6 Steps to a Budget-Friendly Porch Makeover

If you're lucky enough to have a front porch, you may think of it mostly as a repository of muddy shoes, cobwebs, and chipped paint—a far cry from the relaxing retreat, complete with a porch swing and pitcher of lemonade, that you had imagined it would be. Luckily, there are ways to give your outdoor space a much-needed spruce up without overspending. These 6 easy steps are all you need to get started on a better, brighter—and cleaner!—front porch. (Lemonade not included.)

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  1. Let It Go

    Porch_makeover_-_declutter

    Take everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—off the porch and, except for actual dirt or garbage, put it all in a pile off to the side. You don’t want to get distracted by going through possessions now; you can decide what to keep and what to toss later.


    Related:  Top 10 Clutter Hot Spots—and Quick Tips for Tackling Them

    flickr.com, via Sonja Lovas

  2. Sweep It Up, Then Scrub It Down

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    Dust everything from floor to ceiling with an extended-handle duster (you may want to cover your hair and wear a dust mask). Suck up any remaining debris with a vacuum, using the extension hose and crevice tool for nooks and crannies. Then, sweep and vacuum the entire floor. Next, remove and hose down the window screens. With a sponge and hot, soapy water, wash the walls, sills, doors, and frames, and mop the floor. Wash exterior walls too. If the porch is really dirty, pressure-washing may be necessary.


    Related:  21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally

    fotosearch.com

  3. Make It Pop

    Colorful_porch

    Paint is the easiest way to boost porch curb appeal. Prime and paint the walls with a high-quality paint, and use a porch-and-patio paint for the floors. Get creative; paint is a quick and inexpensive fix, so have fun with your color scheme and don’t be afraid to experiment—trust your eye and your intuition!


    Related:  Before and After: DIY Facelifts for 8 Home Exteriors

    flickr.com, via Nancy Waldman

  4. Give It Personality

    Porch_shopping

    Now it’s time to discard any damaged furniture, toss that smelly welcome mat, donate your dated accessories, and move on to the next step—shopping! If you’re on a tight budget, consider browsing the aisles of off-price retailers, scouring local yard sales, or even repurposing items from your own home to find rugs, mirrors, throw pillows, and other decorative details that will make your porch feel welcoming.


    Related:  Beyond Ikea: 10 Other Places to Get Affordable Furniture

    fotosearch.com

  5. Light It Up

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    Beautiful and low-cost lighting options abound—you’re limited only by your imagination (and, perhaps, your electrical wiring). Looking for cozy and rustic? Go with the warm glow of lamps. Functional and sleek? Consider recessed or track lighting. If you’re into retro or urban chic, you might want to choose bare filament-bulb pendants. And if elegance is what you’re after, nothing says it better than a chandelier.


    Related:  11 Eye-Popping Chandeliers Made from the Everyday

    flickr.com via Rich Brooks

  6. Cool It Down

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    For enclosed porches, adding AC is a no-brainer. If you don’t have the wiring or ductwork for central air and don’t want a clunky window unit, consider a portable style. For screened or open porches, ceiling fans work wonders. As temps fall, consider a hanging halogen heater, an electric patio heater, or even a cute—okay, kitschy—mini fireplace heater.


    Related:  7 Tricks for Keeping Cool Without AC

    flickr.com, via Carrie Qualters

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