Summer is here and it's time to start thinking about ways to spruce up your front porch so you can get out there and enjoy it during the long, summer days ahead.

Spring Clean for Summer

Before you go on a decorating spree, take some time to clean and prep your porch for the summer season. This quick checklist will get you started so you have a clean slate on which to decorate!

•  Sweep it free of cobwebs and debris that may have accumulated over the winter.

•  Check to see if there are any loose boards or railings that need to be repaired or replaced.

•  Wash the porch with soap and water or deck cleaner, depending on its condition and materials.

•  Give it a coat of paint or stain if it is peeling or faded.

•  Clean up the landscaping around the porch. Prune trees and shrubs, cut back native grasses or dead stems you may have left up over the winter. Add mulch around plantings or around the edges of the porch to give it a clean, fresh look.

•  Prep porch furniture by giving it a good cleaning, replacing faded cushions, or adding a fresh coat of paint or stain.

Five Summer Porch Ideas For Any Home and Any Budget

Porches come in all shapes and sizes. They may be located at the front of the house, the side, or the back. Some are covered, some are not. Some are screened-in, some are open-sided. Some wrap around the entire home, others can't hold more than a rocking chair or two. Whatever the size or shape of your porch, you should make the most of it. Outdoor rooms and outdoor seating are in high demand with homeowners; show yours off!

A clean and welcoming porch instantly boosts curb appeal and invites the family to enjoy time outdoors. It encourages neighborhood camaraderie and creates a welcome sight when you come home after a long day at work. We especially notice our porches during the summer, when it's actually light enough to see the house in the morning when we leave for work and in the evening when we come home. It's also easier to ignore porches during winter when everything is covered in snow or looks blah. But now that summer is here, you no longer have those excuses to ignore your porch!

Here are five ways to spruce it up for summer scrutiny: Dress it up with planters.

Summer is a time for colors and greenery. Add some planters to add color to your porch. Even one or two planters is enough to enhance the area. If you're short on floorspace, install some hooks and hang some baskets. If you have wide steps place planters on them to save room for seating on the porch. Window boxes can be added to railings to keep planters off the floor, but still add color too.

Welcome guests with door mats or rugs.

Door mats are functional, helping to keep dirt and debris out of the house, but they can be decorative too. Mats and rugs can be used to add character to a porch and make it feel more like a room than an entryway. Today's selection of outdoor rugs is impressive, full of colors and patterns to meet any décor and constructed with easy-clean, easy-care materials that are weather-resistant.

Sit a spell with comfortable seating.

A porch isn't complete without a place to sit down and relax. Rocking chairs and porch swings are classic additions to porches, but Adirondack chairs and wicker or faux-wicker patio sets are also very popular. It all depends on how much space you have. Two chairs, angled towards on another can invite cozy conversations, while a patio loveseat, chairs, and coffee table invite larger gatherings. Don't pass on the fun and bright summertime colors either! You'll find patio sets, cushions, and chairs in every color of the rainbow, which can really brighten up the space and ease décor challenges.

Embrace red, white, and blue.

Summer starts with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day and we've got the 4th of July tossed in there right in the middle. Is it any wonder so many summer porch ideas center around red, white, and blue? From pots and planters to flower colors, cushions and seat colors, throw pillows, and rugs there is no end to the possibilities. Go full-on Americana for the entire porch or keep it simple with a hanging basket or planter full of red, white, and blue flowers.

Keep it light, bright, comfortable.

Summer is all about enticing us to be outside. So, keep your porch light, bright, and comfortable to encourage use. A classic white porch will show off brightly colored plants and seating best, but if you have a dark porch, you can offset the darkness with light colored flowers, seating and rugs. Use string lights, fairly lights, or white Christmas lights to brighten the area and encourage use in the evening. Hang them from hooks installed in the ceiling, or use zip-ties to secure them to railings.

We hope your porch is ready for summer, but if it's not, contact us to learn about our exterior home design services so you are ready for next year! Call 847-357-9607 or contact us online to arrange a free, on-site consultation.