6 Fast Ways to Get Your Porch Ready for Fall

published Sep 7, 2021
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Autumn is coming, y’all … and now that my toddler is getting old enough to actually *notice* things, that means one thing. I want to pull out allllll the stops to give him a magical, dare I say “pumpkin-spiced” fall experience where we live in Colorado — starting with the front porch.

Let’s get real for a moment: I practically ignore this part of our house for 10 months of the year. And most days, our curb appeal is more “eek” than “aaah.” But there’s something about autumn, with its fresh crispness in the air, and wafts of cinnamon and butter in our kitchen, that has me longing to haul out the proverbial welcome mat in the form of gorgeous gourds aplenty (even if the squirrels think I’m laying out a buffet, just for them). 

To figure out what exactly I need to do to make my front porch as “Martha-worthy” as possible, I turned to the pro designers — and rounded up a few fun purchases to up our seasonal game, in just a few easy clicks.  

Credit: Jackie Robbins

Keep blankets handy

Michael Winn, father of an 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter and owner of Winn Design + Build, recently completed a front porch that embraces fall colors from the red front door to the red furniture cushions, with rustic finishes like slate floors that juxtapose nicely against autumn’s yellows and oranges. But his best tip might just be what you can’t see: “The ottoman and bench by the door offer storage for extra pillows and throws,” he says. Just call him the king of cozy. In amber, this washable weighted blanket has major pumpkin vibes and is just the kind of thing I’d want to curl up in with my kiddo. 

Credit: Jackie Robbins

Roll out the (fall-themed) carpet

Maria Fanjul, architectural designer at Maryland-based firm Anthony Wilder Design/Build, says outdoor carpets are a key way to add color — and can be quickly swapped for other hues with the next change in season. “Consider coordinating a rug, pillows, and a garden stool with neutral furniture — that way, you can change the colors to go with the seasons and stay within a budget.” I’d lay instant “hygge” underfoot on our patio with this outdoor rug from Wayfair, which looks like it was unearthed in a Moroccan flea market. 

Add earthy texture with pumpkins

Sure, it sounds obvious, but the more varietals and colors of pumpkins you employ in your Halloween-y decor, the better, says Stephanie Lindsey, a mother of three kids — a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and 10-month-old — and designer at Etch Design Group. “Fall is all about coziness about welcoming people back to the home, and the best way to achieve a look that invites guests to gather is to keep it simple,” she says. “Use natural elements like pumpkins and display them at varying heights. There are so many varieties, that it’s easy to choose colors that pop against your door and exterior hue.” 

But you don’t want your place to turn into an actual pumpkin patch. “Our approach to decorating for the season is to do so in a way that is less literal and more about adding warmth without detracting from the existing decor,” says Kirsten Krason, mother of four (12, 9, 5, and 3) and principal designer from House of Jade Interiors. “For a front porch we recently designed, we layered greenery, fall florals, and varying squash vegetables that are quintessential to the season. Because we didn’t want to be too literal with the decor, we just used a select few of the pumpkins and gourds, sprinkling them around the potted plants to help lead the front porch from summer into fall.” 

Credit: Kip Dawkins

Create a cozy seating area

Interior designer Josh Hildreth recently whipped up a welcoming outdoor lounge on an Arlington, Virginia front porch that invites conversation — especially when you add hot toddies (and mulled cider for the little ones). “We addressed the change of the seasons from summer to fall by including a floor lamp that would provide plenty of lighting as the evening fell earlier in the day,” he says. 

Credit: Jackie Robbins

Wow with a wreath

“To add more autumn colors and decor, add a seasonal, colorful wreath to the front door,” Fanjul says of the presto-change-o upgrade. I always think the prettiest seasonal versions are homemade and hand-crafted, but if you’re short on time (who isn’t?) my pick is this pumpkin and fall-leaf laden new wreath from Williams-Sonoma

Credit: Jackie Robbins

Light the night

Add a bit of pixie-dusted magic to your facade by lining your steps or walkway with lanterns, Fanjul says. “Overhead lighting and a wall sconce by the door, as well as lanterns along the steps provide perfect lighting as daylight gets shorter.” I love long-lasting, warm LED options. Try this solar-powered number from Bed Bath & Beyond for a hand-hewn luck with a snug glow.