When this Fox Valley homeowner decided to add a porch onto her house, she knew that it was a case of go big or go home.
"I didn't want it to be so narrow that we were falling off the front into the bushes," she explains. "Our architect, Dan Marshall, really worked with us to make sure the porch roof looked right with the house and things like that."
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With beautiful design elements such as a bluestone floor and a ceiling painted light blue in the Southern tradition, the wide, welcoming space serves as an outdoor room and a gateway to the ample entryway just inside the front door. "We live on the porch; we really enjoy it," the homeowner says. "As long as the weather is good, we're out there with our dog."
Enjoyed by human and canine alike, the porch lends itself nicely to seasonal decorating thanks to black wicker furniture with buffalo-check cushions and other neutral furnishings. Through the front door, the entryway features light yellow walls and vintage-feel furnishings that make it similarly easy to make over on a whim. Armed with creative summer style inspiration, Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad, Debbie Plantery and Nancy Borsodi helped the homeowner add some pattern and panache to the porch and entryway. "The areas already had some crossover elements, such as black and red pieces and checked patterns," Enstad notes. "That made it easy to tie the two together with some fun summer accents."
Read on for 19 bright ideas to help you reinvent your indoor and outdoor spaces for the season.
1. Feel clucky. Repeat a room's palette anywhere you think it works -- for instance, this chicken lamp continues the black, red and white color scheme found on the porch and in the entryway. For more whimsy, hot glue wide ribbon around the bottom of the lamp shade; this button-adorned red burlap is also seen on the chair cushions in the home. "For a more summery look, you could also glue silk daisies around the shade," Borsodi says.
2. Check it out. Add visual oomph to an accent lamp or other tabletop display by setting it on top of a checkerboard; here, the game board echoes the red buffalo-check upholstery on a nearby chair. Spread the checkers around the board to give it an extra decorative touch.
A cherry on top
3. Sweeten the deal. Create a recurring theme throughout your porch seating area by picking a summer icon and working it into your decor. Here, cheery cherry-covered pillows look perfect on the black-and-white checked cushions and infuse the area with their sweet style.
4. Tie one on. Use ribbon that matches or coordinates with your pillows to dress up other items, such as a lemonade dispenser or shoo-fly screens. "Just tying on a little bit of ribbon will instantly add charm to an accessory," Enstad says. "Enhance flowerpots wreaths, chairs -- anything you can think of!"
5. Drink it in. To further repeat the cherry motif, the stylists placed the same fabric as on the pillows in the lids of some canning jars, which they had punched holes through to create drinking vessels.
6. Bottle that feeling. The porch is the perfect spot to highlight the current canning-jar craze -- on the bottom of the coffee table, new emerald green Ball jars serve as candleholders behind an adorable garland made of notecards.
7. Take your plates. Retask a floor-set plate rack with hosting a variety of wood signs, such as the summer-, porch-, home- and life-themed placards the stylists put in the rack resting near the front door. Signs can change for the season, and you won't have to put any holes in your walls.
8. Be daring. Channel your creative daredevil and do something utterly unexpected on the porch -- for example, the stylists hung this pot rack from the ceiling and used it to stylishly showcase a birdhouse, a watering can and a summery bouquet.
9. Have a heart. Announce your love of country to anyone who enters with Americana front-door decor, such as this berry wreath featuring a painted heart.
10. Roll out the welcome mat. You can also draw interest to ground level with a doormat featuring summery graphics.
11. Hang around. Bring a dose of the outdoors inside with a unique wall accent made by attaching towel rings to a garden fence. "Choose interesting dark hardware to stand out against a white fence," Enstad suggests. "And, be imaginative with how you display your accessories on it. This quilted wall hanging looks great fanned out instead of just folded."
12. Circle up. Repeat the circle pattern found in the wreath and the towel rings with another roundabout piece, such as this clock on a wood pedestal.
13. Put a cork in it. Turn candlesticks into photograph displays by placing a cork in lieu of a taper and inserting a wire picture holder. Gather them in a red basket on a stenciled place mat for a fun grouping.
14. Put your game face on. Set up a small chessboard table to encourage folks to sit and enjoy an underused spot. The unique chess set seen here was made out of nuts and bolts by the homeowners' son and a friend.
15. Play the field. Continue a fun-and-games attitude with appropriate wall art, such as these wood dominoes that suit both the theme and the color scheme.
16. Mount up. "Bring some of the outdoors inside by mounting a birdhouse on an old window," Plantery suggests. For a similar look on an adjacent wall, loop a metal calendar's chain over a wood shelf hung by its feet and adorned with a star.
17. Get a little rusty. Work in a few rustic or distressed furnishings, such as this two-door sideboard, to contrast more refined finishes and keep a space interesting.
18. Go between. Separate accessories from the furniture they're resting on by spreading a runner beneath them; here, a red cloth helps a rooster-topped cow and a graphic bucket stand out against the yellow wall.
19. Stay together. Whether it's mail or keys, the entry is often prone to clutter. Outfit a metal rack with colorful baskets to help contain the visual commotion.