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The First Things Guests Notice About Your Front Porch, Experts Say

Be mindful of these elements, which can either make or break your outdoor space.

Your front porch is one of the first things your guests will see upon arriving at your home. So, needless to say, you'll want to be thoughtful about the kinds of furniture and decor you incorporate and how you arrange them—among other aspects of the design.

"Your porch serves as a transitional space between the outside world and the interior of your home," explains Austin Fain, a home improvement expert and the owner of Perfect Steel Solutions. "A well-designed porch can create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere, setting the tone for the rest of your house. It's also an extension of your living space, offering a place for relaxation, socializing, and enjoying the outdoors."

Keep reading to learn what experts say are the elements that are sure to stand out to guests when they look at your front porch.

RELATED: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

The layout

Two women sitting on their front porch drinking cocktails and smiling
iStock / Alina Rosanova

Your porch is a high-traffic area—it's where all your guests enter and exit the home. That's why Raquel Kehler, an interior designer at RoomCrush, says it's important to plan the layout carefully.

Having a clear path to the front door is obviously vital, and if you plan to entertain outdoors, you'll also want to ensure it's easy for guests to find seating. Avoid cluttering your porch with too much furniture, which can look aesthetically overwhelming but also impede the flow of movement.

Ideally, you also want to create some visual balance: for example, by situating a set of matching chairs on both sides of the front door, or by placing a bench swing on one side and a small patio set on the other.

The paint

beautiful light blue front door
iStock / Heidi Patricola

According to Kehler, the first thing your guests might notice is the railing on the staircase leading up to your front porch.

"If you have any peeling or cracked paint, be sure to add a fresh coat of paint and change the color if it clashes with the stairs or the exterior of your home," she says.

After that, your front door is the next visible element on your porch. "Consider repainting it a contrasting, yet complementary color to your home's exterior, adding a seasonal wreath, or switching out your doorknob for a more modern one," suggests Kehler.

She also advises taking a look at your house number, which can draw attention if it's looking rusty or worn out. "An easy fix is simply to get new ones, but be sure that they suit the design style of your house—for example, a Victorian-style home would look great with rustic house numbers."

Pro tip: Joe Raboine, VP of design at Belgard/Oldcastle APG, advises painting your porch ceiling a pale sky blue to make the space feel more vertically open.

RELATED: The Best Drinks for Front Porch Sipping, Lifestyle Experts Say.

The seating

A porch swing with a lot of throw pillows advertising the Marrs Collection for Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart
Courtesy Walmart

Rudolph Diesel, a London-based luxury interior designer, says guests are bound to take note of the type and condition of furniture on your front porch, too.

"Make sure that your furniture is clean, comfortable, and fits well within the space," he tells Best Life. "Cushions or outdoor pillows are a great way to add some comfort and a pop of color. A porch swing or rocking chairs can also add a charming touch."

Fain recommends investing in weather-resistant porch furniture, which is less prone to unsightly damage from rain and humidity.

And remember: If you wouldn't sit in a particular chair without getting uncomfortable, your guests probably won't, either.

The plant life

Boston ferns sitting on porch near front door way with rocking chair.
StephanieFrey / iStock

Don't underestimate the power of your porch decor, says Diesel—it adds character, personality, and vibrancy. Potted plants, in particular, can make your porch more welcoming and visually appealing.

Something to keep in mind: Assuming your front porch is covered, you'll want to seek out plants and flowers that don't need a lot of direct sunlight and can still thrive in the shade, like succulents, hanging ferns, and begonias.

"Use a mix of flowering plants and greens in various sizes and types of containers for visual interest," suggests Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder at Arsight.

Alternatively, Audrey Scheck, founder, CEO, and principal designer at Audrey Scheck Design, recommends opting for faux trees, which require zero maintenance but can look just as stunning.

Fain and Diesel also suggest using wall art, sculptures, and decorative mirrors and rugs to add personality and a homey, lived-in feel to your porch.

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The lighting

Outdoor porch lighting with hanging lantern
Ursula Page / Shutterstock

From a safety standpoint, it's super important that your porch is adequately lit at night to ensure guests can find their way around the space and to and from your front door. But that's not the only reason to consider the lighting.

"Lighting also plays a significant role in setting the ambiance and mood on your porch," says Diesel.

Outdoor wall sconces and solar lanterns can really elevate the atmosphere, according to Diesel. Fain and Kropovinsky also recommend draping string lights around your porch to instantly add warmth and a cozy feel.

"If the front entry is symmetrical, try hanging two wall sconces on either side of the door," adds Scheck. "If you are tight on space, flush mount light fixtures will add welcome light without detracting from the main entrance."

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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