Spectacular Holiday Porch Decorating Design Ideas
The holiday season is almost upon us. According to most stores, it’s been upon us for some time. If you are ahead of schedule, or you just enjoy the holidays, you might already have your house decorated.
However, many of us are wondering how to pull together a cozy, inviting, and festive look that won’t break the budget and goes beyond garland, lights or blow-up figures on your front lawn.
Don’t get me wrong. Blow up figures and strings of lights are the things most kids look forward to. If that is the look you want, that is great! You will probably have families driving by in order to give the kids a little visual treat.
Some of the winter decor looks bland in the daylight, leaving many of us wishing we had an eye for design. Or, wondering how we could make an impact like a magazine cover.
Instead of concluding you can’t do it since you don’t have a huge budget and a team of professional designers, why not take a little design lesson and give it a try? You will probably be happy every time to you come home and see your very own creations welcoming you back.
Steps for Holiday Porch Decorating
Step 1: Gather Information
Every good designer – this applies to gardeners too – look at pictures for inspiration. The key to making this activity work for you and not turn into a discontentment fest is to focus on the elements of the design that especially speak to you rather than trying to achieve the exact look you’re seeing on the cover of a magazine.
If a photo of a porch overhang dripping with garland and gold ornaments is calling to you, but you don’t have a porch overhang, ask yourself if it’s because you want a porch overhang or is it something else?
Do you like the look of greenery and gold? Maybe it’s the negative space created by the well-placed sprigs of greenery cascading down. If you can’t answer the question, don’t fear. Why not gather several photos of what you love and look for a common theme.
Hint: the more edited your collection of inspiration photos is, the easier it will be to tell what you really like. Edit down to your favorite 5 or 3 and then take a careful look.
Step 2: Know the Basics of Design
These rules apply to any visual design. Once you see these and can identify them, you are on your way to creating something spectacular only you can make.
Five of the most common principles of design are:
Everyone knows what a shape is, but the reality is, sometimes shape is ignored. There’s a good reason a nice cone-shaped Christmas tree looks smart with packages underneath that are all square or rectangle. It makes sense to the eye
In a design that catches your eye, you might be responding to texture as much as anything. Often designers will make all elements in a design the same color, but vary the texture to add visual interest.
Of course, many of us love Christmas colors, but why does that red and green send such strong signals to our brains? Red and green are opposites on the color wheel. They bounce off of each other, visually, to create a nice harmony of disharmonies. But you could go the other way and choose many hues of green together instead. It is pleasing to the eye.
This is a more subtle concept that, if you can understand, will leave other designs in the dust. The hue of a color is what we most often think of – is it candy apple red or pomegranate red?
However, the relative values of colors on the grayscale is what makes for visual interest in design. Chances are, if you made a black and white photocopy of the photo that is speaking to you, you would see a lot of contrast (values ranging from almost black to mostly white) rather than a gray blur.
That is why bold red and bold green (both relatively the same value) are enhanced when you add a pop of white or black tri, or a bit of sparkle. The eye has more of interest when there is more variation of value.
This is another next-level design tip. Positive space and negative space are everything in 3D design. In addition, it is relatively easy to achieve.
Positive space is the area taken up by the thing itself, right? Negative space is all the space around the thing. Any object creates both things for the eye to see.
We often “notice” the positive space but don’t realize we’re reacting just as positively to the negative space. A wreath is a good example. The circle of greenery or berries or sparkly ornaments is great.
However, without the hole in the middle, it would just be a blob. The hole in the middle is what makes a wreath in instant design win because it creates great positive and negative space.
Step 3: Go For It
You may be thinking, what do I do with all of that information? Why not give it a try?
Find something you really like and try to copy it. Take a picture to remind yourself and do better next year. Most of all – have fun! Below are design ideas for beautiful porch decor. Maybe they can help jumpstart your process.
Holiday Porch Decorating Ideas
Groups of Things
Sometimes the best design idea is to group like things together. It makes everything simpler. You can group things like:
- Potted trees and cut Christmas trees. Live plants are always your best bet for outdoors. If you vary the sizes and relative heights of the trees by using your porch steps or crates or even a vintage chair, you will instantly add interesting shape without having to decorate one inch of your trees. You might even find the bare green branches have a lovely, Scandinavian appeal.
- Crafted Trees. Crafted trees made from almost anything – wire, twine, rope or yarn wrapped around a cone shape; ornaments glued to a cone shape, or foam cones spray-painted with glitter. Go for an old-time feel with burlap, rope or twine or a use glitter for a tinsel look.
- Plastic Decorations. Even groups of inexpensive plastic Santas at different heights could look cute. You could dumpster-dive for discarded deer lawn ornaments and spray them all white. Look for different sizes and shapes. Instant design!
- Wreath Collections. If you have a large blank wall, consider doing a wreath collection – different sizes and shapes of wreaths arranged random-looking pattern. Just make sure the wreaths are unified by color.
You can never go wrong with greenery.
- Of course, wrapping garland and lights around porch columns and railings, doors and windows, is classic. You can never go wrong with that. Greens can be arranged to spill out of window boxes, planters, baskets, crates, galvanized tin buckets, and watering cans – anything you can think of.
- Pick two or three elements to do everywhere – like greenery, red ribbon, and candles. Instantly you will have a pulled-together look without having to think about it too much. English Ivy in pots, garlands on the railings, planters filled with small evergreens – all trimmed with big red ribbons and surrounded by tall white pillar candles in lanterns. Just make sure the heights are varied and voila!
Props Can Add a Special Touch
Let’s say you have your basic backdrop of greenery and lights set. You know how you do this simple decor every year and you want to add more. Sometimes a few well-placed props or elements can add that eye-catching and unforgettable flavor.
- Typography: One big word cut out in black or white can pack a visual punch as well as convey a message to visitors: Joy, Blessing, Noel, Peace, you name it. Or, put out a blackboard with a typographical design with your trees and lights. It is sure to welcome people in.
- Vintage: Use vintage signs, buckets, watering cans, sleds, or ice skates. Almost anything can be used as a backdrop for a nostalgic design if it’s vintage. Just make sure to edit. Don’t throw the entire contents of the local antique store on your front porch. You still have to pay attention to color, shape, space, value, and texture. Most of the time, less is more.
- Wood looks great: Stacks of firewood inside a wood crate, with cut ends showing, wood pallet stars draped with battery-operated LED lights, stick stars grouped together in different sizes. Bare branches – with or without lights to form an arch over your doorway or stick them straight up in two big pots could create a great impact.
- Fabric: If your weather is nice enough to leave fabric out on your porch, you could put pillows, plaid blankets, quilts, fabric or ribbon bunting or anything else you can dream up.
Use a few basic elements of design to create your own holiday decor on your front porch. With all the colors and textures out there and a little know-how, you can have a swoon-worthy house this holiday season.
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