keeping you dry from the elements. Choose decorative tiles to add pattern and remember to add some lighting, a single wall light will suffice that's on a sensor for those darker evenings. 

4. Add cladding

small front porch ideas, white front porch with shiplap, decking, plants, wooden rocking chair, lanterns

(Image credit: Cedral)

Love New England-style porches? Exterior cladding will give your small porch a new lease of life whilst adding a stylish exterior that's hard-wearing. 

'Not everyone is fortunate to live in an authentic country cottage or New England-style property – but the beauty of today’s approach to design is that anything is possible. Cladding can cleverly transform a 1970s semi into the country-style cottage you always dreamed of,' says Lisa Grosse, from Cedral

This includes porches too – nothing beats shiplap for adding character to a space, however small. 

5. Perk up with plants

small front porch ideas, tiny front porch, yellow front door, blue grey masonry, plants

(Image credit: Future)

Even the tiniest of porches could benefit from a little love and colour. Painting your masonry a different colour to your front door will add character and contrast depending on which shade you choose. 

Container garden ideas will help no end, place small designs on the steps and have a large selection next to the steps. Plants to consider that will add instant colour and volume are hydrangeas and geraniums, Crocus has a lovely range of both that you can order online.

6. Opt for a two tone effect

small front door porch, dark grey front door with turquoise tiles halfway up in the porch, umbrella lent up, lantern pendant

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

When your small front porch is also narrow, it pays to come up with some design tricks to make it feel lighter yet still stylish.

One idea is to tile the sides halfway up, they will protect the walls from bumps and scrapes, add a tactile element and colour to your scheme. Also, extend the front door colour further out so the shade you've chosen blends with the tiles. 

‘Your front door is an excellent place to create a strong first impression, and an inky dark blue such as ‘Kigali’ is a really smart alternative to black. Because Paint & Paper Library’s Architectural paints can be applied directly to almost any surface, you can use the paint directly from the same tin, or take a related colour such as Mockingbird, to paint all adjacent surfaces, whether it’s rendered masonry, brick, woodwork and even tiles,' says Andy Greenall, head of design Paint & Paper Library

7. Pair up your trees

small front porch ideas, maroon front door, pair of bay trees each side, white masonry, enamel wall light, metal door mat

(Image credit: Future)

Symmetry is a fabulous design tool that helps to trick the eye whilst creating balance. 

A pair of bay trees on either side of your front door within your small porch, will distract from the size of your space. This unfussy yet stylish idea has an elegance that works well with period properties. However, bay trees aren't the only option, their are plenty of small trees you can grow in pots to flank your front door. You can pick up a fig tree like the Brown Turkey dwarf variety from Thompson & Morgan or we've seen olive trees going for bargain prices at Asda and Costco at the moment.

8. Squeeze in vertical storage

small front porch ideas, country cottage with front porch and storage with wellies, throws, cushions, hydrangeas outside, basket

(Image credit: Future)

If your small porch has some depth to the sides, then you can utilise the space by having shelves put in or pile some crates on top of each other instead and use the full vertical space.

You can use them to store wellies, throws for cooler evenings, picnic blankets and cushions for outdoor entertaining. The trick is to use the full height to make the most out of the available space. 

9. Tile the floor

small front porch ideas, front porch with white masonry, tiled pathway and porch

(Image credit: Zulufish)

Floor tiles are a great addition to a small porch, they add pattern and colour to a scheme. Match them to your front garden path ideas to create a seamless flow from one to the other.

‘Opting for a beautiful, tiled path that brings character and interest is an excellent way to create design impact at your front door,' agrees Caroline Milns, head of interior design, Zulufish. 'Consider leading those tiles from the exterior into the interior and through to your hallway to create a sense of flow. This can also be very effective in smaller porches where it will elongate the space by naturally draw the eye beyond the porch framework.' 

10. Create a feature with double doors

small front porch ideas, blue door with double doors in porch, basket of tulips, lanterns on steps

(Image credit: Future)

For extra security (and a super stylish option) have you considered putting a door on your porch? 

It does mean you have 'double doors' but this is where you can get creative with glazing and framing. A large glazed front door will offer glimpses into a pretty enclosed porch and of the front door beyond. Their is also the added perk that it will help keep your hallway insulated from drafts in winter.


What is the smallest a porch can be? 

The point of a porch is to give you cover whilst you enter your home, so if it doesn't do that then it's not essentially a porch. As long as it gives you some protection from the elements then it's doing its job. 

A small canopy or wall mounted porch added to the exterior of your house above the front door will help in this instance. The best part about a small porch is that you shouldn't need to get planning permission for a porch to add it in, but do check the regulations before embarking on a project.

How narrow can a front porch be? 

Most porches won't be narrower than a front door, otherwise it will be deemed as impractical – in terms of walking into one. 

The smallest would be around 3 foot in depth and up to 8 feet in width. If you're looking to add one then make sure it's in proportion to the front of your house. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.