This encouraging and inspiring makeover post is sponsored by AE Outdoor, proud supporter of our gathering place at The Barn.

When we bought this property a year and a half ago, I fell in love with the potential of the barn. The main thing we were looking for as we shopped for a house/land was some type of  water, 10ish acres and at least one building on the property along with a house. Not only did we find a property with a tractor barn, it had a covered porch area all along the side. This was a HUGE bonus!


And a HUGE eyesore for the past 18 months.


As we worked on renovating the inside of the barn, the porch was a holding area for all the furniture.


We used it for live music (if only we had more wires).


And last year for the Hope*ologie event I put some plastic chairs on the porch. #lastminutescramble

My thoughts behind attacking a to do list 12 acres long: start inside and slowly work my way out. Kind of like a radar circle from the buildings we are focusing–mainly, the house and barn.

barn porch

So our barn porch sat like this all winter. I knew we had a great little spot –I’m so glad we already had a concrete floor and a roof, but I was overwhelmed with where to start to make this porch a place to comfortably hang out.

barn porch decorated

Well, it finally came together. We’ve got an outdoor room that fits right in with the rustic feel of the inside of the barn…


I had no idea where to begin, and like we’ve talked about a million times, I needed a lovely limitation. When EVERYTHING is an option, I become paralyzed–too many wonderful choices!

Once I choose a jumping off point (this lovely sectional from AE Outdoor) everything quickly fell into place.


When it comes to porches and outdoor rooms, you only need to focus on

  1. seating
  2. surfaces
  3. lighting
  4. cozifiers

–in that order.

The seating is going to be your main focus, the biggest investment, and will get the most wear and tear so that’s the ideal place to start.

As we’ve been renovating this barn for gatherings, I’m really grateful for companies who have pitched in to help us complete it–AE Outdoor supplied this perfectly adorable outdoor sectional so that when you come to visit, you’ll have a cushy outdoor space to sit.


Once I had the sectional in place, I gathered up surfaces (surfi?)–I turned a large rectangular basket upside down–instant table.

stump table

I grabbed the stump table that we used in the family room of our last house–a perfect fit on our porch.


And the of course the ottoman from the sectional can be used as a table or it can be lined up with the rest of the sectional and become more seating. Win win.

barn porch lighting

When I planned out the lighting for the barn I added a porch light between the windows, but I wanted to be able to control the ambiance even more–so I tied up these galvanized lanterns with some rope.

rope lantern


…and threw some string lights on the teepee. Lighting is a underestimated finisher when it comes to outdoor spaces.

And now for the best part: cozy-ing it up!

mossy pillows

The sectional came with more than enough super fluffy, mossy green solid and striped pillows covered in Sunbrella outdoor fabric.

mossy green

ae outdoor fabric

And of course swatches are available so you can make an informed decision–and all the fabric has a 5 year warranty–it’s fade and mildew resistant. But my advice to you is to never purchase a sectional or piece of furniture based on the color or pattern of the pillows that are sold with it. Don’t ever pass up furniture you love because you aren’t in love with the additional pillows, and never purchase a large piece simply because you are in love with the throw pillows.

Because you can easily trade pillows around.

I’ve got plans for these pillows in another outdoor space, so I traded them out with pillows that work with the barn colors from the inside.

the barn

As you can see from the inside of the barn, the outdoor porch was like a seamless addition. Here’s the barn all set up for Manntime and they so enjoyed being able to sit outside and be comfortable in what felt like an extension of the inside space.

DSC_1118We don’t sawmill logs for the genril public. Thank you. The Manger.

The focal point of our porch is this quirky sign we found on our property. There used to be a working sawmill here–and clearly, their clientele needed to mean business.

They don’t mess around.

Nor do they spell. Which of course is my favorite part of the sign.


All we needed to complete the porchy coziness was plants–and OH MY WORD we have an outdoor room!



I took these photos after this furniture had sat out on the porch for a month in the height of pollen season–I’m thrilled at how well the fabric has held up–we have cats who think this sofa belongs to them and evening sun that beats down on this fabric and I couldn’t be happier with the low maintenance.

Check out more of what AE Outdoor has to offer in their fresh 2015 line (my sectional is the Hillborough Sectional from the 2014 line which is still perfectly adorable and available). Their entire store is 20% off for a limited time.

outdoor porch

I’m training myself to stop thinking of my porches as a place to store dog food and cast off furniture, and to start thinking of them as outdoor rooms–places our family can enjoy for months out of every year. I’m so grateful that a roof and concrete floor no matter how rough it started, can become a place of rest and inspiration.

outdoor furniture

Need more outdoor room inspiration? Follow AE Outdoor on Pinterest .