Summer Weatherization Tips: Part Seven

One of the most pleasant methods for cooling off in the summer without the use of AC is to simply make use of your front, side or back porch.

Our post next week will cover the cooling benefits to the whole house from the shading of surfaces by awnings, eaves and porches, but today we would like to highlight the basic livability improvements a nice porch provides in summer. Historic homes, especially Arts and Crafts and Victorian homes, were often built with not only a front porch, but several porches located in different of the house. A century ago, the ease of access to fresh air that these spaces provide was actually touted as a crucial health tool, and sleeping porches, (i.e., screened-in porches located in more private areas of the home, like the second floor or private side porches) were marketed extensively to homeowners. Lynn Elliott writes about the history and use of sleeping porches in this article from Old House Journal.

In this short Bob Vila Magazine article, author Donna Boyle Schwartz makes the following suggestions for improving porch spaces, especially for sleeping porches:

  • Covering. The space should be covered against the elements and for safety, it should have at least a low railing around the perimeter.
  • Screens. If you live in an area where bugs abound in summer, it probably goes without saying that screens are essential. Many choose also to integrate fabric shades or awnings, which can be lowered for privacy.
  • Water- and fade-resistant fabrics and furnishings. Furnishings should be casual, comfortable, and resistant to the effects of water and sunlight.
  • Sleeping arrangements. Since sleeping porches often serve as living areas during the day, fill these spaces with versatile pieces that perform more than one function. Consider a suspended bed doubles as a porch swing or daybed that doubles as deep seating.
  • Ceiling fan. After all, the key to a comfortable sleeping porch is air circulation. Shop for a top-rated ceiling fan with our tips.
  • Indirect lighting. You’ll get plenty of natural light from the big windows around a sleeping porch, but supplement these with some table lamps or flameless candles.


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