Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

View Video

Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

View Slideshow

Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

See More

DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

View Slideshow

Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

View Slideshow

8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

View Video

Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

View Video
Popular in Home Improvement

No-Fail Porch Decorating Tips

Need to boost the design chops of your outdoor spaces? Try these expert ideas for decorating porches.

When James Farmer finished his first book, A Time to Plant, he didn't dive into a flower or garden design for his follow up. Instead, he took what he says is the logical next step and wrote about decorating porches. "A porch is part garden, part house -- a hybrid really," says Farmer, author of Porch Living and a designer. "A porch is also my favorite room of the house."

Farmer loves the relaxed tone found when hosting and entertaining on a porch, but all too often he sees clients who are nervous about those transitional indoor-outdoor design choices. "What I tell clients or friends is that the best dish a host can serve is confidence," Farmer says. "If your porch isn't perfect, but you are confident and have fun with it, when you serve, guests will be very comfortable."

Here are Farmer's 6 tips for decorating porches you'll love:

1. Ask yourself, "What is my porch for?" That's the springboard for everything: Is it an outdoor living room or dining room, or is it a spot for a TV and weekly football watching? "Just because it's a porch doesn't mean it has to have rocking chairs," he says.

2. Envision your porch as a tabletop. Because a porch is a middle ground between garden and outdoors, it's often an afterthought -- an unfortunate mistake, Farmer says. "A porch is the first and last impression people have of a home."

He gives clients this visual: Think of a porch like a tabletop. "We eat with our eyes first," says Farmer. "You want to see it visually, so before you take the first bite, you see a beautiful table and you're already starting to be satisfied. To have a porch that is visually appealing, it must stimulate all the senses."

3. Invite the senses in. Speaking of senses, decorating porches means providing things to taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. That may translate into a tabletop fountain, textural fabrics, bright patterns, fragrant flowers, or even painted pots. Watch the video below to see how to do this simple DIY project.

Painted Flower Pots that Last

4. Don't forget the garden. Porches are also the perfect place to display plant collections, even if it's just houseplants taking a break from the indoors. Shade-lovers such as newer varieties of ferns love the covered space on a porch, Farmer says. He favors tropical-loving blooms that relish in his native Southern climate. "You can grow a plant collection that you don't necessary have all the time," he says.


5. Explore the power of paint. Sure, a porch may not have traditional walls to decorate, but it does have a ceiling and floor that need tending. Farmer's favorite porch ceiling decorating trick is to paint the surface an old-fashion blue for a little pop. "A porch ceiling is great place for character and personality," he says. Another trick: Take a shutter or trim color and go a shade darker or lighter. Or, paint the floorboards that same color.


6. Change it up. Farmer uses his porch as an extension of his dining room and swaps out its decor based on the season. That's why he advocates decorating porches with a neutral foundation of furniture that can be built on and adjusted. Come winter, for example, your linen-covered couch may get an accent with a Christmas tree, while in spring there might be brightly colored pillows or even a shift in artwork. "If you have a statement piece with clean lines, you can change the personality and feel of a porch with something as simple as a few pillows," he says.


Loading... Please wait...