before & after: arnod’s beautiful porch

porches can be an absolute lifesaver if you live in a city. they provide a quick escape from cabin-fever and can be the perfect place to grow plants and flowers or enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long day. d*s reader arnod has shared his small apartment in ghent, belgium with his boyfriend for over five years. because the weather in ghent has been lovely for the past month or so, arnod and his boyfriend decided it was time to create a small outdoor retreat. their tiny terrace had previously been a stash spot for garbage, cleaning tools, and spare paint, so they invested about $85 and a weekend to making over the space. after cleaning out the terrace and repainting, arnod and his boyfriend constructed an ingenius little table/bench/seat nook that easily folds up onto the wall when it’s not in use. and the bonus? the black fencing against the back wall actually hides shelving where arnod can keep recycling until it’s ready to go out. they love the new look and the fact that they can comfortably fit three people in the sun for breakfast, coffee, light meals, or late afternoon drinks. with a vision and some handiwork arnod and his boyfriend managed to create a beautiful outdoor room that has quickly become a favorite space of theirs- and the cat, cartouche. two thumbs up- well done!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]


So funny, as a Belgian myself, I immediately thought that this looked like a Belgian porch. Ha :)

Good work, guys!


Hasn’t this before & after been featured on apartment therapy in the last couple of days, too?


Trimming out the brick with wood painted black adds a surprising amount of impact here. PS. Brilliant.

I will be moving to a new house with a very large porch, so I will have to save this idea for the future.

Elien Popelier

super idea!! I’m moving to Ghent too soon, wanna do my porch? No seriously, it looks amazing and practical!


Does anyone know the name of the tall purple flowering plant in the after photo? Thanks!


Addendum — it’s more pink than purple, the one with trumpet flowers (not the shorter purple flowering plant).

Anyone know the name of that plant?


looks fab and is calling for a morning coffee and croissant…and this is for you Christina…especially with that foxglove (digitalis purpurea) in the background!


The tall pinkish purple flower is a foxglove. The dark purple flower looks like lavendar.

Honestly, I didn’t see how they could fit anybody on that porch. Well done!


It looks so much cleaner and lighter now. Very creative use of limited space and the plants liven things up beautifully.


Wonderful job – so clever and beautifully executed. And…I recognize those white table supports as re-purposed Elfa shelf brackets! Right on :)


Watch out for your cat! High rise syndrome can be deadly and or expensive.


That is completely brilliant! What an amazing idea!


What is truly amazing is how many people from Ghent are reading design*sponge (me too!)


Such a great idea!! So creative…
PLUS it came out beautiful!
All the respect.

Caroline @ CarrieCan

I thought small terraces like that where just a waste of space but after seeing this make over I learned that even the tiniest spaces can look beautiful. Great job!


This was absolutely fantastic. Such a smart use of space. And a bonus….when the table and benches are “up”, they look like modern art!


Thanks everyone! I have one of these at home and am slowly killing it with the wrong care. So now I can look up what it needs. They are stunning houseplants. So regal.


The kind of ingenious use of space that makes my eyes light up – just love it!

Laura (youngDCliving)

This is GENIUS! I love this idea, it is so smart. I guess the only problem is, does that mean you have to fold up the table if the person sitting on the other side needs to get up? Either way, I’d rather be sitting at that table and stuck there :)