When I drive around my neighborhood the apartments either have nothing on their porch or it’s fully furnished. I wanted to be one of the neighbors that had a nice looking porch that was fully decorated and looked like a fun place to sit out at. I created a Pinterest board where I pinned all the porch decor ideas too and then came up with a design that would work with the space that we had. However, that was the easy part, I first had to clean up what we currently had outside – and that was a mess. Our porch had two small chairs and a table, and a bunch of junk around them. We had pots with dead plants in them from last year, random holiday decorations could still be found, shoes, pool towels, and gardening tools. So the first thing I did was clean everything up. I bought a yard waste bag and filled it up with all the dead plants, I put the holiday decorations in bins, and swept all the dirt up.
I wanted our porch to be an inviting area that you could spend your time outside and enjoy it. To be an area that we could eat meals at, enjoy drinks with friends, or get comfortable and read a good book. This post talks about all the things that I did to re-create my porch area to have it look like a tropical paradise.
These are the steps that I took and the items that I bought to make-over my small porch for summer.
Something that I think is very important for a porch to have (no matter how small of a space you have) is a seating area. It can be a simple as just having two chairs and a table, but you want to have an area where you can come outside to sit and relax. I love spending time outside, so having a seating area where I could sit and relax, eat a meal, or bring my laptop outside to work, was important to me. We used to have two small chairs and a table but they weren’t very practical. So when I saw that IKEA launched all-new outdoor furniture, I was excited to go check it out! I bought the Tarno table and 2 chairs and Kuddarna chair cushions so that the chairs would be comfortable. It’s the perfect height to have meals at or type up blog posts on my laptop! When I’m not using the table, I do decorate it with seasonal items like candles, flowers, or little trinkets.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a seating arrangement either because they can get quite pricey. My IKEA set was $60 total for the table, two chairs, and two cushions. Below are some other inexpensive outdoor dining sets that you can buy for your porch!
Since I live in an apartment we can’t plant an actual garden, so we have to pot everything. So I divided our porch into two areas – a seating area and a gardening area. The plants are on the side of the porch that gets the most sun so that they can live. Which is good because I am terrible at keeping plants alive but I love having them! My boyfriend and I just went out to buy a bunch of native plants last weekend and put them into pots right away. Native plants mean that the flowers are from the Pennsylvania area and they will attract bees and butterflies which will help to pollinate other plants! Also, bees are dying, so we need to help them by planting flowers that they like.
We have plants in all different sizes on our porch, from a large palm plant to small succulents. The flowers are in pots on the ground, small plants that don’t need much sun are in hanging macrame holders, and ones that don’t need any sun are on the table. Plants can add in so much color and life, so if you can only fit one thing on your porch, I recommend a large plant or colorful potted/hanging flowers.
STRING LIGHTS & CANDLES
Porches can be relatively dark areas if you don’t get a lot of sun during the day. Something that you can do is bring in some artificial lights using candles and lights! I personally have a big Citronella candle on my table outside because they’re known to keep bugs away when they are lit. You can buy them at any home decor or improvement store. Another thing you can do is bring in some battery powered or electric lights. I would love to have those little solar powered lights that you stick in the ground and they store the sunlight during the day and then use it at night, but our landlord does not allow them. When I have a house one day I’ll use them! So, for now, I hung up string lights and have them lining the top part of our porch. When it gets dark, I just turn on the lights and the whole porch is lit up, allowing us to sit out there after dark. I keep these lights up all year long because they are great for holiday’s and also I’m lazy and don’t want to take them down.
If you are going for a more chic look for your porch, small bulb lights are an option. They are just like string lights but the lights are inside a little glass bulb. It looks cute when you hang them up and they are relatively inexpensive. I found a cute set of lights at Home Goods the other week that I regret not buying.
DOOR MATS & WREATHS
The first thing I did when we moved into our apartment a couple of years ago, was by a doormat. It’s just a nice thing to have that is both cute and practical. (Nobody like tracking dirt into their homes) Welcome mats are relatively cheap and they last a long time. We bought ours at Target but I know that Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and other stores have them for under $15. If you want to spruce up your door area, something I have been seeing on Pinterest is putting a large printed mat underneath the welcome mat to add some dimension and texture to the area.
Now I love having a wreath on my front door. I change them out whenever the seasons change or for holidays. All the parts were bought from my local craft store and I put it all together. I buy a 12″ wooden wreath, fake flowers/decorations of my choosing, and then create the wreath using hot glue and string. Having a wreath on your front door can bring so much color and personality to a door that is just plain and boring. It also shows your neighbors how welcoming and fun you are because you always decorate your door and porch for the season.
OUTDOOR RUGS & THROW PILLOWS
There are certain items that don’t necessarily HAVE to have on your porch but I think they look nice. Outdoor rugs make your hard patio floor a nice and soft so that you can kick your shoes off and enjoy yourself. Now, outdoor rugs can get expensive because they’re weather treated and that means that they won’t fall apart after it rains a couple of times. But I just so happen to stumble upon the cutest rug at Home Goods, and guess what? IT WAS ONLY $8.00! I was shocked when I found it, I was like “wait is this a mistake because this rug is perfectly fine and cute, why is it marked down?!” Whatever, I didn’t care, I put the rug in my cart.
When I got home unrolled the rug and put it right in the middle of the porch so that it connected both the seating area and the plant/gardening area. Another thing that I personally don’t have but would love to have, is throw pillows. I put cozy cushions on my chairs but if I didn’t do that I would’ve gotten cute tropical pillows (maybe a flamingo print) that would make the porch look summery and adorable! Every store you go in will have some sort of cute pillows that you can put in your home or outdoors, just make sure that they are weather treated so that they don’t get destroyed in a storm or bleached out because of the sun.