Set Up a Cozy Winter Porch with These Simple Decorating Tips

Photo: Kathryn Barnard

Don't neglect your favorite summer hangout just because the temperatures have dropped. With a few upgrades, you can enjoy it all winter long, too.

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Kathryn Barnard

In the midst of a long, cold winter and an even longer pandemic that required a great deal of time spent at home, it's a good idea to think about ways to extend your living space. After all, living, learning, and working within the same space can get tiresome, and you're likely itching to find new ways for you and your family to stretch out. Your porch is a great solution. Since colder months mean bare trees and a lack of the natural beauty we get during the rest of the year, it's even more important to make sure your porch is cozy and cheery. Aside from the ever-popular wreath (which we love and can't get enough of), there are tons of beautiful and creative options to keep the exterior of your home looking thoughtfully decorated and put together.

For starters, since many of the plants and potted flowers you have in your yard may be seasonal (or need to come indoors during the winter months), adding a little greenery can keep your porch looking lively. Nicole Gibbons, designer and founder of Clare, urges homeowners not to be scared of using fake greenery. "I love adding a faux topiary for a few reasons," she says. "I always go faux because it will last through the winter and has the ability to work all year round—it's seasonless! Plus, it transitions well into holiday décor—just add some twinkle lights to your topiary to make it feel more festive."

Since winter is the season of garlands, Gibbons suggests draping your doorframe with one made of magnolia leaves. "A magnolia leaf garland really brings up the level of sophistication to your décor and it doesn't feel overly holiday," she says. She also suggests switching out your doormat to enliven the entire space. Not only is it an inexpensive way to revamp things, but it's quick and easy—and requires very little effort on your part. "I love a classic greek key doormat," Gibbons says. "It's timeless."

Looking for more ideas to help give your porch a winter refresh? Read on for more expert-approved ideas.

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Wall Sconce

lighted wall sconce in brass with recycled glass shade
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

This beautiful sconce will cast a warm glow on your front porch. It's practically begging to be used when you're reading outdoors on your front porch.

Shop Now: Pottery Barn "Duvall" Recycled Glass Outdoor Sconce, $149,

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Cozy Throw

red, white, and black throw blanket hanging from branch
Courtesy of Macy's

Wrap a warm blanket around yourself and cozy up on a bench, chair, or your front stoop with your morning coffee or to take in the winter views. This red, white, and black option speaks to the season.

Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection "Fair Isle" Chenille Throw, $80,

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Eucalyptus Garland

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Garland
Courtesy of Jamali Garden

Eucalyptus feels both classic and wintery without leaning too holiday, which means you can keep it draped over your doorway or stair rails for more than just a month or so. This version is faux, so you can use it for years, but check your local garden center for fresh options in case you want all the aromatic benefits of real eucalyptus.

Shop Now: Jamali Garden Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Garland, $26,

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Brass House Numbers

Rejuvenation "Rock Creek" Modern House Numbers
Courtesy of Rejuvenation

For smaller homes that don't have much room excess room for bigger décor pieces, try switching out your house numbers. It may seem like a small swap, but trading out your barely noticeable or generic house numbers for something a little more special will make a huge difference.

Shop Now: Rejuvenation "Rock Creek" Modern House Numbers, 4", starting at $40,

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Wooden Bench

Rosecliff Heights "Nora" Wooden Picnic Bench
Courtesy of Rosecliff

Although you may not be spending a lot of time outside in the winter, a versatile wooden bench like this one works for all seasons and adds interest to your porch. Make it seasonally appropriate by changing out your summer or fall outdoor pillows for a set that feels more wintery.

Shop Now: Rosecliff Heights "Nora" Wooden Picnic Bench, $169.99,

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Elegant Topiary

Charlton Home Evgenia Cedar Topiary Plant
Courtesy of Charlton Home

This topiary is easily mistaken for the real thing, and it's guaranteed to add seasonal interest to your porch without looking too much like a Christmas tree. Frame your doorway or steps with two for a symmetrical look.

Shop Now: Charlton Home "Evgenia" Cedar Topiary Plant, $44.99,

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Fragrant Wreath

Creekside Farms Fragrant Pod Wreath
Bobbi Lin / Food52

There's nothing like a gorgeous wreath to welcome you home. This striking one is made up of three kinds of eucalyptus leaves, nigella flowers, and sculptural lotus pods. The best part: It smells amazing and will instantly put you in a good mood as you walk in the door.

Shop Now: Creekside Farms Fragrant Pod Wreath, $81,

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Modern Planter

Pottery Barn Macron Urn Planter
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Pot your outdoor faux or real topiary a chic planter. The best part this elegant planter has a drainage hole so your plant can nestle right in without the plastic pot sticking out.

Shop Now: Pottery Barn "Macron Urn Planter," $109,

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String Lights

West Elm Simple String Lights
Courtesy of West Elm

Switch out your summer rattan lanterns for these metallic string lights. They'll add a cozy feel to your outside décor—even if you're only seeing it from the inside.

Shop Now: West Elm Simple String Lights, $49,

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Cape Cod Welcome Doormats
Courtesy of Cape Cod Doormats

Refresh your doormat for the season with one of Martha's favorites, Cape Cod Doormats. Handcrafted on Cape Cod, these durable mats can withstand the heaviest dirt, mud, snow, and more. Plus, they come in just about every color imaginable.

Shop Now: Cape Cod Welcome Doormats, $45.95,

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Log Hoop

Williams Sonoma Log Hoops
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Add some rustic charm to your porch with a log holder—this one is both functional and stylish.

Shop Now: Williams Sonoma Log Hoops, 36", $195,

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