One of the most charming sights in the neighborhood during the fall and winter months is a porch bedecked with seasonal cheer. While these decorations don’t stay up very long, fall- and winter-inspired accents are a great way to cherish the holidays and the spirit of the seasons. Follow these tips to show off your porch design prowess throughout the fall and winter.
1. Embrace the Offbeat
When decorating around a season, it’s easy to fall back on go-to holiday symbols: glowing jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween, overflowing cornucopias for Thanksgiving and red and green ornaments for Christmas. While there’s nothing wrong with these time-honored emblems, there’s ample opportunity to stretch the limits of traditional fall and winter decor.
Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to a certain design scheme. Marlaina Teich of Marlaina Teich Designs suggests using unexpected color palettes and materials to dress up your porch. That way, you can still decorate your porch so that it evokes seasonal elements without going overboard. Branch out a little –spray paint a pumpkin metallic gold or use sleek modern pottery for poinsettias.
“You can put the full-sized reindeer on your porch, but if they’re sleek white it’s cool,” says Teich.
2. Kick the Kitsch
Homeowners can get a little decorating-obsessed when showing off all their seasonal adornments. A giant inflatable Santa may be fun for the neighborhood kids, but it doesn’t have a place on an elegantly decorated porch. Trade the junky stuff for reclaimed furniture, antique lanterns and other grown-up pieces that would be appropriate throughout the year.
And the less kitschy stuff you purchase, the more money you can put toward better products for your porch, says Sara Jenkins-Sutton, vice president of Topiarus.
“Be careful what you buy,” she says. “A lot of holiday decor is made with inexpensive materials and can fall apart fast. We recommend avoiding anything that is inflatable or plastic, no matter how colorful and fun it looks. We would much rather see consumers invest in quality and purchase less.”
Step back from your porch and take in the overall scene. If it’s too overwhelming, just remove or rearrange a few pieces to create some balance. The “less is more” mantra definitely applies in this situation.
3. Create a Homey Feel
As the year winds down, people become a little more nostalgic, craving the comforts of home. It’s no wonder why – November and December in particular are months that remind people of good times spent with close friends and family. Decorate your porch with these feelings of warmth and cheer in mind.
Give visitors to your home a friendly welcome with a homemade wreath. One simple option is to wrap twigs or leaves with a delicate piece of ribbon, suggests Dawn Newkirk, director of fashion merchandising for Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design. Or, you can shake up the traditional pine cone-and-evergreen wreath with materials like brightly colored feathers, Teich says.
Don’t stop at the door – decorate your porch as if it were another room in your home. Simply incorporate decorative outdoor rugs and weather-resistant cushions, pillows and throw blankets into the seating area of your porch. No hammock or swing to lounge in? No problem, says Newkirk. Simply pick up some weathered wooden chairs from an antique or thrift store for an instantly cozy feel.
Reclaimed pieces like baskets made from corrugated tin or wooden slats also fit into this rustic, homey setting. Fill the baskets with birch logs, pinecones and other items that speak to the fall and winter seasons.
4. Go Natural
“In September and October, I love to stick to the classic autumn flowers: Chrysanthemums, daisies, dahlias and mums,” says Kate Campbell of HGTV’s “Decked Out” and “Deck Wars.” “Come the colder months, pick low maintenance flowers that bloom in the winter including roses, pansies or carnations or evergreens such as cypress or English boxwood.”
A gardening supply store will have what you need, but the fall and winter months are a great time to take advantage of all the nature in your own neighborhood. Newkirk recommends getting the whole family involved in collecting items to display on your porch. Pick up small twigs, leaves and other natural mementos on a family hike. Afterwards, use clothespins to string up the pieces along with little notes that describe what you and your family love about the season.
If you’d rather show off your nature collection on a tabletop, layer your finds in large glass vases or closed containers, she suggests. You can also fill window boxes with seasonal goods like gourds instead of flowers.
For a finishing touch with a modern twist, Teich recommends painting just the tips of branches or pinecones in dazzling colors like gold and silver. Display these natural ornaments in a bowl or arrange them on the surface of a small table.