If you’ve read my blog over the years, you know how much I’m obsessed with front porches. It was literally my MAIN requirement when Chad and I were house hunting last year. Well, dreams do come true because I finally have my very own front porch. And I have to say, it’s everything I imagined it would be and more.
Today I’m sharing my top eight tips on decorating a front porch. And yes, these tips apply to a back porch as well!
1. Mix indoor accessories with outdoor furniture.
If your porch is covered well (and won’t get too much weather damage) I would suggest mixing in a few “non-outdoor” accessories. It just makes it feel more like an outdoor living space and less like a “everything-needs-to-be-weather-proof” patio.
Thankfully my porch is (for the most part) removed from most of the weather damaging rains and sun, so I was able to pull in a few of my indoor accessories outside. Sure, I still have to wipe things down every week or so, but I don’t mind! It’s just another excuse to go outside and enjoy my porch.
2. Lighting is key.
And so are fans. Or at least in Texas. Choosing that perfect front porch pendant can be harder than you think. It’s all about getting the proportions right. For example, my front porch is very large — 11×30 feet to be exact. This meant I needed to buy a light (this one here) that was much larger than I would if my porch was half the size. I also added two ceiling fans to the porch to even out the look and to add ventilation during our hot Texas summers. And if you want to go one extra step, adding some can lights will give you that high-end feel. We put 8 can lights across our porch to more evenly distribute the light. Not all porches need can lights, but since ours is so long, a single pendant light didn’t offer enough lighting when you viewed our house from the street.
3. Every front porch needs a swing. It’s kind of a rule in my book.
For some reason, I have this crazy rule that every front porch needs a swing. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with a swing on my front porch, or maybe the fact that my grandma had one too, but there’s something about it that just adds that “homey” feel to every house.
For my front porch, I scoped out the most amazing bed swing (this one here) from Four Oak Bed Swings. It’s literally a bed that hangs. Um, can you get any better than that? Chad, Hudson and I go out there almost every evening after work and swing. It’s just heavenly.
4. Keep the furniture neutral and add pops of color through your accessories.
Outdoor furniture can be expensive, am I right? So when you’re choosing some of your pricier items like outdoor seating or a porch swing, go with your classic hues. Blacks, whites and browns are always a good start. You can always add color in the accessories later.
For example, for my outdoor sofa, I chose a classic light brown resin wicker base with a creamy white cushion, and for my bed swing from Four Oak Designs, I chose a black frame with a white cushion set (the color is “Canvas Natural” to be exact).
I was then able to accessorize the rest of my porch with a TON of color (more posts to come!). My outdoor pillows all share various shades of blue (seen here) and turquoise (seen here) as well as some of my accent tables and garden stools (seen here) as well.
5. Mix things up by adding a mirror.
Remember how I mentioned using non-outdoor accessories? Well this is one that most people might question. But I PROMISE you it will be beautiful.
I have a large brick wall that was rather awkward and I needed something to fill the space. I really dislike a lot of the “outdoor wall art” that you see out there, so I thought why not just add a mirror? It will make it feel even more homey, right? One of my favorite mirrors I’ve ever owned unfortunately didn’t have a spot inside our new home, but it was the PERFECT fit for our front porch. It was pretty difficult to hang from our 100-year-old brick, but it was TOTALLY worth it.
6. Use nature to add another layer of color.
One of the most exciting things about decorating a front porch is the ability to use nature as a part of your design. It’s the most beautiful way to add color to a space. As the seasons change, simply swap out your plants and you’ve got an instant update.
7. Don’t be afraid to use rugs.
Using a rug on a patio is just another way to make the space feel more like an outdoor living room and less like a patio. It finishes off the look, just like a rug would inside your house. I use outdoor rugs only, and typically go with the sisal look since it seems to match just about anything and are often times rather affordable. Sometimes a front porch will puddle with water after a big rain, so swapping out your outdoor rug every year or so might be necessary. That’s why I try to find the most affordable ones out there that still look high-end. Places like Ross, Marshall’s or Amazon (here’s one of my favorites) tend to have the most affordable sisal rugs.
8. Choose furniture and accessories that are easy to clean.
The last thing you want is to get your front porch decorated, enjoy it for a weekend, and then after the pollen season hits, it’s all ruined. Make sure to choose furniture that has surfaces that are easy to vacuum or wipe down.
Since decorating my front porch, I go out just about every weekend to vacuum my cushions (I use this amazing hand vac) and do a quick wipe down of just about everything. It sounds like a lot of work, but it takes less than 10 minutes and provides me with a porch that’s always clean. So whenever I impulsively want to walk outside to sit of my swing, instead of running into a pollen-covered cushion, I’m able to sit on a freshly-vacuumed swing instead. It also keeps the furniture in great condition and prevents long-term stains from developing.