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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Come On In! Decorating a Welcoming Front Porch

Whether your front porch is a tiny stoop or a full-blown wraparound, you can decorate it just as you would any room in your home to make it a welcoming introduction to the rest of your house. Not only will you gain curb appeal, but you’ll also create a space where you and guests want to spend time. Here’s our primer on decorating a front porch.

Another room in your home

Think of your front porch as a room in your house. That means giving careful thought to the same elements you would in your interior: color, lighting, furnishings, and accessories. If your porch is small, you may need only a few elements to create a space that says “Welcome!” With a larger space, the right decor can bring the inside out and make a porch function as an additional living room that gives guests a great first impression of the rest of your home.

Elements to Consider for the porch

Porch size. A large expanse can hold a dining table and comfortable seating. With a smaller porch, it’s important to avoid a cluttered, fussy look. A pretty door color, an attractive door handle and knocker, a stylish doormat, a small chair or a bench and a lush plant in a small pot are enough to create a great first impression even if your porch is tiny.

Lighting. Besides adding beauty to your home, a porch serves a function: safe entry. So illumination is important. Depending on whether your porch is covered, install a pendant light overhead, sconces on either side of the front door or perhaps both. On a larger porch, table and floor lamps can illuminate furnished areas and make it easier to enjoy the porch at night. Lighting focused on the stairs to the porch will increase safety.

Color. A brightly painted door can add personality to your front porch and increase curb appeal. But don’t stop there. Adopt the Southern tradition of painting a porch ceiling a pale blue, a practice said to promote positive energy. Or paint your porch floor or stair risers or treads a fun color. Be sure the paints you choose coordinate with your home’s exterior color and any furnishings you add to the porch.

Furnishings. Comfortable seating in a material that can withstand the elements can make your porch a perfect place to while away an afternoon, particularly if you add pillows or a cozy throw. Consider rocking chairs or a porch swing for a homey touch. Add side tables or a coffee table if there’s space. Enjoy outdoor meals when the weather’s nice by adding a dining table and chairs.

Rugs. You can use area rugs to tie all the elements of your porch together and give the space the feel of a room. Rugs also allow you to define the different sections of a large porch. Try a round or square rug beneath a circular dining table, for example, and a rectangular one in front of a sofa. Even on a small porch without furnishings, a rug can provide interesting texture and contrasting colors. Choose indoor/outdoor rugs designed for easy care.

Other textiles. Just as with an interior room, chair and sofa cushions, as well as throw pillows, add comfort and interest to a porch. If you need privacy or shade from hot afternoon sun, install curtains along the sides of your porch. Look for fabrics made for outdoor use.

Hardware. Give some thought to your door handle and knocker, as well as any street numbers attached to the door or a porch column. Coordinate their color and style with the rest of your design.

Plants. Your porch is the perfect place for an array of plants. Whether you hang them from the ceiling, plant them in window boxes or cluster them in pots, plants add color, texture and sometimes even fragrance to your home’s entry. Covered porches require shade-loving plants such as ferns, hostas and impatiens. Grow them in attractive containers — terra cotta, ceramic, stone, concrete or metal — that coordinate with the rest of the porch’s decor. You can even drape vines such as wisteria around a porch’s entrance to frame it, or for privacy, train vines to run up trellises installed at the edge of your porch.

Sound. The sound of the wind in the trees may be enough for you, but if not, hang wind chimes or install a wall fountain to up your enjoyment of your porch. Or bring the music outdoors with wireless speakers. A ceiling or portable fan can add a nice sound as well as a cooling breeze.

Accessories. Just like inside your home, accessories add personality and charm to a porch. Choose a doormat that makes a statement. Add artwork to the walls, or string lights along the ceiling for a festive nighttime ambiance. Mark the changing of the seasons with accessories, such as a heap of pumpkins and gourds in the fall or a Christmas wreath come winter.

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