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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

Outdoor lighting: Perfect illumination for every kind of porch

Every house has its own unique personality – and that’s often apparent right at the front door. While there numerous home entry styles, the one you choose – and how you decorate it – says a lot about you and your style. And the key décor element for any porch is generally an outdoor light fixture.

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Consider these three types of porches and home entries and how lighting can define and improve the space:

  • A large, open porch: Sweeping, gracious porches are a much-loved characteristic of classic American homes, particularly in the South. Because they encourage lingering and lots of use, it’s necessary to have sufficient lighting; that might mean a multitude of fixtures. A large sconce by the door provides welcoming light but recessed ceiling lighting can help illuminate the rest of the space.
  • A screened in porch: These versatile spaces often end up serving as additional living areas. Because screened-in porches make the most of enjoyable weather without letting insects in to pester you, they’re comfortable and useful, even after dark. To add light and keep the air moving, a combination fan and light fixture is ideal. For times when you only need a bit of light, a sconce – or pair of sconces – directly next to the door will do the trick.
  • A classic portico: A sconce can overwhelm a small portico space or give it an unbalanced look. A pendant lighting fixture, like a lantern or a chandelier, adds charm as well as illumination to a portico, all without throwing off the visual balance. Because it’s a smaller space, keep overhead clearance in mind.

Having the right lighting on your porch will make a difference in how you welcome your guests, spend your time and establish the look of your home. Choose carefully and you’ll create a space that’s as versatile as it is beautiful.

Light your landscape for splendor and safety

You can keep your home safe while enhancing your landscape’s beauty – just improve your outdoor lighting. It expands your outdoor entertaining opportunities, provides better sidewalk illumination for guests, adds a bit of romance to your porch and makes your yard interesting in the evening.

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A well-lit stoop allows you to identify visitors, and gives guests a warm welcome. Choose wall lanterns on either side of the front door that match your home’s look, whether it’s traditional or modern.

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Match the wall lanterns on your home’s entrance to ones on either side of your garage door. If part of your house would still be in shadow, illuminate with a spotlight above the garage door. Consider installing a motion sensor on these fixtures, or a photocell that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn. This will conserve energy. Be a considerate neighbor – make sure your lights don’t shine directly into your neighbors’ windows.

Steps and pathways Executive home

Path lights or post lanterns will not only add beauty to your home’s exterior, they will also add safety for visitors. Low-level path lights, which spread circular patterns of light, will not only show the way to your front entrance, but can also highlight nearby flower beds, shrubs and ground cover. They can also help define the boundaries of long driveways.

Decks, porches and patios Exteriors Fredericksburg

Convert these into romantic retreats with low-voltage lighting. You’ll also be creating outdoor “rooms,” extending your entertaining spaces. Plus, chasing away shadows from these areas adds to your safety. Grills and serving areas, of course, need brighter task lighting, which could be provided by wall-mounted or free-standing lamps.

For all this lighting, experts suggest you buy the best-quality and well-constructed fixtures you can afford. They will last longer and be better values in the long run.