Your front porch is one of the first things people notice about your home when they’re strolling by or coming to visit, so why not use it as a platform for showing off your style, celebrating the changing seasons and making a warm first impression?
Indeed, when it comes to creating a welcoming atmosphere for your home — while upping its curb appeal — a well-appointed, tastefully decorated porch can make a world of difference.
Whether your front porch is a spacious wraparound or a small entry area, there are plenty of simple things that can be done to make it lovely and inviting in every season — even the colder ones. Here, with the help of Calgary design expert Marika Deliyannides (principal and owner of House Crush Studio), we bring you a handful of easy and creative ways to decorate your exterior front entryway this fall.
Fancy up your front door
The front door is the main focal point of a home’s entryway, so it only makes sense to dress it up. Hanging a decorative wreath is an easy and timeless way to add a touch of class and character to your door. While many of us associate wreaths with the merry, red-and-green decor of the Christmas season, harvest-themed wreaths — featuring dried fall foliage and autumnal colours — are festive in their own right. Plus, they’re pretty affordable. “There are so many nice fall wreaths now that can be purchased for well under $100,” says Deliyannides.
Of course, if you don’t want to buy a pre-made version at your nearest houseware store, you can opt for the DIY route; there are tons of how-to videos and sites online that will walk you through the wreath-making steps. And if wreaths aren’t your thing, consider hanging a welcome sign or a framed chalkboard with a friendly message that you can change whenever the mood suits you.
Embrace fall flora
Yes, fall weather in Calgary and Airdrie can range from chilly to downright freezing — and more often than not, we get a brushing or two of snow. So, it may seem like folly to bedeck your porch with flower-filled planters. But the truth is, there are a variety of flora out there that will weather the elements while adding rich bursts of colour to your entryway. “Most grocery stores right now have a good selection of mums,” says Deliyannides. “They’re very hardy and last well into the season. Plus, they’re really affordable and come in so many colours — yellows, oranges, whites, even reds.”
Pansies, ornamental kale, native grasses and seasonal berry branches are other options, and you can maximize visual appeal by filling your flowerpots with a mix of these plants. As for the pots themselves, be sure to put your fall arrangements in containers that don’t crack or become brittle in the cold. Wood, concrete and fiberglass pots are all good bets, as are galvanized planters and tubs, which will lend a slightly rustic look to your porch.
Celebrate the pumpkin
Nothing says fall quite like pumpkins do. Fall is harvest season for these versatile, pleasingly plump fruits, which makes them both easy to find and, given their sheer variety of shapes and sizes, fun to decorate with. “If you have kids and want to decorate for fall and Halloween at the same time, I would get a pile of pumpkins and gourds in all kinds of sizes and colours and just trail them down the front steps,” says Deliyannides. “And on some of the larger pumpkins, you could also write cute messages or your house number or whatever you and your family want to say.”
You might also want to consider adding a touch of whimsy to your floral displays by placing a few small pumpkins or other winter squashes into planters or window boxes. Or, for something a little folksier, try creating a farm-inspired vignette in one corner of your porch by arranging pumpkins and gourds with a couple of hay bales and maybe even a miniature scarecrow.
Light it up
Allow your festive displays to really shine — even after dark — by adding some outdoor lighting to the mix. “Fall is an ideal time to put out some string lights,” says Deliyannides. “Just drape them over a chair or a planter, or around your railing. Don’t fuss too much with placing them perfectly — just have fun without overthinking it.”
For another cozy addition, consider grouping lanterns of different shapes and sizes on a few of your front steps, or place them along part of your walkway. The soft glow of the twinkling lights will bring a warm, inviting ambiance to your front yard while complementing the rest of your fall decor. With the number of battery- or solar-powered options now available for purchase, lanterns truly are a worry-free way to illuminate a space.
Have a seat (if there’s space)
If you’ve got the space, consider adding a cozy seating area to your porch. “Unless the porch is massive, I recommend just a love seat or two really comfortable chairs, plus a small table,” says Deliyannides, who adds that drum tables are a good choice for smaller porches.
Adding a durable (but pretty) rug to the seating area, as well as some fall-themed throw pillows and even a cozy blanket, will help the space feel all the more comfortable and homey, making it an ideal spot for chatting with neighbours, watching kids play in the front yard or just savouring a crisp fall afternoon with a cup of tea or hot cocoa in hand.
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