Secrets to Styling an Inviting Front Porch

Julia Engel of Ga Meets Glam Charleston, SC Home Front Porch with Blue Seating
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

When's the last time you sat for a visit on your front porch ? If you're lucky enough to have a front porch on your house, we're betting it may not get as much use as your other outdoor areas. Southerners know the importance of hospitality and making your front porch inviting for guests, but it should also be inviting to you. As the first glimpse into your home, your porch should be an extension of your interior decor while also amping up your house's curb appeal for passersby and approaching guests alike. We're sharing the styling secrets behind some seriously impressive front porches to help make your front porch an inviting, beautiful space where you even want to spend time.

01 of 08

Create a Cozy Seating Area

Classic Nautical Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

It's just a fact: A home where you can see signs of life is a home that looks welcoming to visitors. Even if you draw your shades and there aren't many lights on, a well-appointed front porch will help make your house look like an inviting gathering space.

If you only have room on your porch for a couple of rocking chairs or a bench, that'll do it. Add some cushions and a side table to bolster the effect. If you have more room, create a cozy seating area centered around a rug that can accommodate a handful of your closest friends. As true with interior design, a well-layered outdoor space looks lived-in and way more attractive than something stark and bare.

02 of 08

Let There Be Light

porch club makeover, looking down porch
Laurey W.Glenn

Everyone knows the best time for porch sitting is as the sun sets and for however long people want to stay there after. Make sure your outdoor living room has enough light to illuminate everyone's faces, but steer clear of light bulbs that are too bright. This lighting can make a space look more sterile than warm.

String Christmas or twinkle lights along the inside of your porch ceiling (so they aren't visible from the street), or add sconces or hanging lanterns that match your front door. Bring some large, sturdy table lamps outside to reinforce the outdoor room feel. And don't forget old fashioned candle light. Large table-top lanterns make for excellent porch decor and can also protect your candles from rain and wind.

03 of 08

Go Green

Shade Container with Green Plants
Robbie Caponetto; Produced by Mark Thompson

Someone might take this as a challenge, but we'll say it anyway, there's no such thing as too many porch plants . Having plants on your front porch reinforces the signs of an active home. Add lots of colors—via the plants or pots they're in—or stick with a monochrome palette of green plants and black planters for a more minimalist look. Think outside the standard flower pot box. You can also add trees for height or place smaller pots on a bench or table to make them more visible. Window boxes can be a great addition if you have smaller front-facing windows (and will be much more convenient to maintain). Of course, hanging ferns or flower pots is a classic Southern porch look that'll never go out of style.

04 of 08

Focus on the Front Door

Blue Front Door with Matching Containers with Hydrangeas
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Barbara Schmidt

No matter how great of a seating area you set up on either side of your front porch, ensure your front door remains the focal point. That is what most people see when passing by, after all. To do that, make sure your planters evenly flank the front door (if your door is in a corner, stagger planters out to the open side of the door), creating a funnel towards it. If your porch is on the darker side, or there's not enough contrast between the door and exterior paint, add some to the front porch by changing the door paint color . You can also paint the trim around the door a different color that will pop even from far away. And of course, don't forget a fun doormat.

05 of 08

Stylish Street Numbers

New Orleans Rainy Street
Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

Stylish street numbers are a great way to distinguish your house and add some creative flair. More than just the numbers listed on your mailing address, these numbers represent your home and your family who lives there. Have fun with large wooden numbers or paint them to match your house.

If you can't attach a new street number to your house, another way to represent it is by stacking wooden block numbers. You can also have fun with your holiday decor by painting your house numbers on things like pumpkins.

06 of 08

Maintain the Lawn

Brimingham, AL Garden Curb Appeal
Robbie Caponetto

Before stepping onto your front porch, the walkway and greenery can also impact its curb apparel. Maintaining the grass and planting flowers or bushes can help frame your front porch and your house.

You can also try some low-maintenance lawn care by planting specific types of grass, adding a fence, and using garden stones for decor. There are also such things as low-maintenance plants. Adding a few around the front of your home is a great way to inject some liveliness into your yard.

07 of 08

Rethink the Hardware

Ringing Doorbell
PM Images/Getty Images

One thing you may never think to update is the doorbell. Despite hearing it ring every time a new package is delivered, the doorbell gets little attention regarding renovations.

Try to add some personalization to your front door by changing the hardware, including the doorbell. You can make it look modern to correspond with your newly painted front door or search for vintage-looking hardware to make your front porch distinctive.

08 of 08

Think About Decor

Citrus and Pinecone Front Door Christmas Decor
Laurey W. Glenn; Floral Design: Mary Cox Brown; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Think about the seasons and the holidays throughout the year when planning your front porch home decor. Make a special shopping trip to find the perfect accessories to match your home's exterior.

Christmas might be the most memorable time of the year for outdoor decor, but you can also create an inviting space with pumpkins and mums for the fall or spring florals.

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