Let It Go
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
Sweep It Up, Then Scrub It Down
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
Make It Pop
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
Give It Personality
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
Light It Up
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
Cool It Down
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
For more about budget-friendly outdoor upgrades, consider:
10 Inventive Ideas for a Perfect Porch
8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio
13 DIY Lanterns to Illuminate Your Porch, Patio, or Garden
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!