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Wraparound porches have curb appeal covered

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 (Houzz/Frederick + Frederick Architects)

There is not an exterior architectural element in the world that has more curb appeal than a wraparound porch. The very sight of one makes us imagine ourselves sipping iced tea in a rocking chair, gabbing with friends and family, or growing old with a partner while swaying on a porch swing for two. Whether straight out of Savannah or ultramodern, a porch can make a house a home. Get inspired by these 15 fabulous wraparound porches.

When looking at this new traditional home, we can guess how charming the interior must be just by taking a look at its expansive porch. Crisp black details, lovely lighting, stately yet unpretentious columns and wicker furniture beckon visitors.

Here's another peek at the same porch. If you look closely you can see another charming exterior décor detail, the crescent moon cutouts on the shutters.

One of the tenets of new urbanism is promoting front porch culture, which is thought to increase interaction between neighbors and build community. This home is part of a neighborhood in Washington state where this easy, breezy porch culture is celebrated. It's easy to imagine sitting on an Adirondack chair and waving to neighbors from this wraparound.

This home in Colorado has many outdoor spaces on every floor of the house, but the wraparound has the most impact. The striking stone on the columns, staircases and surrounding wall is locally sourced.

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I can't think of a better spot for extensive porches than a lakefront home in New England. This house incorporates open-air porch areas as well as a screened-in porch for dining sans mosquitoes.

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This simple, modern wraparound porch gives the homeowners a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the natural surroundings while having a relaxing rock. Note the way the wood and steel railings keep the views as open as possible.

This Boston home recalls more traditional farmhouses and incorporates a few Arts and Crafts details via the light fixture and the front door.

Here's a view of the same home from the side. The wraparound porch protects a street-front entry and a side driveway entry, and connects the two.

This home's continuous roofline extends beyond the exterior walls and covers the wraparound porch. Three dormers break up the roof's expanse and keep the scale pleasing and proportional.

Here an outdoor fireplace allows the owners to use the porch year-round.

This striking ranch makes the most of panoramic vistas by providing prime viewing space on its wraparound porch. Clean lines create a roofline with modern proportions.

Wraparounds offer different areas and activities within the same porch; the front is public, and the sides and back can be private. There's something about this wraparound porch that says, "If we don't know you, ring the bell on the front door. Otherwise, come around the side and join us."

Around the bend, different activities are programmed into the same porch, including a covered spot for dining and an open area for sunbathing.

Imagine this simple home without the wraparound porch and it's obvious that something would be missing. The galvanized steel porch roof and the simple structure are modern nods to the rural Texas context and vernacular.

This porch is also a great spot for dining al fresco; here's a closer look at the dining table area. The utility sink is a brilliant idea, and the wood ceiling lends an unexpected polished note to the rustic setting.

Does this gorgeous setting under the oaks seem familiar? This house was built on the property where Forrest Gump grew up in the movie. (The house in that movie was built as a set.) The porch dominates the facade and gives a big nod to Lowcountry style.

Here's a close-up of the Lowcountry porch, complete with lovely railings, traditional shutters, windows with transoms, lovely lighting, plants and beautiful wood underfoot and overhead. One of the best ways to make sure your porch is at its most welcoming is to add plenty of comfortable rocking chairs.

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Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Becky Harris is a contributor to Houzz.