Welcome back to my front porch – I loved our little shotgun house when we bought it, but I always hated the pale yellow colour and the concrete steps and porch. It had zero curb appeal…We had to spend a lot of time redoing the indoors to make it livable and now that is done we could tackle the exterior and front porch. And you know me Tracy, I had to go for it. Make it my own and make it dramatic. So, our little pale yellow house went dramatic all black.
So before we even start to talk about your front porch aesthetic updates, we need to talk about function. How do you use your front porch? Is it a space where you hang out? Why or why not? Are there issues of wanting more privacy? Would you hang out on your front porch if it was set up better? Or is your front porch simply a pass through – a welcome zone into your home that is simply aesthetic. How you answer those questions will influence how you design update your porch and curb appeal.
Make a Plan
Once you figure out the needs of your front porch, it’s time to make a plan and update. Just like a room in your house, the easiest ways to get a big update your porch is with paint. And for my porch I wanted it to be dramatic, so I went black. In fact, we are going with all black on black paint scheme for the entire house. To be specific, I used the colour Onyx from Benjamin Moore in a low lustre finish for the wood siding. And I actually used the exact same colour Onyx in a semi-gloss finish for the trim. Make sure when you are painting your exterior siding that you prepare it well and use the right product. Now I know my paint well but I am not an expert when it comes to New Orleans weather and what paint you should use. So, I went to my local Benjamin Moore – Helm’s Paints for advice. And I think that’s great advice no matter where you are – use your local paint experts.
Tip: Use a house wash and scrub your house before you paint. You want a clean dry surface.
Next let’s talk about making an entrance. When we bought this house it had a sad little concrete staircase that didn’t give much impact. I would say it said nothing – design wise. So, to make it dramatic, we installed these giant steps that go from end to end of the porch. And then painted them out with Benjamin Moore Porch paint in the same shade of black but in a matte finish….and following up from the steps, we painted out the concrete porch with the same colour to make the space feel more open. And to make it flow.
Tip: Use cedar or pressure treated wood for long last outdoor steps
I often picture these steps as a great spot for a Solange inspired fashion shoot….Next upgrade – lighting. Just like any room in your house, lighting is key. This house came with a traditional porch light, which I upgraded. But I wanted more. And I didn’t want to hire an electrician to add in more lighting. So, I thought about how I could cheat it. First, I added in these two wall lights that are actually solar. They were designed for candles and could be used indoors or outdoors. And I simply picked up some solar candles. Easy. Consider adding in some solar lights to your step to lighting your pathway at night. More is more when it comes to lighting, you want layers for your porch. To make it glow at night.
We have set out scene with our hard fixtures. Now it is time to dress it. Start with your floor, add in an indoor/outdoor carpet. Next layer in your large pieces of furniture. If your porch is covered, you can sneak in some traditional indoor furniture pieces. And since we are outdoors, it is all about layering plants and greenery. I wanted to create a lush outdoor oasis, so I layered in lots of tropical plants. And since I opted to plant them in moveable pots rather than large flower beds, you can easily move them inside when the weather gets cooler.
Tip: Opt for cushions and fabrics deigned for outdoor use to prevent unwanted fading from the sun.
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