How to Style a Front Porch

The porch is the first part of your home's personality that guests experience, and that's why at Christmastime, we especially see front porches decked out in holiday cheer to showcase the warmth of the season despite chilly temperatures. Even if it's not winter, your front porch is still an extension of you and your sweetie, so it's a great place to start sharing what your home is all about. Whether you love the to-the-nines glam, prefer a minimalist clean space, or envision rustic cozy hospitality, every budget and style are welcome here with these simple things to keep in mind when styling your front porch. Next up in our Happily Ever Home, a special DIY home series that is focused on modest & midsize home styling projects for newlyweds who are renters or first-time home owners, our editor-in-chief, Chelsea, is here to share how easy it is to personalize your stoop no matter the season!

Ways to make your front porch pretty and practical
How to style your front porch for Christmas or any season

How to Create a Welcoming Front Porch

Difficulty Level: Easy
Color Inspiration: Black, white, red, and green
Time Investment: Limitless and however long you want!

DecoArt Curb Appeal paint, Colonial Black
Wood beads
Crochet thread for wood bead garlands
• Fake plastic garland (to upcycle)
• Clipped natural cedar branches, holly berries, and other greenery (from backyard, Christmas tree farm, or home improvement store)
Floral wire

Modern house numbers
• Rocking chairs
Modern gold holiday wreath
Black and white faux fur throw blanket
• 2 black lanterns, small and large
• 2 small potted Christmas trees
• 2 quilted red velvet throw pillows with gold stitching
• 3 gold mercury lanterns of varying heights
Black and white checkered doormat rug
• Red Fair Isle-inspired welcome doormat
• 2 black and white Nordic star throw pillows

How to make your front porch inviting for guests
Gorgeous modern gold hoop Christmas wreath on a black door

Refresh your Door

If you purchased an older house, chances are that you might have a faded or outdated front door. Thankfully, that's so easily rectified in 30 minutes with a new splash of paint! When deciding on your color, consider a neutral that goes with all seasons if you're one who loves wreaths and other diverse decor. If you love that pop of color or being "I'm the house with the red door!", then be sure to paint your shutters in a complementary shade that helps make it stand out and repeat that pop of color somewhere else in the front of your house (e.g., garden flowers, doormat, et cetera).

Editor's Story: We live in Williamsburg. The city that boasts America's Colonial Capital title, houses the Historic Area where history lovers don tri-cornered hats daily, and is literally where our country's story first began. With that, most homes here are very traditional, and new builds in certain neighborhoods adhere to its colonial past. It's why we moved here years ago! But the house we bought was showing signs of exterior fatigue in the shades of dull mulberry red. So when it was cooler in temperature and my allergies weren't flaring up, I scaled the outside of our house and gave our shutters and front door the makeover it deserved into an appropriately named Colonial Black. Using DecoArt's Curb Appeal paint, I only used 1/4 of one jar for the front door. The rest of the jar gave new life to 4 sets of shutters, and 1/4 of a second jar to paint the remaining set of shutters. So for two jars, I managed to completely transform the exterior to a modern, yet classic look.

Potted Christmas tree with wood bead garland and mercury glass lanterns

Vary Heights

Give your porch some visual interest by adding details that are short, tall, and in between. Lanterns, potted trees, and other seasonal favorites (like antique sleighs and pumpkins) help celebrate the time of year, but also personalize your home style with things you love. Like artwork, you want to have your visitors' eyes travel all around your porch, and diversifying heights do that! Before going to the store, look around your house for decor options. Be sure they can weather the outdoors, especially if you don't have a covered porch. Thrift stores and second hand shops are always fun places to discover upcycled goods in addition to adding some new decor pieces from Target or HomeGoods.

Modern house numbers that are perfect for coastal homes

Remember the Practical Details

Porches are an awesome way to show your creativity and hospitality, but we can't forget the essentials like working porch lights, swept walkways, and visible house numbers! Finding a set of house numbers that fit your style and your local climate are such a simple way to communicate personality and information.

Editor's Story: As mentioned above, we moved into a rather traditional home that was built in 2001. Times have changed since then, and I wanted to replace the old house numbers we had. They were metal, leaving rust marks on the paint, and placed in a spot that no one could see due to a sizeable tree in the front yard. Basically, it wasn't doing what it needed to be doing. So I found these 5" modern house numbers on Etsy that were perfection! Not only were they in a font I loved, but they are made out of marine-grade plastic that won't fade, won't warp, won't dry rot, and won't leave rust marks... meaning they are perfect for a coastal area where we get hurricanes, rainy seasons, and lots of humidity. This is the stuff that goes on hardcore boats! The small business shop, GoHomeNumbers, included all of the necessary hardware, and I installed them in a place that visitors could actually see them from the street. I even bought matching 3" ones for our mailbox!

How to make your porch inviting and perfect for any season

Mix Colors and Patterns

Don't be shy to use varying patterns and colors! The key to pulling different patterns together is to coordinate colors and tie it with a neutral. In this particular porch inspiration, it was all about the black and white buffalo check, but also the Nordic star pattern (which is also similar to the pattern on the Fair Isle-inspired doormat). The white and black color scheme tied both together as neutral matches, and then the quilted velvet red pillow was the pop of red found throughout the rest of the porch design.

Handmade ideas for making your front porch stylish and personal

Incorporate Handmade

In the best interest of your budget and also your creative spirit, make something for your front porch. It can be a family project, solo adventure, or even outsourced handmade. It can be as complex or as simple as you want! It adds personality, but also is the first step to a special hospitality that only you can give to your guests.

Editor's Story: I really love the wooden bead garlands I see everywhere now, but I couldn't find any in the right price range or the proper length that I needed for my little porch Christmas trees. So it was off to the local craft store to get these beads! The best part of adding wooden beads to my craft arsenal is if I decide I want to use them again for something else after Christmas, I can snip the thread and reuse the beads. I also took on the porch rail garland project, but I share more of that below under "Upcycle Elements."

While I consider myself pretty crafty, wreaths aren't my forte, so that's when I adventured to Etsy and found Hoops By Rae whose forte is the handmade modern wreath. The Christmas wreaths I saw in brick-and-mortar stores just looked too plastic-y and lacked personal charm. I still wanted the handmade touch, but it's from someone else's handmade touch! The Magnolia Berries wreath I got mimicked the rest of the porch design with my cedar-filled rail garland, and the magnolia leaves are my secret tribute to my Nuna who passed earlier this year. She loved magnolias, and Christmas was always a special thing for us. Because every element is faux and silk, this new wreath will join my forever collection in the garage once the season turns over into spring. (Confession: I may or may not have a wreath problem. #gottacatchthemall)

Tips on how to decorate your front porch for Christmas

Create Layers

Like Shrek famously said, he has layers, and so should your porch! Layering can be anything from a doormat and rug combination, garlands on the rails, or blankets and pillows on your outdoor seating. Essentially, you have a great foundation (like a door or floor) to then build onto with decor items. It gives your porch personality and warmth just like inside your home when you hang pictures on the wall or make your bed with oodles of pillows and comforters.

Upcycle Elements

Have a broken fake Christmas tree? Or an incomplete set of ornaments? Or maybe a garland missing some beads? Upcycle! Give whatever is broken or incomplete a new life as something else. Not only is it a free way to decorate, it's also more earth-friendly. For other non-winter seasons, we love the idea of upcycling small indoor tables into outdoor stools or end tables and baskets into flower pots or a rustic glove container.

Editor's Story: I love making life more beautiful and don't bat an eye at investing in certain things like photography and vacations, but I'm also quite frugal with everything else (which affords me those previously mentioned personal investments) and eco-centric. My mantra this year was "Less is More," so my husband and I have made it a mission to be more eco-conscious (e.g., eliminating paper products in the kitchen), to be more intentional about what comes into the house as a purchase ("Do we really need this adorable cat blanket when we kinda have a ton?" ... which sadly, my answer always wants to be yes!), and to give/support non-profits and small businesses more. 2018 has been on track with that, but it's definitely baby steps to adjust accordingly.

So enter the garland. I found bits of old plastic Christmas garlands for $1.50 at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and I knew I wanted to transform them with clippings from our backyard after seeing some similar Pinterest ideas. When I shared about it on my personal Facebook page, others wanted to know how I made it, so that's from where the above YouTube video came. Not only did I get to upcycle old products and make something, I also checked the "support a great organization" box!

(Side Note: Donating to your local ReStore is great, especially for large appliances and furniture, because sales of those donations go towards affordable housing efforts and strengthening hope in communities. Warning though, once you go into ReStore as a customer, you'll be hooked and will be going to find your latest upcycled treasure at least a couple times a month.)

Black and white buffalo check blanket with a red velvet pillow and a Nordic Star pillow

Offer Seating Options

Nothing says hospitality like "please have a seat and make yourself comfortable." Even if you don't have a large porch or even a covered porch, there are always spaces around your yard to create your own type of cozy nook to welcome guests to rest. From Adirondack chairs to rocking chairs to wooden benches, style your porch with whatever works for your style and space. If you live in an apartment, your complex likely has already created seating around the community areas, so take advantage of those as well.

How to simply decorate and personalize your first homes front porch
Gold and silver mercury lanterns for a classic modern Christmas front porch look

Consider the Season

Whether it's winter or spring, you'll want to keep in mind what is practical and functional for those temperatures or climate habits. If you have an open porch, putting metal-based decor that could rust or warp outside in humidity or on rainy days might not be in the cards for you. Instead, consider using plants and wooden elements that would benefit or not decompose from rain and sunshine! If you have a very small porch area, utilize your door and lighting as your primary visual statement that can be all-year-long-friendly. Blankets are great for when guests are over, but a wet bunch of fabric might not be what you want to clean or use, so while keeping what looks good in mind, being practical should be just as important.

How to style your front porch affordably and practically

However you decide to style your front porch, make it you. Inspiration is great to look at, but it's not a one size fits all, especially as it relates to budgets and space available. With the tips mentioned here, you can transform your home's entryway in something that makes you and your guests smile.

- Chelsea

Happily Ever Home is Tidewater and Tulle's DIY home series that is focused on modest & midsize home styling projects for newlyweds who are renters or first-time home owners. Neither of those? We love you, too, and hope you get inspired for your own "making a house a home" projects!

Photography, Tutorial, and Design: Chelsea LaVere | Front Door & Shutter Paint: DecoArt | Modern Christmas Wreath: Hoops by Rae via Etsy | Modern House Numbers: Go Home Numbers via Etsy

Editor's Note: Specially curated by us, the above product links are partner-connected and purchasing through these links means we get a small commission from those brands that helps support this website. You can find our full affiliate disclosure policy here on Tidewater and Tulle.