You don’t have to be selling your cottage to create the front porch or entranceway of your dreams, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive undertaking. With a little bit of imagination, you can transform any space into an inviting place that your friends and family may never want to leave.
To create a relaxing and cozy vibe, focus on all the senses. Think colour, texture, lighting, and scents. Whether your space is big or small, keep the following tips in mind when you design your entranceway will lay the foundation for an inviting space.
Start with the pathway
What can be more inviting than a pathway that’s dotted with brightly coloured bushes and bordered with plants that give off a lovely vanilla or citrus scent when brushed? At night, bushes that glow with mini lights and a meandering pathway invite guests to explore. Use wildflowers and native plants, and scatter mini lights between the plants and the path. For the path itself, use flagstone for the pavers, with moss growing between them.
Look at the walls
In a lot of cases, walls will benefit from a good power washing—you’ll be surprised what a good cleaning will do. And don’t under estimate the power of paint chipping off your cedar shingles to create a cool vintage effect, especially if you don’t have the money to repaint this year.
Other options to bring walls to life include letting plants cascade down the walls instead of planting traditional climbers like ivy. And for a finishing touch, antique windowpanes make great dividers, wall decorations, and planters.
Focus on the floor
If you want your space to be cozy and warm, think “under foot.” Soft textures that take away from the harshness of wood or concrete will transform the space, and they don’t have to be expensive. For example, to create a durable outdoor rug, find old pieces of vinyl, flip them over, and paint the underside. You could also paint or stencil directly onto the floor, or allow the climbing plants to spread across the porch.
This is where the fun begins! Not only is it inexpensive to change your throw pillows, but you can also add as much colour as you want without making drastic changes to the house or surrounding landscape. For furniture, add a bench or some comfy Muskoka chairs. Get crazy and paint the chairs—you can always sand them down if you don’t like the colour. To make a shady space pop, try using bright colours like yellows, purple or teal. Choose shiny fabrics to reflect more light, or for more of a warm and cozy look, use pastel colours, throw pillows, or blankets in soft fabrics.
You can also make a table using old tree stumps of different heights. Leave them as is, or you can paint or whitewash them. For a porch swing, use an old pallet or old garden chairs with the legs removed. And instead of a vase or a large planter, hollow out an old tree stump and stuff it with your favourite flowers, grasses, or moss.
Nothing will make your space come alive like lighting. There are plenty of options for entranceways, but try to focus on ambiance rather than security. Low-voltage lighting or solar-powered mini lights give off just enough light to make this space the most welcoming spot at the cottage—without creating any unwanted light pollution.
For a crafty approach, you can make your own mini light covers. If your porch is covered, use tissue paper flowers to go over the mini lights. Or you can use small tin cans with holes punched in them. Another option is to use flameless candles wrapped in banana leaves, twigs, paper, or fabric.
You don’t have to be a designer to knock off a designer look. Imagine your porch as an extension of your cottage, and with some creativity and imagination you can have the outside looking as great at the inside (maybe even better).
Jennifer George is a certified staging professional and owner of Curbed Appeal. She has more than 10 years’ experience working in the interior and landscaping design industry.