Saturday, June 23, 2012 1:20 PM EDT
Last month, tired of perpetually peeling paint and constant clutter, my husband and I decided to DIY a front porch makeover
. The first step was literally the first step: The stairs needed a complete rebuild
. Next, two complementary shades of fresh exterior paint
, and cheerful, inviting outdoor plants
. It was a lot of rigorous work
, prepping, painting, planting and more. Now, the end was in sight, and the fun part had arrived: buying new furniture and accessories!
In consultation with our designer
, Valerie Clubine of Signature Interiors, we determined our vision for the outdoor room, emphasis on “room.” We realized we wanted the space to be inviting — to feel, and serve, as a dual-purpose outdoor/indoor area. Choosing the furniture
To achieve the vision, we needed to make the space look like a room, so we avoided conventional outdoor furniture. Mixing and matching became the answer. We did one-stop shopping
at Home Depot.
For seating: Patioflare Hand-woven Wicker Muskoka Chairs
($119); visually low, they don’t appear to take up a lot of space. We also wanted seating for the kids
, but knew they’d quickly outgrow child
-sized chairs. As we didn’t have room for two more full-sized chairs beyond the wickers: Martha Stewart Living Laurel Shore Ottomans
(2-pack, $149), fine seating for kids
, and if it’s just me and the hubby, we pull them up and actually use them as ottomans.
For the accent table, we ended up choosing one meant for indoor use: Powell Shelburne Cherry 2-piece nesting tables
($141), which gives us an extra table to pull out when needed — and the nested table takes up almost no space when not in use. Our porch is quite sheltered, and the table will be set back against window; short of a hurricane, this outdoor furniture won’t be affected by inclement weather
To pull the space together and give it the coziness of a room, a bold-patterned rug: Lanart Modern Weave 4X6 outdoor area rug
($179). This is
a durable, washable outdoor rug, make no mistake; the great news is that these days all sorts of outdoor rugs are available that look like indoor rugs. Win-win! The lighting
To effect ambience: lanterns with candles, a post cap, and a main
fixture with a dimmer. For the main
outdoor light, an oversized lantern-style
light, which adds drama
to the space: World Imports Ayrs Outdoor Collection Bronze 12-inch hanging lamp
($286). The accessories
As with any room in a home, little details can have a big impact. So: accessory shopping
! To be honest, we didn’t do 100% one-stop shopping
at Home Depot. We visited Wal-Mart for most of our accessories — inexpensive but surprisingly chic. Here’s what we got:
- Quilt set ($50), which we slung over the railing on the far side of the porch, to block out our neighbour’s recycling bins
- Throw pillows ($15 each)
- 14" caddie ($10), used for fern, to be able to move it closer to the seating area or out into the sun when needed
- Birdcage ($20), which we used to house one of our potted lavender plants, on the nesting table
- Candle holders and lanterns (various price points, all inexpensive)
THE BIG REVEAL
Technically, we started the reveal at the top of this post! Still, those of you who have been following this series will remember what a visual and spatial disaster the space was before. Non-descript to the point where it had become a marginally functional space to store large items like strollers and bikes — in other words, it had devolved into a clutter vortex. In case you missed it, or in case you have (mercifully!) forgotten, here is the Before:
And here is another look at the After:
So, cocktails on the veranda, anyone? As you can see, our new front porch combines all the elements we love about being outside, including plants and lanterns, with the interior comforts we adore, like blankets, cushions and luxe furniture. Our entire family enjoys spending time out here, at all times of day: morning coffee, afternoon story sessions, late evening glasses of wine… Drop by next time you’re in the neighbourhood — we’ll be out there!
Total cost for entire project: $3,000 approx.
The verdict: Wow, do we ever wish we’d done this a long time ago. A home improvement that extends into so many areas of our lives, it was well worth the time and effort. Beyond pleasing us, it also increases our home’s curb appeal, which makes it a more inviting destination for neighbours and friends, and increases the property’s resale value. I already said “win-win” earlier in this post, so I’ll end by saying win-win-win!
Share your own DIY porch-upgrade tips in the Comments!