Porches, unlike decks, are typically associated with older homes and bygone eras, but many current house design ideas integrate front and rear porches into the original plan as a way to expand living space without adding another interior room. With more and more families following informal lifestyles and discovering the pleasures of relaxing and entertaining at home, porches are joining decks and patios as multifunctional indoor-outdoor areas. And although porches most often accompany traditional designs -- shingled Victorians, Midwestern farmhouses, rambling ranches -- they have also found a place among more contemporary styles.
Because porches are constructed as an integral part of a house, often sharing the same foundation and roof system, they adapt to the same site conditions. They may sit on-grade with the floor just slightly above the ground, or they may be raised a distance off the ground and connected to the yard with stairs. Like most attached decks, the porch floor nearly always lies on or very near the same level as interior rooms, easing the transition between indoors and out. Unlike many decks, however, a porch usually remains on a single continuous level as it edges the house.