Rediscovering the Sleeping Porch
September 21, 2015
Creating a Relaxing Sleeping Porch
The sleeping porch became popular in the 1900s when doctors were trying to convince their patients that it is healthier to sleep outdoors. Here are our favorite elements for creating a Southern-style sleeping porch:While mosquitoes might make that a bad idea in the South, screened-in sleeping porches make it possible to enjoy cool breezes and chirping crickets after the sun goes down. There’s nothing like creating a place for this grown-up version of camping to make you feel like a kid again.
In Charleston, hanging bed swings like this one from Vintage Porch Swings are a popular way to create a sleeping porch that doubles as a space for social gatherings. These bed swings use a standard twin mattress, so you can choose the firmness. The mattress cover and any pillows that will stay outside year-round should be removable and made of outdoor fabric. We recommend investing in a custom mattress cover and matching bolster covers in a neutral shade, then swapping out the throw pillows as your seasons and tastes change.
If you don’t have a porch to spare, you can use a big tree and an inexpensive mosquito net.
By day, the hanging bed swing functions as a sofa or loveseat, so place a long coffee table in front or a side table nearby for a cup of tea and a book. Add a floor lamp to one side, or a table lamp if you’re using a side table. Make sure your lamps are either protected from the elements or designed to be used on covered patios. Then, just as you would in a bedroom, layer on the textiles. Add a sisal, jute or rag rug and plenty of pillows for reading. Make sure there’s a cozy quilt or cashmere throw nearby just in case the late night breeze turns cool. If you need privacy, add outdoor curtains that can be pushed back during the day.
The end of September in the Lowcountry is the perfect time of year to spend as much time on the porch as possible. Take a second look at your space to see if a little rearranging can yield a social space by day and a cozy sleeping porch by night.