Affordable Ways To Give Your Home a Facelift


Picket Fence Perfection

It is incredible to live in a part of the world where you can have a front porch that’s open for neighbors and passers-by to see and enjoy; it’s something worth celebrating by making a bit of an effort at dressing your porch really beautifully – and not just at Halloween or over the festive season.

Rebekah Lowin writes for Country Living that there’s plenty you can do, even with a relatively small space – but to remember that your porch, or patio, “are the first things your guests are likely to see when they arrive.” That’s why dressing them up a bit in a fun, quaint, quirky, or elegant way to match or enhance your home cannot go amiss.

Lowin emphasizes that it’s all about elevating your home’s curb appeal, not making your wallet screech and groan. It’s about creating an outside space that makes guests feel at home, if not a bit impressed; creating a quiet nook for your morning coffee or evening glass of wine; and even where the kids can zone out a bit, sans screentime, while they swing back and forth on a cozy porch swing.

Decor decisions, decisions

Brown rattan furniture can combine seamlessly with a nature-inspired palette of greens and blues for your upholstery and cushion covers, while a stone path adds a touch of interest to a patio that’s elevated a bit from the road. Wreaths add cheer all year long, not just at Christmas, and you can paint the porch ceiling with a shade to match the furniture below.

Prefer a rocking chair to a swing? This type of furniture is highly weather-resistant, plus you can add the pillows you find most comfortable rather than going to the expense of having it covered. Whites and neutrals provide a classy backdrop for a range of flowerpots – possibly hosting a fine display of red and pink hydrangeas, as just one example of a plant that needs little attention. The distressed look on wooden chairs and tables is eye-catching, whether you created it yourself by following a specific painting technique or it’s a true vintage item.

Then, if you have wooden beams overhead, consider stringing a selection of lights above, which will provide more gentle illumination than a harsh lamp, for example. And consider a trip to the nursery and a small investment in a pretty climbing plant, such as a rose, that will make a doorway or arch stand out once it’s grown a little. Some people love the twee (read: dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint). If that’s you – and there’s no harm in displaying your taste for all to see – two or three hanging baskets may be the missing touch that draws upward attention.

Gardening lovers may display their metallic trowels and watering cans, which will glisten in the sunshine, and those who barbecue most weekends could put in an undercover fire pit or gas griller. A rustic, farmhouse look can be created inexpensively with a range of repurposed materials, such as metal sliding and iron trim, or a monochromatic theme can be created with a black – or white – church pew layered with (wait for it) black and white cushions for when you need to take the weight off after arriving home from an extended shopping trip or exercise session.

Your porch-dressing shopping list

US television producer turned interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn writes for HGTV that if you’re feeling a bit lost as to where to begin, there are ideally 10 items you need to assemble for your front porch to turn it into “the welcoming retreat it’s destined to be.” These items range from an outdoor rug, where you can “kick off your shoes and recharge”; a place to “sit comfortably,” that can be dressed up with a spread of cushions; lighting that is warm, and even solar-powered, to add an eco-friendly touch; a practically placed and sturdy table, at about arms-length when you are seated, from which to serve that delicious homemade lemonade; weatherproof art pieces to your taste, such as a sculpture or wall-hanging, that give your outdoor area a personal flavor; as much greenery as possible, such as potted plants “in varying heights and textures”; pet-friendly pieces, like a water bowl or toy, to keep your four-legged kids happy; a kid-friendly spot, such as a swing or mat, where the young members of the family can mess and play without restraint; and the odd versatile item, such as a small stool, which can double as “extra seating or an accent table” when required.

Flynn is greatly respected in the design industry and tends to act as the prop stylist for his own projects, so it’s worth taking note of at least some of the advice above and then scrolling through numerous home, garden and decor glossies until you set your peepers on a look for your home that truly resonates with you.

Where to find those statement pieces

Ceramic flower pots and distressed-wooden furniture, garden seats, and candle holders… You’ll find all of these and more at your local garden center. An upmarket décor shop will hold the doormats, candles, rugs, and cushions. But, unfortunately, neither of these options are likely to prove that affordable, and your next-door neighbor may, unfortunately, pick up the very same item if it’s been mass-produced. So, if you’re on a mission to pick up something just that little bit more unique, scheduling a browse around a decor market or selection of antique shops may prove just the ticket.

There’s a clear overlap between how you dress and how you do up your home, with the Belgian fashion designer (who is best known for her wrap dress), Diane von Fürstenberg, famously commenting: “Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”


Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024