10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Spruce Up Your Front Porch for Summer

HOME | DESIGN
2017
July/August

Summer is finally here, and that means more time spent outside, with family, waiting for the sun to finally go down. Long days spent relaxing on the front porch, drinking sweet iced tea and watching passers-by are not just summer activities – they’re a southern tradition. The only thing keeping you from reading on your front porch swing, surrounded by hydrangeas, pretending you are on the cover of a magazine, is, your front porch. The porch is often a bit neglected during the winter months, and with spring thunderstorms, keeping it clean can be a bit of a challenge as well. Fear not! Sprucing up your front porch doesn’t have to mean spending your entire vacation savings. In fact, all you need is a little creativity, a will to bargain-hunt, and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease! So try out these tips and get ready to enjoy the view all summer long.

#1 - Paint: The color scheme of your porch is the first thing people notice. The key is to choose colors that create a dominant focus. If your favorite colors are green and yellow, try not to go overboard painting the porch these colors. The best choice is something classic, timeless, and inviting. Green and yellow could make a beautiful color scheme if white is the dominant color. The classic white porch is ideal for a clean, bright summer look. To incorporate color, try adding in pops of it here and there. One idea is to paint the porch white and incorporate the other colors by adding in green and yellow pillows, some yellow flowers and a couple of green hanging ferns. For an even more trendy look, try painting the front door a bold, vibrant color. The front door is an area you can let your creative side shine. A bright door is fun and welcoming. If a "paint pick-me-up" is what your porch needs, check out a local paint shop like East Texas Paint & Coating. Bobby Priest, president of East Texas Paint & Coating said the store has full rebates until the middle of July, so act fast! If you’re reading this and it's not July, there are other ways to save money while painting. The first is to buy a primer. I know it seems counterintuitive to spend more by purchasing an additional product, but ultimately, buying a primer will save you money because you eliminate the need to paint the same area multiple times. If you are not exactly sure what color to go with, talk to your local paint shop expert about any mistint paint they may have available. Mistint paint is paint someone returned because he or she bought the wrong color or decided to go a different direction. Many stores offer it at highly discounted prices since it has already been mixed. To save even more money, just ask if they have a discount! If you have a military I.D., you can save 10 percent off at Lowe’s and Home Depot. At East Texas Paint & Coating, you can get a 10 percent discount on paint and supplies if you work at the hospital or if you are a teacher. Bobby said the most important thing one can do before painting is to prepare. “Preparation is 80 percent of it,” Bobby said. “Painting is the easy part. If you do all of your preparation and cleaning ahead of time, it really doesn’t matter what brand of paint you get; it will last.”

 #2 - Plants: Plants are so important to breathe new life into your front porch. Just one or two plants can really liven it up and make a huge difference. When deciding which plants are a perfect addition to your porch decor, choose ones that best thrive in partial shade. Because of the overhang, the plants won’t always get full sun. It’s also best to pick something that can take the heat and stay beautiful for the duration of summer. Tropical plants are your best bet because not only can they withstand high temperatures and excessive humidity, they can also thrive in both full sun and dense shade. Ficus are great tropical plants for the front porch and won’t cost you much. Plus, the Ficus grows big and tall providing more shade to your porch. It is also easy to take care of as long as you give it partial light and keep the soil moist. Hydrangeas make a beautiful edging near the steps of the porch. They last from spring through summer and will make your front porch look like it could be on the cover of a magazine. The best part is, you can buy them for less than $18. Rainer Farms in Tyler has a great selection of anything you can imagine or want. If you don’t have a green thumb but still want to spruce up the porch, they have ready-to-go mixed plants that are already potted. All you have to do is water! 

#3 - Lighting: Never underestimate the importance of good lighting. Lighting can really tie everything together, and create a comfortable and inviting place to relax at the end of a long hot day. Hanging a statement light above the front door is an easy way to add a little personality to your porch. Another popular option is string lights. They don’t have to be just for backyards! Try stringing the lights along the edge of the porch’s overhang for a clean look, or string across the sitting area for a more relaxed style which also creates directional focus. Stone Works in Longview has a huge selection of gorgeous light fixtures and can help you decide which one is best to adorn your front porch and stay within your budget! 

#4 - Rugs: While lighting helps take care of the ceiling or overhang, spruce up the porch flooring with a complimentary outdoor rug. Create areas of separation by sectioning off portions of your porch. The use of outdoor rugs allows you the ability to define seating areas or other areas that serve specific purposes. Think of it as the center of a room and design your space as if there were dividing walls. Looking at it from this perspective will help you see the possibilities. Not to overwhelm you, but the possibilities are endless! You can also add a rug in front of your couch, chairs or swing to compliment the color scheme of your porch and bring a little bit of inside out. Rugs can literally pull everything together. Not only do they help complete the look; people also tend to gravitate to them.  So while you are enjoying a peaceful night on your perfectly designed porch, your friends and family will likely gather around.  When purchasing a rug, be careful of misleading information on whether it will stand the test of time and elements. Some say “outdoors/indoors” or “outdoor safe” but be sure to check and make certain the rug you are buying is made of 100 percent polypropylene and is mold, mildew and sun resistant. This way, you get the most life possible out of your rug, and it will last for years to come, which saves you the hassle and money of replacing it every summer. Unless of course, you want an excuse to change things up every year! In addition to a rug, don’t forget a doormat! You can find funny, welcoming ones that fit the personality of your family online and you can even customize them. See, the possibilities truly are endless!

#5 - House number: Your house number is obviously essential. It’s what neighbors, mail carriers, and party guests will use to identify which house is yours. With all those eyes on your house number, why not get crafty and display it proudly in a clever way? Pinterest has a ton of fun ideas. Some great ones are making a wooden planter box with the house number on it, or matching the house numbers to the door paint, which is a fun idea, especially if your door is painted a bright color! Check out your local arts and crafts supply store – most offer online coupons that can be scanned right off your cell phone. Or, even better, re-purpose materials that are laying around collecting dust! Kind of kills two birds with one stone!

#6 - Furniture: Your front porch should not only be pretty, but it should also be utilized! Buying furniture can be pricey, but if you know where to shop, it doesn’t have to be. At East Texas Brick and Patio in Tyler, there are many options to fit your budget. If your front porch is small, try adding a swing and a chair, or a wicker bench and matching chair with a small table between the sides of both. Your rug will tie the pieces in together. You don’t need much furniture for the front porch, just make sure you and your friends or family have a cozy place to connect. Sometimes the best way to save a buck is to browse used outdoor furniture online! Just make sure to see it in person before you buy. 

#7 - Pillows and cushions: To go along with your porch furniture, you’re going to want some cushions to sit on. Pillows and cushions are not only going to make your space more comfortable; they’re perfect for adding pops of color and character to the porch. You will want to make sure that your pillows and cushions are covered in an outdoor-friendly material so that they last a long time. Cushions and pillows that are weathered and have faded will instantly diminish the appearance of your porch. Check out TEXTURE in Tyler for a large selection of outdoor-friendly material. They even have a sale bin in the back where you can hunt for good deals on fabric. For outdoor fabric, owner LeRae Musslewhite suggests getting a solution dyed acrylic material.

#8 - Wreath: Wreaths are a festive and easy way to welcome guests into your home. While buying a summer wreath already made can be expensive, building your own is a cheaper alternative and you can customize it exactly to fit the colors of your porch. Wreaths with white cotton or bright yellow sunflowers are always in style for summer and contrast nicely against a bright, painted door. Pick up wreath accessories at a local arts and crafts store and get ready to be creative! If DIY is not your specialty and you are willing to spend a little more, locally owned Texas Taste of Heaven (see ad on page 51) makes seasonal wreaths, and Moss in Tyler makes fresh wreaths daily, which dry into long-lasting, beautiful pieces. 

#9 - Accessories: Decorate your front porch with mementos that are dear to you. They make a statement, are great conversation pieces and you can find them for cheap – or for free! Use what you already have and think up new ways to display those items. Maybe you have an old bike from when you or your parents were kids. Try refurbishing it, painting it a color that goes with your color scheme, and turn the front basket into a planter. Let flowers flow from the basket, or buy fake ones. If metal crosses are your thing, try hanging one beside the door. For a bit of patriotism, an American flag adds color and is particularly festive for the Fourth of July. Another popular trend is hanging a framed chalkboard beside your door with a welcome message for guests (or perhaps turn it into a “no soliciting” sign)! 

#10 - Clean: You could go through this list, employ all these tips, have a nice looking porch, but it will not be nor stay summer ready if it is not clean! Even if you want to spruce up the front porch and have no budget at all to do so, use what you have and clean the rest. Get rid of old, faded, garden decorations or hooks that no longer hang plants. Pressure wash your siding if necessary. Cleaning the front porch is practically free and will make a significant difference. Once you have a spic-n-span porch, you will be able to relax on it and dream up new ideas to give your front porch a facelift this summer. Just don’t forget that the best view is the one looking in!

 

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