“Is winter over yet” you may be asking yourself? Even if spring is still a few weeks away, now is the time to give your mood a “lift” and begin thinking about decorating your porch for spring.
For this spring, what message do you want to send about your porch? Are you at a new place in your life – maybe you just got married, had a new baby, or you have reached a milestone age. Any of those has probably changed what will work for you.
Here is a quick checklist you can run through to see what needs to be done:
· Furniture. Give it a once over, do any cleaning or repair that is required and buy new cushions (if applicable).
· Rugs. Are they clean and usable or do they need to be tossed and replaced?
· Plants. Best to include only winter-friendly plants (e.g., pansies, cabbage, etc.) until the danger of frost is gone. Or are you the type to cover your plants or take them inside? Think about what new plants you might add, where you will place them, and what kind of containers you can find that are in keeping with your “theme.” (Ever thought of planting an herb garden? Nice look, great smell!)
· Lighting. While the days will be longer, you will still need lighting to create atmosphere. Consider how you will use the porch during late evening hours and do not rule out lamps with inexpensive lamp shades. Did you know that there are outdoor lamps now available just for porches, patios and decks? Remember candles, too.
· Windows. One of the latest trends to make your porch an outdoor room is with panels, curtains, or blinds. Treat each opening between the two porch columns as a window. How would you frame it if it were inside your home? The key is to select the proper materials – e.g., heavy sail cloth for curtains, vinyl blinds, etc. – that will withstand rain and heat.
· Storage. Since the front porch has truly resurfaced as a living area, be sure you have some storage where you can tuck things away if the elements get nasty. You may love to snuggle with the quilt on a cool summer night – but if it has gotten wet or dirty, the thrill is going to be gone.
· Decor. Tables and art and decorations, oh my! Are you in minimal list phase, country motif mode, or all about fantastic? There is always something you can pick up and find a place for in any decor. Have some old china that you can hang on the wall? Do you have a small wicker basket that you can paint black and add to that contemporary design? Challenge yourself to walk around inside and outside your home and find ways to use what you already have. (Boy: that will take up some hours of all that spare time you have!)
· Paint. There can never be too much paint. Grab one of those new sample size paints in a color you love and had it to a few areas around your porch for emphasis. How about the door frame or a window box or even a small table? Again, the sky is the limit!
Food for thought: Cindy Brock, creator of Decluttering for Dollars suggests carefully scrutinizing each item. Then using her DUST method, decide whether you will donate, use, sell or toss something.
As you are working on the spring decorating of your porch, be sure that you step out into your front yard and see what you have done. Make a little tweak here, a small adjustment there, and when it is just right, you will know. Then, sit back and watch the world go by and maybe even catch a few stares as passersby admire your handiwork.