The Perfect Porch: How to Welcome Guests Before They Ever Set Foot in Your House
Many people don’t realize the importance of the porch. The very first experience someone has of your home is when they are standing outside your front door, waiting for you to answer. It’s the first point for making guests feel welcome. So if you do a lot of entertaining, you really need to put some thought into it. At a time when you aren’t preparing for guests, spend some time thinking about how this often neglected area of your home represents your style. Here are some of the ways I’ve made my porch inviting.
1) Make a Green Scene. Plants are great way to create interest and character at the front of your home. My porch has succulents that are arranged in a succulent wreath that doesn’t close the loop. They are easy to use and you stick the succulents into the mesh/felt material to create your own design. It frames my door. The front of my home and entry are also covered in ivy that has been grown and trimmed into a grid pattern. I think that a big blank wall is too much, even if it’s completely covered in ivy, it can still seem blank because it’s all one color. I like the look of the grid because it feels like outdoor art.
2) Have a Seat. Having some kind of seating in your front looks warm and inviting. It’s great for staging things like placing candles or seasonal decorations, but also an everyday use for placing groceries on or packages. Think about a little bench seat. I have two benches. One out by the driveway because it’s so long. The other is under a window near the porch. It’s really become something we use all the time.
3) Light the Way. If you are having a party in the evening, use votives in the entry and lining the walkway if it’s dark. I recommend finding outdoor votives and placing them in a glass or stone container. If you need more light, go with glass. If you are having a summer party that goes into the night, don’t light until the sun starts to set. I’d assign someone to do the lighting—like one of your girlfriends who is reliable. When not entertaining, think about the lighting in general. I have my entry lighted with sconces and placed in different areas. They are not just over garage but also in other places to create a lot of ambient lighting.
4) Put Out the Welcome Mat. In my entryway I have a bright and modern Chilewich rug (available at Studio Chameleon). They are great! It doesn’t shed, doesn’t feel too hard and they are fun to look at. They come in different colors and patterns. People really love them. The ones with bold stripes pair well with a more traditional exterior.
I hope these tips give you some ideas about making your porch a welcoming place. Remember, put yourself in your guests shoes and think about how your porch will appear to them!