Sleeping under the stars — the idea of it sounds romantic, but when you factor in the mosquitoes and that unexpected morning dew, those feelings can de-escalate quickly. Fortunately for those of us who would prefer to stay far away from poison oak and hungry bears there is an indoor solution: the sleeping porch.
The trend has been experiencing somewhat of a design resurgence as it’s an eco-friendly alternative to blasting the AC on a sweaty summer’s night. Modern sleeping porches can be either attached or detached from the home and feature screens, windows or a combination of the two. The aesthetic is laid-back and cozy — the perfect spot for an afternoon nap or curling up with a good book.
Sleeping porches date back to the early 20th century when the discovery of germs prompted a fresh air frenzy — doctors believed that being out in the open could help to treat tuberculosis and deter other airborne illnesses. Even the White House had one; it was erected on the roof during the Taft Administration.
A traditional sleeping porch is typically a screened in deck or balcony, located on the second story — the air quality was believed to be much better up high. The sleeping porch was used primarily by the home’s residents, while the sunroom or patio directly below it was for entertaining guests.
Sleeping porches were popular in the southern states, with their mild winters and sweltering summers. The cool night air allowed people to sleep comfortably during the pre-air conditioning era. In more northern climates, sleeping porches had interchangeable screens and windows, to allow for year-round use.
The interiors were often decorated with wicker furniture, daybeds and plants to mimic the feel of being outdoors. Some sleeping porches were built off the master bedroom, with French doors that opened up to allow for a full-size bed to be wheeled in or out. The room was a common feature of Craftsman style homes, which peaked in popularity from the turn of the century to the 1930s.
Check out some more of our favorite modern-day sleeping porch designs below: