By Sarita Harbour
Sunny days and warmer weather signal summer is here. What better time to freshen up your front porch? Rest assured that you can create a welcoming front veranda without breaking the bank. Start with one favorite item, theme or color, and work out from there. For example, if you love the idea of a bold front door, paint it your favorite dramatic color and let that shade guide your choices for lighting, drapes, planters and accessories. Or, do you have an heirloom piece of furniture or decorative accent that you love, such as a planter, rug or lantern? Take inspiration from its shape, color or style, and hunt for flea-market finds or attic treasures that may be polished, painted or upcycled into frugal, complementary porch accessories. Complete your scheme with decorative touches like welcome signs, hanging baskets of greenery or ferns, or unusual plants in distinctive planters. Need some examples? Here are 9 porch ideas that prove that it’s possible to design a welcoming front veranda on a budget.
1. Hang some drapes
Sometimes a few splashes of colorful fabric are all that’s required to make an ordinary front porch extraordinary. While decorative pillows and seat cushions are often the first things that come to mind, don’t overlook the design appeal of draperies. A simple rod and some drapery panels add immeasurable pattern, texture and style.
2. Apply a little paint
For the cost of a can of exterior paint, you can totally transform your porch. Paint the floor a hue that complements your house’s colors, or get creative and paint a striped or checkerboard pattern. And, if the color is as dreamy as the one shown here, don’t stop at the floor.
3. Add a porch swing
A front-porch swing is a classic way to give your porch a fresh new look — and added comfort. While there are many swing styles at retail stores, you may be able to do it yourself if you are handy and qualified. Either way, be sure you secure it from ceiling support beams with proper hardware.
4. Cover the floor
Just as it does inside the house, a rug can be a great way to add pattern and color outside. Find an indoor/outdoor carpet that suits your style — you’ll have no shortage to choose from online — and then build a design scheme around it with furnishings, cushions and accessories.
5. Suspend a chandelier
If you’re looking to add some romance to your front porch, consider installing a chandelier. Find one for cheap at a garage sale or flea market, and hang it to bring a sense of sophistication to the space. A crystal chandelier will be as charming in the daylight as it will come nightfall.
6. Install a ceiling fan
A ceiling fan makes your porch more comfortable, keeping the steamy heat of summer at bay. Imagine how pleasant it would be to sit on this Southern-style front porch, rocking away the afternoon with a favorite book, glass of sweet tea and gentle breeze from the ceiling fan above.
7. Refresh your furniture
Want a fresh new look without the expense of new furniture? Spruce up your existing wicker and metal pieces with a fresh coat of spray paint. Add colorful seat cushions or better yet, re-cover your old ones with remnant fabric. Choose bold colors for a quick burst of summer style.
8. Festoon with flowers
One of the quickest routes to a summer-fresh porch is adding containers and hanging baskets brimming with flowering plants. This porch uses a variety of common pots to create an uncommonly lovely setting. If tending to flowering plants seems like too much work, you can always go with ferns, ivy and other high-texture, low-maintenance greenery.
9. Bring comfort outside
Thanks to innovations in outdoor fabrics, you don’t have to keep comfortable upholstered pieces cooped up indoors. Even if you don’t live in a mild climate, there’s no reason you can’t move your indoor furniture outside for special occasions during the summer. A cheerful slipcover conveys just the right tone of relaxed luxury.
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Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.