Comfortable and inviting outdoor space is always highly prized, but demand is soaring as the coronavirus pandemic continues to present challenges across the United States. Even as the temperatures start to dip, people are turning their front porches into enviable outdoor entertaining, relaxing, and dining spaces. A few smart investments of time and money can turn even small outdoor spaces into enticing retreats. Let us reveal nine creative ideas for porch decor that are destined to inspire your next remodel.
Make Your Door A Destination
Start by assessing the basics. Could the front door use some paint? The experts tell Martha Stewart Living that any porch transformation should begin with the front door; “if it fits the style of your home, go big with a bright hue to make your porch stand-out,” explains Linda Hayslett, founder of LH.Designs. Hints of color are also a terrific way to increase your curb appeal and make a darker porch more inviting. Southern Living recommends creating a contrast between your exterior walls and the door by “painting your door or the trim around it a color that will pop even from far away.” The same eye-catching color could also be added to the frames of windows that look out onto the porch to complete the picture.
Transform the Porch Ceiling
It has long been a tradition in the south for people to paint their porch ceilings. The distinctively cool “Haint Blue” is a classic paint choice, but for a reason even more intriguing than its delightful green-blue tint. As Southern Living explains: “The tradition of painting your porch ceiling this cool, green-tinted shade of blue can be traced all the way back to the Gullah Geechee communities of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, who used the color on windows, shutters, and porches to keep away “haints” or spirits.” Even without the added ghostly incentive, demand is increasing for unique porch decor ideas that extend upward. Vivid greens, soft yellows, bold geometric designs, and delicate murals are being added as a way to transform even the smallest spaces. For those hoping to keep their remodels green, you are in luck! Companies like Auro Paints, Farrow & Ball, Benjamin Moore, and many others offer durable exterior paints that are vegan or eco-friendly in an array of colors.
Design a Cozy Seating Plan
To date, your porch decor may have felt a bit ad hoc. Now is the perfect time to design a cozy new seating plan for your porch that incorporates ideas based on how you have been using the space. Do you have an underused nook? Consider having a custom couch built to fit. You can incorporate locked storage into the base that will allow you to stash toys, cushions, and soft, warm blankets to ward off the chill of the coming season. Deep bench swings filled with pillows continue to be favored by the designers at Southern Living for generous farmhouse porches. As the Magazine advises: “a bench swing hung with rope is the perfect place to sit and swing awhile for adults, kids, or even the family dog.” Meanwhile, long bed swings can anchor an ample space, and “an extra-long porch swing … at 7 feet long, invites stretching out for long afternoon naps.”
Don’t hesitate to use traditional indoor furniture as decor for a covered porch. Depending on the space, deep club chairs or generous rocking chairs offset with side tables and lamps arranged around a rug provide a relaxing retreat perfect for reading, knitting, crafting, or conversation. As Southern Living reveals: “a well-layered outdoor space looks lived-in and way more inviting than something that’s stark and bare.”
Build an Outdoor Dining Retreat
Are you searching for ideas about how to decorate a large, wrap-around porch? Consider breaking the space into zones and designating one for outdoor dining. Depending on your home’s style, your porch decor could incorporate everything from rustic, transitional furniture to sleek and modern options. This dining space can become a graceful extension of your interior when you pair the table and chairs with appealing linens and soft lighting. If there is room, try incorporating a furniture piece to act as a sideboard for easy serving. Adding privacy to your new al fresco dining room can be done quickly with the installation of drapery. As the experts at Southern Living advise: “simple table and chairs, plus drapes in a hue somewhere between cornflower and seafoam, create a lovely, soothing outdoor oasis.”
Keep it Cool or Spark Some Warmth
If you live in an area that experiences extended summers or warm weather throughout the year, you may be struggling to keep your porch cool. One easy idea is the addition of a trellis at one end. Ivy, vines, or plants can be woven throughout the trellis to create a sense of calm and bring some much-needed shade. Ceiling fans are also a good idea when updating your porch decor as they can offer cool comfort throughout the year.
If you live in an area where the temperatures head significantly lower during the fall and winter months, Real Simple loves the idea of investing in a heater. The Magazine explains that they recommend “an electric patio heater to avoid the hassle of propane tanks, but either way, an outdoor heater will make it more comfortable outdoors even after the first frost.” Do you long for a fire pit, but have concerns about fitting everything safely onto your porch? Real Simple adores the idea of purchasing “a small tabletop version [that] is easy to use and provides some added warmth for your guests.” Don’t forget the marshmallows!
Upgrade Your Porch Lighting
Darkness falls earlier in the fall and winter months, so adding new, welcoming lighting is imperative. Start by assessing the steps leading up to your porch. Could they use some illumination? Experts tell Martha Stewart Living that there is an environmentally friendly solution to a dark path or porch stairs; “purchasing solar lights found at your local department store can make a big difference.” Real Simple loves the addition of vintage string lights for “a gorgeous glow,” and the designers at Southern Living agree. They suggest that you “[string] Christmas or bistro lights along the inside of your porch ceiling (so they aren’t visible from the street to give off a keep-my-Christmas-lights-up-all-year-long vibe) or add additional wall or hanging lanterns that match those near your front door.” Hurricane lamps on tables or standing lamps flanking your outdoor couch or chairs are also excellent ideas for shining more light and bringing a cozy feeling to your porch decor.
Bring Comfort to Your Porch Floor
Be sure to pay attention to your porch floors. Just as a good rug can pull together an interior room’s decor, a rug in an outdoor space can create a feeling of intimacy and warmth. It’s also an inexpensive and quick way to cover rough slate, brick, or distressed wood flooring. You can choose something neutral as a way of balancing the colors in the rest of your porch decor or select something vibrant for a pop of color against an otherwise neutral palette. For versatility, Real Simple recommends a “reversible rug [that] has a lighter striped side for summer and can simply be flipped for a darker shade come fall.”
Add Flowers and Plants to the Porch Decor
When searching for new ideas for porch decor, don’t skip adding fresh blooms and plants to the mix. As the experts tell Martha Stewart Living, “using potted plants and flowers, like succulents, [are] easy ways to infuse hues into your everyday outdoor decor.” Meanwhile, the pros at Southern Living suggest that you “[add] trees for height or place smaller pots on a bench or table to make them more visible.” Window boxes, hanging ferns, and flowerpots also work well for a subtle infusion of color. If you celebrate Christmas, a mini-fir tree can be a delightful reminder of the season, and the kids will love getting another chance to decorate.
Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
Some simple accessories can take your porch decor to the next level. Do you love the idea of watching movies on the porch? Small video projectors were the hit of the summer and are looking to be one of the favorite porch accessories for the fall and even winter. Real Simple recommends pairing a video projector with a “simple video screen made of a curtain rod and black and white full-sized sheets.” Don’t forget a Bluetooth speaker. Not only will it gently pipe in your favorite tunes as you relax, but it can work with your video projector to give your outdoor movie and TV nights the perfect soundtrack. Cozy throw blankets and large pillows that can be tossed onto the floor for extra seating are also “must-haves” for your porch decor. And a little side cart with the ingredients to your favorite happy hour beverages will be a hit no matter when you decide to celebrate.