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:

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Offer a seat

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.

 

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

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.

 

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

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.

 

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

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.

 

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

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

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

Every year you add another home improvement project to your list. Pretty soon the list will feel almost impossible to complete! Start tackling some of those projects this summer with these five home improvement ideas. With warmer weather and longer days, summer is the perfect season for making your home a more enjoyable place to live.

1. Replace light bulbs and fixtures

Are you still using old-style incandescent light bulbs? Replace them with newer versions that are more energy-efficient.You’ll save money on bills and won’t have to replace them as often in the future. While replacing your bulbs, see if you have any outdated fixtures that don’t really fit in with your home’s style anymore. Now is the time to update those, too.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

2. Repair or replace window screens

In the summer, you’re going to want to enjoy fresh air by opening your windows. But, if you’re missing a screen or it is torn, bugs could get into your home. You certainly don’t want to spend your time swatting at flies, so replace or repair your window screens right away and start enjoying the outdoor breeze inside your house.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

Photo credit: Designsponge

3. Remove old wallpaper

Does your home still have that old 70s wallpaper in the living room? Open the windows, turn on some tunes and update that ugly print with contemporary wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint. This simple change will refresh your room and bring it to the present.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

4. Set up your patio with outdoor furniture

Outdoor entertaining is the perfect way to enjoy summer, but you can’t host guests without furniture. Determine how you want to use your patio – whether for dinner or drinks and conversation – and choose furniture to match.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

5. Add a raised garden bed

Start growing all those plants and herbs you’ve been meaning to plant by installing a raised garden bed in your yard. The sooner you tackle this project, the sooner you can start enjoying fresh produce!

If the idea of tackling projects this summer sounds far from appealing, make each task more fun by enlisting help and working to your favorite songs. All of your hard work will pay off in the end!

By Wendy Weinert

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

During the spring and summer months, there’s nothing better than relaxing on your patio or porch. Don’t let your outdoor oasis be spoiled, however, when a swarm of mosquitoes crashes the party or your neighbors decide to argue loudly next door. Enjoy the outdoors this season more fully by setting up your space to fix these five common annoyances.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

1. Noise

It’s hard to enjoy socializing with friends when all you hear are cars driving by or the TV playing in a neighboring house. Eliminate some of that noise with noise of your own. A decorative wind chime is relaxing and will provide sounds you actually want to hear.

Tips for improving your outdoor space

2. Bugs

Nothing is worse than having to swat at bugs the entire time you’re outside. Besides spraying yourself with bug repellent, you can keep the bugs away by not wearing perfume, removing any standing water around the area (for example, rainwater left in an empty bucket) and lighting a citronella candle. If you have a porch, consider installing an outdoor fan, which also keeps biting bugs away.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

3. Harsh sunlight 

During the winter all we wish for is the sun. But then the summer comes and the sun shines a little too bright. Prevent sunburn by incorporating shade into your outdoor space. There are lots of ways to add shade. You can use a simple trick like an umbrella or cloth canopy, or you can build your own shade in the form of an outdoor gazebo or arbor.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

4. No light

After the sun goes down, you won’t have to worry about getting sunburned, but you will have to worry about being able to see. Depending on where your outdoor space is located, you can consider wall lights, lamps, landscape lighting or ambient lighting placed underneath furniture.

5. Heat/cold

During the day you might be too hot, but when it starts to get dark you might feel chilly. Combat both problems by installing an outdoor ceiling fan and setting up an outdoor heater in your patio. An extra supply of blankets will also come in handy at night and shade will help you stay cool, especially if you can’t hang up a fan.

You’ve spent a lot of time setting up your outdoor space, so why not enjoy it? Keep the annoyances away with these five solutions, and spend this season soaking up the fresh air!

By Wendy Weinert

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

After months of cold weather and snow, spring has finally arrived, and soon you can put that outdoor patio space to good use. Outdoor patios are the perfect place for entertaining during the warm spring and summer months – all you need is the right furniture, décor and these three helpful tips:

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

1. Arrange your space to match the occasion

Will your patio be used for afternoon cook-outs or for sophisticated dinners during the evening? Maybe your outdoor space will be a place where friends and family can simply gather for conversation and to enjoy the sunshine. Before you start browsing patio furniture, consider the different ways you might use your outdoor space so you can create a comfortable environment to match the style of entertaining you prefer.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: Kate Byer Interior Design

2. Don’t forget about the lighting

While the sun can light up your space during the day, you’ll need outdoor lighting for evening entertaining so your guests can see each other! Make sure to set up the proper outdoor lighting so you can use your patio any time of the day. If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet, solar or candle-filled lanterns will also do the trick.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

3. Add comfort with decorative pillows

Let’s face it – outdoor patio furniture is never going to be as comfortable as that plush sofa in your living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer hard chairs or benches. Use accent pillows for décor and to add comfort around the outdoor patio area. You can even use a large pillow as an extra seat if you run out of chairs!

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: La Dolce Vita

4. Make the most of the space you have

If your patio is small, simply work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space. For example, you can set up furniture around the perimeter of your space to provide room for movement and mingling. If your space is primarily for conversation, simply bunch furniture closer together to create a more intimate and cozy experience.

Don’t let the warm weather go to waste. With these tips in mind, you can set up your outdoor patio and enjoy months of entertaining fun!

By Wendy Weinert

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Furniture and rugs: The key elements to making outdoor spaces as comfortable as indoors

Whether your style is restrained and modern or classic and ornate, furniture and rugs often provide the central inspiration for the rest of your room – and the same can be said of outdoor spaces. In fact, those two décor elements can help make your outdoor “rooms” as comfortable, welcoming and livable as your indoor spaces.

If the idea of a carpet outdoors gives you pause, think again. This décor-defining accessory is available in weather-resistant materials, woven into inspiring patterns, from botanical to geometric and even intricate textile motifs like paisley. Just as they do indoors, outdoor rugs provide a central point of focus between seating, but can also be placed under outdoor dining furniture to bring a more formal feel to al fresco meals.90005 6113 063094_ex01

The style of your furniture can also define your space, as it would in your home’s living room, den or other rooms. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have gotten wise to the fact that people of all tastes want patio furniture that exactly matches their preferences, just as they would expect for interior furniture. So the great news is that no matter the style you’re seeking, you’ll find it. Sleek, euro-style tables and benches are just as accessible as classic American styles, from colonial to Cape Cod. As an added benefit, modern upgrades in materials mean that your outdoor furniture will be able to withstand unpredictable weather and maintain its looks and comfort.Club-4

Once you’ve chosen your furniture and rug, you’ve laid the foundation for your outdoor décor style, providing the feel of an outdoor room, rather than just a patio. Keep in mind that you can mix and match carpet and furniture styles; minimalist furniture can let an ornate carpet shine, while more traditional furniture can bring a sense of comfort to a contemporary carpet

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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