Key elements to consider when developing screen porch plans include roof design, size and architectural elements. The most common porch roof designs are shed style and gable style. Shed style roofs work well when windows are placed low, while gable roofs offers higher ceiling heights. Builders recommend 200 square feet as the minimum deck size. Overall design style and architectural elements require careful consideration to ensure that the porch complements, rather than clashes with, the home's style.
With roofed and screened porches, decay is a greater risk due to water build-up than with a typical deck. Accordingly, air circulation and water drainage are also important considerations in the structural design, along with the placement of doors and posts. Posts tend to be closer together on screened porches than other types of porches and are a key factor in the structural integrity and safety of the porch. When placing porch doors, consider the impact on traffic flow from the house to the porch.
Any roofed porch reduces the amount of natural light entering the home, making lighting another key element when planning a porch. Recessed lighting, skylights or sun tunnels are options for minimizing the reduction of natural light. Electrical outlets and wiring for items, such as ceiling fans and wall-mounted televisions, and ceiling style are also planning considerations. A flat ceiling makes a porch feel more like an interior room, whereas cathedral ceilings offer a feeling of more space. Deciding whether to enclose or expose the ceiling rafters is a decision of aesthetics, but also cost, as enclosed rafters usually cost more than open rafters.