How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Offer a seatPorch_Livingroomset_Club-4

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

Make it cozy with a rug
porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 Add light for nighttime
porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 Paint the door
porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 Complete the look with a few final touches
porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

By Wendy Weinert

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

Kara Paslay Designs

It’s your turn to host movie night this month. Are you ready to put a new spin on your monthly tradition? Taking your movie night outdoors is an easy way to change things up and offer a new experience to guests. To make the evening enjoyable for everyone, keep these helpful tips in mind while planning the event.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

1. Let guests help pick the movie

You might like horror films or romantic comedies, but that doesn’t mean your guests like the same ones. Let your friends have some input regarding what movie you watch by compiling a list of suggestions and asking them to pick their top three. Then you can pick the movie (or movies) with the most votes.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

2. Prepare snacks and refreshments

Go with the classic movie-theater snack by making popcorn, but flavor it with fun toppings like paprika or chili powder for a unique twist. When handing out refreshments, offer them in closed bottles to prevent spills and to keep bugs from contaminating the water or soda.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

3. Provide comfortable seating

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re constantly shifting to get comfortable. If you have outdoor chairs, add a cushion or pillow to make the seat comfier for guests. If your seating area is in the grass, you can use plush blankets instead.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

4. Keep everyone warm

As the sun drops, so will the temperature. Help your friends stay warm by sitting around a fire pit and providing spare blankets for everyone. You can then use the fire pit to make s’mores for dessert!

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5. Add light

A fire pit may be all the light you need, but if the fire dies out you’ll need to rely on a different light source. Your outdoor lighting should be soft so everyone can still see the movie. Consider an outdoor lamp or use landscape lighting to illuminate your outdoor space.

Hosting a movie night outdoors isn’t hard, but it can be an uncomfortable experience without the right setup. Use these ideas to start a new tradition and host an unforgettable movie night outdoors.

By Wendy Weinert

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

Everyone loves a good barbecue, and this summer you can be the one who brings family and friends together to enjoy delicious food, good company and sunshine. Just follow these five tips and throw a BBQ guests will remember fondly for years.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

1. Create a theme

BBQs are common in the summer, but you can make yours stand out by creating a theme. Turn your barbecue into a luau or set up a Wild Wild West theme. You can even have guests dress up for the event!

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

2. Decorate your space to match the occasion

When you decide on a theme, decorate your patio or outdoor space with accessories to match. For example, if you’re hosting a luau, add bright colors with tablecloths, outdoor lights and furniture cushions. To create a western theme, use red or blue plaid napkins, hang up a “Wanted” poster on the tree and stick with wooden furniture for a rustic feel.

3. Set the mood with music

Every party needs a little music! Try this summer playlist from Spotify while the party is going on. Just be sure to keep the volume low so that guests can converse without trouble.

4. Prepare a first-aid kit

Kids love BBQs because they get to run around and be active. This, however, can sometimes lead to cuts and bruises. Be prepared for an accidental fall or a burn from the grill by keeping a first-aid kit handy. It should be filled with essentials like triple antibiotic ointment and band-aids.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

5. End with the perfect party gift

As guests leave your party, send them off the right way by handing out thoughtful gifts. A great party favor to consider would be a stylish recipe box filled with the recipes you used for the barbecue!

Are you ready to host the best barbecue to date? Incorporate some of these useful tips at your next event and guests are sure to have a great time!

By Wendy Weinert

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

In the spring and summer months, your front and back yards are extensions of your home’s interior design. So why not spend time perfecting your outdoor space like you do your interior? Try these five outdoor décor trends to refresh your yard space and captivate all those who pass by.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

1. Mood lighting

With so many outdoor lighting solutions available today, there’s no reason to take the party inside when the sun goes down! Along with outdoor lamps and wall lights, you can use ambient lighting underneath chairs, benches and sofas to create a social environment that is chic and comfortable.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

2. A natural garden 

Gardens are all about the natural and organic. Complete your garden setup then with natural materials to create seating and landscaping. For example, you can place a concrete bench in your garden instead of a plastic chair. Then simply use accent pillows to add comfort and color.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

Photo credit: Houzz

3. Vertical gardens

If you don’t have a garden due to limited outdoor space, take advantage of your house’s exterior walls to create a vertical garden. Succulents are the best plants to grow in vertical walls because they do not need very much water or maintenance. They’re also nice to grow because they come in a variety of colors and textures, which adds visual interest to your wall.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

4. Fire pits

Enjoy a camping experience right in your own backyard with a fire pit. Like outdoor lighting, fire pits make it easier for you, your family and friends to enjoy the outdoors even at night. Plus, they come in all different sizes, so even those with small spaces can benefit from this trend.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

Photo credit: Freshhome

5. Recessed seating in the pool

Turn your outdoor space into a relaxing getaway by installing recessed seating in your pool. Recessed seating gives pools a look of luxury, and your pool will become your guests’ favorite place to relax when visiting your home.

Is your outdoor space ready for summer? If not, spruce it up with any of these latest décor trends!

By Wendy Weinert


Throw pillows: How one simple accessory can make your patio perfect

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone has a vision of the perfect outdoor party: Your yard is flawlessly landscaped, your food looks as good as it tastes, and your outdoor décor could be a snapshot from a magazine. That dream doesn’t always fit the reality, but luckily, it doesn’t take much to make it happen. The key is to start with a quick refreshing of your patio scenery – and one of the quickest ways to do that is by updating your outdoor pillows and cushions.

These key accessories are like the finishing touch on a great outfit: they add style and interest, but are easily interchangeable for different looks. So whether you want something simple for “everyday” gatherings or a more festive look for holidays and big events, getting the look you want can be as simple as switching out your cushions.

Try these ideas out in your backyard:

• Patriot perfect: The 4th of July is summer’s biggest celebration, and every American wants to host a great backyard barbecue. To make your patio loPatrioticPillowsok just right for the day, select pillows in reds, whites andPillowPerfectFrenchLinen blues. To make the cushions more versatile and usable year round, focus on those three key colors rather than outright holiday-specific items .
• Natural appeal: The calming colors of nature provide ideal inspiration for outdoor décor. For day-to-day use, try pillows in natural tones of green and brown. Pair solid seat cushions with patterned throw pillows for added visual interest.
• Party ready: When you want to bring a festive atmosphere to your patio, be bold with color and pattern. Bright, summery tones of red , pink, orange, blue and beyond can all be incorporated through a variety of patterns that range from floral to stripes to geometric shapes.

Once you’ve set the mood with décor and accessories like pillows, all you need to do is mow the grass, tidy up the flower beds and serve some tried-and-true dishes. Just like that, the flawless party of your dreams will be ready to go!

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Create a Backyard Getaway with Fountains

Want a place to getaway without driving far from the city? Consider an outdoor fountain in your own backyard. Bellacor offers easy-to-install outdoor fountains in many different styles and materials. Our Magma Natural Rock Floor Fountain, Bellacor 581959, will blend in with any outdoor garden setting with its non-obtrusive style and natural appearance.


If you’ve ever sat at the edge of a flowing creek you will understand why water fountains have long been used as a relaxation technique by children and adults alike…children love to play in them…adults enjoy listening to them. The sound of a flowing stream in your own backyard takes you away to a calming place and also eliminates other distracting neighborhood and traffic noises. Our Pebble Fountain, Bellacor 282192, has a zen-like quality that will have your guests wondering where your natural stream is located; they can hear it but won’t always be able to find it…that’s because it’s as comforting to the eye as it is to the ear.


Bellacor offers floor, wall and table fountains as well as decorative fountains. If your impulse is to be more decorative with your fountain, you may try one of our many ornamental fountains such as the Entwined Fish Fountain, Bellacor 390017.


Aside from the comforting sounds that your fountain brings you, they are also great conversation starters for those hot summer nights in your own backyard oasis!

Outdoor Furniture Storage

Sad to say, it’s that time of year again. Leaves start turning, there’s a little chill in the air, and it’s time to start thinking about closing down the backyard recreation and dining area. Hopefully you’ve been able to relax, entertain, and truly enjoy the outdoors this summer. Now you need to consider how to preserve that investment you’re made in your outdoor furniture and accessories. Winter, and its harsh weather, is just around the corner!

If you’ve made an investment in outdoor furniture – even a relatively simple table and chair set – it’s important to protect that investment with high quality covers. They will make all the difference next spring when we’re digging out from the snow and ice.

If you have access to indoor storage, that is certainly the best protection. However, if that’s not available – or if physically moving the furniture is not feasible – there are many options available to cover the furniture. These covers have improved over the years such that they now can provide protection from all but the most extreme weather conditions. Check out the wide variety of outdoor furniture covers available at

Some things to keep in mind as you consider the various covers:

  • Heavyweight material – this helps prevent cracking if it is moved or adjusted during brutally cold weather.
  • Shaped – getting covers shaped like the furniture will not only make it visually more appealing, it will minimize the risk of wind-related tearing.
  • Closures and weights – the best covers will include a closure system of some sort along with imbedded weights to keep them snug. Again, this reduces wind-related risks.
  • Fabric treatment – look for fabric that has been both waterproofed and treated for UV protection. This keeps the covers looking nice for a long time.
  • Attractive color – you will be surprised at the fun, colorful options for covers. You no longer need to make do with a drab gray!

Bellacor Number: 294181

Consider covering not only your table, chairs, and grill. There are covers now available for your umbrella, log rack, fire pit, patio heater and chimeneya!