Friends see it. Strangers pass it. The mailman knows it well. Your front porch is the first thing guests see when they come by, and the last thing they'll see when they go. It's a living space, a gathering place, and — if you play your cards right — a testament to your personal taste. And let's not forget the most important advantage: an extra dining space to enjoy summer food and drink.
Whether you've got an idyllic wrap-around in the country, or you're working with a few feet of city stoop, here are 10 easy ways to kick up your curb appeal — without straining your budget (or your back).
- Ribbed Galvanized Metal Planter, $59 to 79 at Rejuvenation: These industrial-chic planters come in three sizes to meet all of your horticultural needs.
- Lattice Petal Ceramic Patio Stool, $99 at Home Depot: These bright ceramic stools are popping up all over the place, and for good reason — they're supremely versatile. Use as extra seating, or employ as an end table. Ideal for outdoor use, they're equally charming in the living room.
- Hedgehog Doormat, $40 at Crate and Barrel: Nothing says "welcome" like a whimsical hedgehog stationed at the door. This bristly critter is designed to soak up water and brush off debris, keeping your guests amused and your floors clean.
- Industrial Stackable Metal Side Chair, $50 at Overstock: If you're going to be entertaining al fresco, stackable chairs are key (how many people are coming to dinner? Who knows!). There's no reason to pack them up after porch season, either — these are stylish and sturdy enough to use all year round.
- Ambiance 25 Light Globe String Light, $35 at Wayfair: A little mood lighting can make all the difference. Give your porch some sparkle with a few strands of these festive globe lights, and spend the rest of the summer basking in your own hospitality.
- Brutus the Dog Statue, $59 at Grandin Road: Listen, nobody needs a dog statue, but it's hard to deny Brutus's many charms. He'll lend your front step an air of dignified whimsy, and looks especially dashing beside some potted plants.
- Eric Trine Double Octahedron Pedestal, $95 at Eric Trine: Another indoor/outdoor piece, this made-to-order geometric pedestal elevates anything, literally and figuratively, from cacti to coffee.
- Byzantine Area Rug, $79 at Home Decorators: There is no easier way to transform a covered porch than with a bold print area rug. This one is festive enough to add interest, but neutral enough not to require all new furniture.
- Glowing Arbor Birdhouse, $38 at Anthropologie: This one's for the birds (and don't they deserve it?). Channel your inner Jonathan Franzen with this otherworldly stoneware birdhouse, inspired by Australian artist Bridget Bodenham's bushland childhood.
- Outsunny 40" Arch Design Decorative Outdoor Garden Bench, $98 at Amazon: Sturdy and surprisingly elegant, this art deco-inspired cast aluminum bench goes with practically everything — and fits practically anywhere.
Do you have a favorite purchase for your front porch — something that made it a better place to play, eat, and lounge?