Porch Decorating Ideas
Your front porch is the first thing people see when they arrive. What does your porch say about you?
Don’t worry too much — you don’t have to go over-the-top with huge porch display to make your home look inviting. A few anchor pieces of furniture and thoughtfully chosen accents create a welcoming design that makes people want to sit and chat for a while.
In need of some decorating ideas for a small frontporch? Looking add a few country porch decorating ideas to your space? Read on for what you need to get started.
Things to Consider
Before you start trying front porch decorating ideas, take some time to think about the design fully. The exciting part about decorating your porch is that it’s unique to your home, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach you have to follow. There are some factors that influence your design, though.
Think about these features of your current porch:
• Size: The amount of space on your porch affects how many things you can fit on it. If you have a huge wrap-around porch, you have a lot more design options. Many decks are on the small side, however, so you’ll need to get a little more creative with the use of space. Measure your deck before creating your design to make sure furniture and other elements will work.
• Covering: Is your porch covered or open? A roof protects decorative elements, so you have more flexibility on what you can put on the porch. You can also hang items from the ceiling, such as light fixtures or hanging decorations for more flexibility in your design. If your porch doesn’t have a cover, consider adding a trellis or another structure over the top for some privacy and protection from the weather elements.
• Style: The style of your home’s exterior plays a major role in deciding on a style for your porch décor. The design elements you choose should go well with the overall style. For example, rustic or country design elements work best for a log cabin or similar style home.
• Purpose: Consider how you plan to use the space. If you want to sit and relax, you’ll want to incorporate as much comfy seating as possible, for example. Think about the ways you currently use or want to use the porch to help create your plan.
• Location: The location of the porch on the house can affect your design plans. Your small back porch ideas might vary from plans for a large front wrap-around deck. Consider the views from the porch when you look at the location, too. You want to maximize the pretty views with the way you position furniture and other elements.
• Sunlight: The amount of sunlight that hits the porch can affect some decorative elements. If you want to incorporate potted plants, for example, you need to choose plants ideal for the level of light the area receives. If you have a covered porch that doesn’t get much sunlight, you’ll want plants that can tolerate shade. If the porch is always sunny, you may want to position furniture or add structures to the design that adds some shade to make the space more comfortable.
• Existing decorations: Look at your current porch. Think about the design and what you like or don’t like about it. Look at the existing furniture and decorations. Do you want to incorporate them into the new design or start from scratch?
Seating is a major part of your porch decorating design plan. Whether your porch is large or small, try to fit at least two seats on it to create a functional seating and conversation area. It’s the perfect place to chat with a friend, drink your morning coffee or just soak in the nature all around you.
Neutral furniture pieces like log furniture tend to work best. They give you a clean palette for your other design elements. You can easily change the overall look of the porch by swapping out the accessories. If you choose brightly colored furniture, it has a very distinct look and is difficult to change without repainting or replacing the furniture.
From there, the first decision is where to set up the seating area. You need a space large enough to hold the chairs and leave room around them for foot traffic. Choosing the location helps you decide how many chairs will fit and how large they should be. Measure those areas, and keep in mind that you need to leave extra room around the seating, so people can actually get to them.
Once you know where to put them, decide what type of seating to get. Individual chairs fit easily into small spaces, and you can rearrange the setup as needed. If you have the space, consider a log rocking chair. You’ll need a little extra space to allow the chair to rock freely, but a rocking chair is the perfect rustic touch to your porch.
For a little extra seating room, add a log loveseat. You can get two spots in one piece of furniture. You’ll need a larger spot for the loveseat, but the overall space the loveseat takes is less than two individual chairs, so it can actually be a space saver if you want more spots.
Tables add to the overall functionality of your porch setup. Small side tables offer the perfect spot to hold drinks or small decorative pieces. They’re ideal when space is limited or when you want a few smaller locations to place things near seating areas. Place a small side table between two chairs to round out a small seating area.
Add an outdoor wooden coffee table to your seating area for additional spots to place drinks and plates while entertaining if space allows. Choose a coffee table that leaves enough room to walk around the chairs and table easily.
If you have more space, consider an outdoor dining table. This option is perfect if you enjoy dining outside or entertaining frequently. Add individual chairs or benches around the table for seating.
Curtains add a homey touch to your front porch. They create the feeling of being inside but with the fresh air and scenery of the outdoors. Curtains billow in the wind for a romantic touch, too, and they also add a touch of privacy and shade on sunny days.
Choose curtains designed for outdoor use, so they hold up well over time. These materials are designed to withstand moisture and UV rays, so they look great even when exposed to outdoor elements. Position the curtains just below the porch roof, so they hang down over the sides. You can place them on all sides or just one.
Decorate With Pillows
Pillows are another way to soften the look and feel of your porch. Decorative throw pillows come in all different shapes, size, colors and patterns, so you can customize the look to fit your style. Look for pillows designed specifically to go outside. They will hold up well outdoors without fading or growing mildew.
Toss the pillows on your outdoor seating pieces. Large pillows can also double as floor seating for kids. If your chairs don’t already have cushions, consider adding cushions to the seats and backs for even more softness.
Roll out the Welcome Mat
Create a homey feeling by placing an outdoor area rug on your porch. An area rug softens the hard porch floor, so it feels better on bare feet. You can also add a splash of color or a fun pattern into the space. The area rug acts as a visual anchor for the area as well, creating a centerpiece for a seating area, outdoor dining area or other functional space.
Consider the size of the area rug based on the available floor space. A large area rug creates a carpet-like effect to offer a larger soft surface. If you have different spaces for different activities, consider a smaller rug for each of those areas to create some visual separation.
Work in Splashes of Color
Color brings your porch alive with personality. It’s the perfect way to set the tone for the decorating scheme. In many cases, the furniture you use has a neutral color. For example, log furniture has a naturally brown tone. You can easily brighten up the design with colorful accents, and consider changing them based on the season. Use brighter colors in the spring and summer, for example.
Beyond accent pieces, you can bring color into the porch design with paint. One option is to paint the underside of the porch roof to add a dramatic touch. Another popular choice is to paint the front door in a bright or noticeable color. Painting railings, trim, shutters or the porch floor are other options. Keep in mind that paint is a more permanent fixture, so choose a color you can live with for a while.
Plants are an easy way to transition from nature outdoors to the interior of your home. Your porch is that bridge that eases the transition to the indoors. By displaying potted plants, you combine both locations. Choose plants that thrive in the amount of sunlight that hits the porch. Choose low-maintenance plants that don’t require a lot of watering and other care. That way, your porch looks great without adding a lot of work to your schedule.
Another consideration is the mature height and growth patterns of plants. Vining plants can work well on a trellis or along the railings of your porch if you want coverage, but they can be a pain near seating areas if they climb along your chairs. Choose plants that won’t get in the way of other items on the porch. If a plant grows tall, it might block a window or branch out in front of your door.
Traditional flower pots or urns offer an easy way to display potted plants. You can get creative with the containers. Try some of these options:
• A small wheelbarrow
• A wooden trough
• An old crate
• A toy dump trunk or similar old toy
• A wagon
• A window box
Decorative accessories aren’t just for indoor spaces. When you’re going for an outdoor living space vibe, place little accents around your space. Opt for items that fit your theme and overall color scheme.
Consider some of these options:
• Signs or wall hangings
• Potted plants
• Decorative bowls
• Decorative trays
• Dried flowers
• Old shutters
• Galvanized tubs
• Plant stands
• Decorative plates
• Window boxes
• Driftwood, stones, pine cones and other natural elements
An easy way to update and decorate your porch is by updating the hardware. Add new, large house numbers in a style that matches your home’s exterior. They not only make your address more visible from the street, but they also create a decorative element on the side of your home. Install a door knocker on your front door that stands out against it. Replace outdated doorknobs and other door hardware.
These simple changes add to the overall décor of the porch.
Light the Porch
A warm glow at night makes your deck look inviting. Lights also highlight different design elements on your porch, and they make the space functional if you want to entertain outdoors once the sun goes down.
Start by looking at the existing lighting on the deck. Is there a hardwired lighting fixture near the door? If so, consider how well it lights the area and if it fits the new look of your porch. Replacing the existing fixture is an inexpensive way to brighten up the porch and tie together the look with other design elements.
If there are currently no exterior fixtures, you can hire an electrician to add one. Choose a fixture with multiple bulbs for brighter illumination. If you have a covered porch, consider hiring an electrician to add recessed lights or traditional lighting fixtures from the ceiling. This option lets you spread out the light, so you can illuminate the different areas of the porch.
You can also add a ceiling fan designed for outdoor use. A ceiling fan creates that outdoor living space feel, and it helps you stay cool on warm summer days.
You don’t have to hardwire lights into your home’s exterior to increase lighting on your porch, though. Hang a string of lights for an instant increase in illumination. Tabletop lanterns or battery-operated lights also add a cozy ambiance while making the space brighter and easier to use.
Add Seasonal Displays
Seasonal displays let you change up the look of the porch easily without a total makeover. You can swap out certain design elements for seasonal colors, or add seasonal decorations among your existing ones.
For a summer porch, add bright colors that reflect the season. Swap out candles in existing candleholders with brightly colored ones. Replace neutral pillows with bold floral prints. Add fresh potted flowers around the porch.
As fall rolls around, move into rich autumn colors in the decorations. Brown, orange, yellow and deep red work well. Stack small square hay bales on the porch with pumpkins and gourds on top for a harvest look.
When winter rolls around, you may need to move some of your porch décor indoors, depending on the climate. While outdoor pillows and other decorative elements are designed to withstand weather, they tend to last longer if you store them indoors during the winter.
Add a little winter cheer to your porch with potted pine trees or artificial Christmas trees. You can leave them plain or decorate them for the season. Pine boughs attached to railings also add to the winter look.
As spring arrives, start incorporating more colors again. Add potted plants when the temperature warms up enough, or use artificial plants for springtime brightness without worry of damaging frost.
Porch Decorating Tips to Pull Together the Look
Decorating a porch takes a little trial and error to put all the pieces together. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations or rearrange things if they don’t look quite right the first time.
Here are some other tips for tying together your front porch décor ideas:
• Choose a theme: Having an overall decorating theme or style in mind helps you choose pieces that go together well. If you’re not sure on the direction for your design, look for inspiration in images of other porches or even indoor rooms. Pick out color schemes, patterns and similar decorative elements from those inspiration rooms.
• Sketch a design: A quick sketch of your porch area is a great way to help plan your design. Draw out the footprint of the deck using proportional dimensions to get an accurate sketch. Draw in large items first, such as seating or tables. Then, add in smaller items. You may not end up following the sketch exactly, but it helps you start figuring out where to put everything.
• Mix materials: Mixing and matching materials creates an interesting look on your porch. It’s the perfect option for a rustic, casual look. Examples include pairing soft pillows with wooden furniture or mixing smooth ceramic and live flowers atop wooden furniture.
• Choose sturdy furniture: When you’re creating a porch design, it’s always best to start with solid furniture pieces. Investing in quality furniture means those pieces will last year after year. Log furniture is a good choice when you’re looking for a rustic style that lasts.
• Replicate an indoor look: The same design ideas that work indoors can also apply outdoors. Creating an outdoor living space that feels homey and cozy is a popular trend in porch design.
• Consider traffic flow: You want your porch to look great, but you also want the space to be functional. When positioning furniture and decorations, ensure there are pathways to allow people to move around on the porch. You also want a clear path to the front door and to stairs that lead off of the deck. Open your door to check the swing, so you don’t place items where they may get hit.
• Position furniture strategically: When setting up your seating, position pieces to capture the best views. If your back deck looks out onto a wooded area, arrange the seats to look out into the woods. Another consideration is conversation with others. Position seats to face one another if you entertain frequently.
• Find decorative pieces: You don’t have to buy tons of new items to decorate your porch. You may have pieces in your home already that will work. Look for old decorative items you no longer use or don’t mind moving outdoors.
• Highlight architectural features: Does your home have beautiful architectural detailing? Create a porch design that highlights those details. Avoid obstructing the view of your favorite elements by positioning furniture away from them. You can also use color to draw the eye to the detailing you want people to notice.
• Add storage: If you spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly if you entertain outdoors, incorporate storage onto your porch. This lets you keep essentials handy for use. You might add bins, baskets, shelves or a rolling cart to hold the items you need often.
Are you ready for a porch makeover? Explore the outdoor log furniture options from Rocky Top to anchor your porch setup. The rustic furniture style sets a distinct tone, and you get quality, durable pieces with a timeless look that lasts. Then, you can add other decorative elements to round out your new porch design.