Your front porch is ripe with design potential; it just takes a little imagination—and planning. "The front porch gives the first impression of a house and is the first place to welcome a guest," says interior designer Allison Elebash. "It needs to feel comfortable, airy, and welcoming without being overly cluttered." Designer MA Allen of MA Allen Interiors agrees, adding, "Aesthetics often outweigh function when decorating a front porch. A well-designed front porch should add to a home's curb appeal—not detract from it." However, given their awkward layouts and prominent location (at the front exterior of your house), furnishing your front porch can be surprisingly tricky. "The number one obstacle I run into when designing a front porch is the layout and lack of space," says Allen. "Usually they're long and narrow, although the South is famous for its deep rocking chair porches." What's more, Elebash says, not all front porches are shaped equally. "A long, linear porch can be more challenging than a square porch," she explains. "Since you don't have the depth to do a full seating group."
So, what to do when your front porch is due for a refresh, but you're not working with a ton of square footage? Allen says to start with the basics. The easiest porch upgrades are the essentials," she explains. "Take a look at your lighting, doormat, house numbers, and front door hardware and see if you can switch any of these staples out for pieces more reflective of your style." Searching for some more foolproof ways to revamp your front porch in a pinch? Here are five expert tips from Allen and Elebash for decorating your porch like a pro, all year-round.
Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint
Paint is an affordable way to refresh anything—everything from your bedroom or living room to your kitchen cabinets or end tables can benefit from a new paint job, and so can your porch. "Never underestimate the impact of a freshly painted porch." Allen says. "Consider a new, unexpected color to brighten up your entrance or simply touch up an old paint job to keep things looking fresh."
Invest in Year-Round Furniture
Go for outdoor furniture pieces that can work year round and that don't require you to change out the cushions, Elebash says. "You can always switch up accessories, like throw pillows and plant pots, with seasonal color from annuals if you want to add a seasonal touch," she explains.
"When picking out front porch seating, don't skimp on quality," Allen says. "True outdoor furniture and cushions are designed to withstand weather elements and fading. The last thing you want is for the furniture in front of your house to look shabby." While quality furniture and decorative accents may be more expensive, their ability to withstand the elements and continue to look good for years to come makes them worth the investment now.
Use Tall Planters
"If a porch is long and rectangular, then I usually like to do a pair of lush planters on either side of the front door," Elebash says. "Tall, linear planters provide a nice symmetry for a porch and work with nearly every décor style."
Keep Things Tidy
"Think of your front porch as an entryway to your front door and not a drop zone for shoes, toys, and bikes," Elebash adds. "Too much clutter can cause you to lose sight of the front door as the focal point of the exterior of your home."