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Sleeping Under the Stars: Sleeping Porches

Sleeping Under the Stars: Sleeping Porches

Do you dream about sleeping under the stars, or maybe just a lazy summer nap outdoors? I have friends who have a summer bedroom. Every summer they haul their bed out to their screened-in porch. Imagine being lulled to sleep by the night sounds of frogs, owls, crickets, or the ocean, a gently flowing stream, or a cool evening rain. Could anything be more restful?

Sleeping porches have been gracing the exteriors of homes for a while. The architects of the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th Century often designed homes that incorporated sleeping porches. These outdoor rooms provided homeowners a transition bringing nature into the home, and extending outdoor living. Doctors would recommend people with respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis to sleep on these porches to alleviate respiratory problems.

Cut down on air conditioner usage with these 10 tips for creating an outdoor sleeping porch adapted from this article:

1. Choose a porch or balcony on a side of your house that is protected from the weather, or add a simple framework to your home.

2. A leak-proof roof with extended eaves helps keep inclement weather from blowing in.

3. If security is an issue, it is safer to have an outdoor sleeping area off a second story room.

4. Privacy is easier to achieve on the side or back of a house. Even a room on the front of a home can be hidden from view with eco-friendly bamboo roll-up-blinds.

5. The sleeping porch should be screened-in to protect sleepers from mosquitoes and other nighttime creepy crawlers. Here’s some PVC-free screens.

6. To extend the use of the area beyond the warmest months, moveable windows or walls can be installed.

7. Furnish a sleeping porch with as many creature comforts as you desire. Keep in mind that the pieces will be exposed to the elements. Here’s some eco-friendly outdoor furniture.

8. Ceiling or floor fans bring night breezes in. Here are some of the greenest.

9. Bedside tables provide a place for a book and a cool drink.

10. To use the room during the day as a living area, day beds, convertible couches or chaises can serve the dual purpose of seating by day and sleeping by night. Or use fold-up cots, roll-away beds, or sling a hammock up.

Sleeping porches might just be the best reason to go on a staycation. Catnap, daydream, deep sleep or just relax in a sleeping porch, and enjoy the peaceful warmth of summer. Do you have an outdoor sleeping space?


Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

12 comments

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5:35AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

Great Idea!! I love the stars!

4:29PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

I wouldn't feel safe enough to sleep outside.

11:25PM PST on Feb 5, 2011

Good ideas. Thanks.

4:23PM PDT on Sep 4, 2010

I love this idea. We didn't have a sleeping porch when I was a child, but I did get to sleep in the back yard once or twice. I have a lovely memory of falling asleep looking at the stars in the sky, and thinking about whether I could reach up and touch them.

8:00AM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

great idea - my kids already 'camp out' on the roof terrace in summer.

7:48AM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

My grandparents had such a huge porch on the back of their second-story apartment. It was pure heaven in the hot St. Louis summers in the 1950's and 1960's, before the days of air conditioning. This article gave me a fond trip down memory lane. Thanks for that.

4:44AM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Thanks for the article.

11:38PM PDT on Aug 4, 2010

Great idea!

11:38AM PDT on Aug 4, 2010

What if it rains? LOL!

6:11PM PDT on Jul 19, 2009

PS: I forgot to mention--- we did not need any alarm clocks back then! If the singing wild birds did not wake us, the rooster did! We never over-slept back then because there wasn't a 'snooze' button to push!

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