A porch is a structure that is attached to the front of a house; it acts as a platform on which guests may stand while waiting for the homeowner to answer the door, or it can be used as an area for sitting or other activities. An enclosed porch is a porch that has a roof and walls, and often a door that opens into the enclosed area. Many homes feature an enclosed porch to shield the front door and the area in front of the front door from the elements outside, and to provide a protected area for guests.
A porch that has a roof but no walls may be called a semi-enclosed porch, while a porch with no roof or walls may be referred to simply as a porch. The enclosure can be a solid structure, or it can be a screened-in structure instead. The enclosed porch can be built around an existing porch, or it can be part of the original structure. It typically features an outer door that leads into the enclosed area, in which the inner door into the house stands.
The purpose of the enclosed porch varies from structure to structure. A fully enclosed porch can act as a storage space, or if heated, it can be used as an extra living space. Sometimes it is simply used as a sitting area, or a waiting area protected from the elements. A screened-in porch can be used in summer months for leisure time, allowing guests to enjoy the weather without bugs swarming around them. In winter months, the porch area can be used as a mud room, in which muddy or snowy boots and coats can be stored so dirt is not tracked inside the house. Still other enclosed porches are meant simply as decoration, and they can be filled with plants, benches, or other decorative items.
While the enclosed porch does enhance privacy and usable living space, there are drawbacks to the structure as well. The enclosed area can add yet another door or angle to work around when moving furniture in or out of the house, and it can sometimes obscure the entrance to the home, confusing visitors. Poorly designed enclosed porches can hurt the aesthetic of a house, though well-designed porches can enhance the aesthetic and even add value to the home; and enclosures will hide or obscure the front of the house, so if the home's aesthetic is pleasing to the eye, it will be blocked to passers-by.