What Is a Portico? Benefits and Design Inspiration

Your home’s entryway is one of the most important aspects of its exterior design. It is, after all, the gateway that brings you from the outside in. As such an important part of your home’s curb appeal, there are plenty of ways to accentuate the entrance. There are simple options, like painting your front door and finding the right planters. But you can also make a bigger change! Porticos are an aesthetically appealing and functional addition to a façade. Read on to learn more about portico benefits and design ideas for using them on your exterior.

Whether your entryway is in need of a little sprucing up or an entire overhaul, brick&batten is here to help you visualize its potential. Our designers will create a digital rendering of your home with every detail included. Learn more about our virtual design services.

Modern farmhouse style white home with a portico design idea

What Is a Portico?

While the word “portico” translates to “porch” in Italian, the design element isn’t entirely the same thing as a porch, at least not in terms of function. Originating in Greece, Ancient Romans were the first to recognize the obvious portico benefits, like rain cover and shade, that a covered entryway could provide. 

home with tall portico

Porticos can be described as the covered space above a front door or entryway. They are usually held up by columns.

traditional home with a portico

Portico vs. Porch

We think of a porch as a covered extension of the home’s entrance with room for lounging. But a portico is a little different. Porticos are smaller than porches and are typically only big enough to fit people waiting to come inside and perhaps a couple of planters. The biggest portico benefits involve staying out of the elements as you prepare to enter the front door and, of course, adding visual interest to your façade.

Plus, adding a covered entry doesn’t just keep you dry when it rains, it will keep the inside entrance of your home dry as well. 

For a deep dive on myriad exterior design elements, check out our exterior design dictionary.

Why Choose a Portico?

If you imagine yourself lounging outside the front of your home — perhaps enjoying the comfort of a porch swing or waving to neighbors while you dine al fresco — a porch is definitely the way to go. But if you prefer the privacy and view of your backyard, you may rather have an expansive back deck as opposed to a porch. If that’s the case, you can still have enjoy a portico’s benefits without committing to a full bore front porch addition.

Furthermore, some homes have inset entryways or other layouts that don’t allow for porches. In this instance, a portico is an excellent solution.

before-and-after of a white home with a portico

Porticos & Patios

For this home, our designers widened the entryway and expanded the patio to make room for a seating area. The uncovered space is a great spot to soak up the sun, while the portico offers an area to stay out of the weather. Plus, the wood columns play off the wood paneling on the upper level, making the design feel intentional.

before-and-after of a home with a deep portico

Deepen the Entryway

If you’re looking to add more depth to the entrance of your home, a portico is a great way to accomplish that. The face of this home was pretty flat aside from the molding around the front door. Our designers added a more substantial portico, instantly creating a more dynamic design. The depth of the portico is particularly compelling and creates a nearly enclosed space surrounding the front door, great for staying dry while you search for your keys in a rainstorm. 

Raised Portico Awning

In this rendering, the portico is elevated from the top of the front door. This distance allows room for other design elements, like the hanging light fixture and paneled picture window. Plus, all of the windows in the space brighten up the design outside and bring more natural light to the interior, too.  

A traditional Cape Cod home with painted white brick and a portico over the entryway

Thinking of adding a portico to your entryway?

From amplifying the overall aesthetic of your exterior to being a functional design elements, there are plenty of portico benefits. If you want to add one to your exterior, our designers will give you a visualization of a portico that will work best for your home and your style.

Whether you want to include a portico on your new build or revamp your current entryway, we’re here to help. Our expert team of designers can help you visualize your dream home’s exterior before you commit to big, expensive changes. Get started today.