Many people are facing financial challenges these days. When money is tight, it’s amazing how the simplest things can bring us pleasure. I recently read an article about a trend in new home construction where “the front porch” is becoming a central focus of design again. For years, architects were designing homes without porches because homeowners were never home long enough to use them. Front porch sitting and entertaining is regaining popularity. I’m glad because some of my fondest memories in life have been made on front porches.
You can create a beautiful, cozy and welcoming space on your front porch, even if you’re working with limited funds. In fact, what you have on hand at home, plus what you can bring in from nature can give you a head start with zero expenses! If you have some cash, however, you can add a few special touches that can help turn your front porch into your favorite place to spend a summer evening!
Your front porch will glisten with elbow grease
Before you start decorating your front porch, give it a good scrub. I try to deep clean my porch at least once per year, sometimes twice, if I’m feeling especially on top of my game, lol. You can make it a pleasant time. Turn on your favorite tunes, and get a groove on! Deep cleaning involves a lot of bending and stretching, so you’re getting a free workout, too!
When you deep clean your front porch, don’t cut corners — you’ll be glad about that, later. Do the windows, wipe down siding, if you have some, and don’t forget the railings, as well as mopping or squirting the floor of the porch, if there isn’t a wall-to-wall carpet. Once everything is sparkling clean, you’ll be ready to decorate! A fresh coat of stain or paint is also a great way to brighten things up, if you’re able to get some paint!
Twinkle lights are one of the easiest ways to create a festive atmosphere. You can use lights from Christmas storage; or, if you’re able, you might invest in a few strands. The soft, twinkling glow makes any ordinary summer’s evening feel like a special occasion! Have you seen the micro LED light strands they sell at Dollar stores nowadays? You can place some in mason jars on tables, cinder blocks or crates. They run on batteries and look like fireflies glowing in the night!
Your front porch will feel cozier if you add a few plants
Some people have amazing front porches, with lots of hanging flower pots that attract hummingbirds and butterflies! Flowers can be quite expensive, though, but don’t lose hope. If you’re trying to decorate on a shoestring budget, you can opt for ferns or spider plants instead; they are much less expensive. You can place pots of herbs here or there, as well. Chives, for example, get a pretty purple flower on them. In fact, if you live near the woods, there are likely a variety of vines and plants you can bring in from the forest to add beauty to your porch. Even a little teacup filled with violets can add an extra special touch to your “outdoor living room” — if you buy a perennial, it will grow back every year, giving you your money’s worth, for sure!
Rugs, pillows and other decor
My favorite times to sit on the front porch are at sunrise and late in the evening. If you have a porch swing, table and chairs or wicker furniture, it’s nice to add pillows (and blankets for chilly weather!) and rugs. You can get a cheery welcome mat or braided area rugs for under $10 at some stores. My husband bought me a wicker rocker when I was pregnant with one of our daughters some 15 years ago. Two years back, I snagged a lookalike rocker at a yard sale for $4.00 (and it came with a table as well!). The shutters on our porch are a hunter green color, so I invested a few bucks in several cans of spray paint and painted the rocking chairs to match! I happen to have a porch swing hanging in the woods a few yards from the porch, so I painted that, too, bringing all the greens together for a nice, aesthetic feel. Point being: You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a nice front porch.
In addition to birdsong and the sound of the wind passing through the trees, one of my favorite front porch sounds is my wind chime. There’s nothing like a nice, cool drink on a breezy summer night, while you listen to the chimes as you bask in the glow of twinkle lights — or candlelight, if you prefer!
Front porch dining, at its best
When money’s tight, you can’t always go out to eat. But — you can turn your own front porch into a fine dining experience. As long as there’s room for a table and chairs, you can add a pretty cloth, candles or other centerpiece, background music and a tasty meal, complete with some delicious hors d’oeuvres and dessert! Ambience is everything when it comes to front porch dining. You can create a fine dining experience without spending a lot of money!
Glean from other people’s creativity
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative type when it comes to indoor or outdoor home decor, you can peruse Pinterest or other sites to get ideas from others! Keep your own budget in mind and tweak ideas as needed to fit your needs and help accomplish your front porch goals!