Budget Holiday Porch Makeover

By reusing lanterns, baskets and affordable greenery, a Georgia porch gets a festive update for under $50.

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

Photo By: Photo by Lori Johnston

After: The Porch

After: The result is a budget-friendly holiday makeover that's a bit reminiscent of a Currier and Ives print. The garland, wreath and swags ended up at just under $35. We used icicle lights and lanterns we already owned. An important factor for us: The porch still doesn't feel cluttered.

Before: The Porch

Before: The wide front porch of our Craftsman-style home in Georgia offers many places for lights, swags, wreaths and garland. My friend Ashley Aquino helped me create a holiday style that fit my classic, uncluttered design preferences.

After: The Wreath

After: A fresh Fraser fir wreath came with pine cones, which we also used inside. The wreath has the same mix of greenery as the swags but instead of a red ribbon, Ashley Aquino snipped a piece of wide brown ribbon (used inside the home) to loop around the wreath. A clear Command Hook holds the wreath on the glass, and the ribbon is simply taped at the top of the door.

After: The Door

After: Garland frames the glass-front door and sidelights. To make it heavy enough to have an impact at the front door, our friend and decorator Ashley Aquino combined two white pine garlands, and wrapped lights around the greenery. Three nails at the top of the door frame hold the garland in place.

After: The Garland

After: To add more depth to the garland, our friend and decorator, Ashley Aquino, inserted stems of free tree boughs she picked up at the garden center. We like the imperfect, casual look to the garland framing the door.

Before: The Stairs

Before: The blank stairway beckoned for something to light the way.

After: The Stairs

After: The home is all aglow, just in time for an intimate Christmas party. Lanterns taken from my side porch and bedroom, light the way for guests. A strand of lights we used last year are wrapped around a fresh white pine garland. The icicle lights were reused from last year.

Before: The Stair Posts

Before: These stair posts have held pumpkins during the fall but we wanted to dress them up for the holidays.

After: The Stair Posts

After: We thought about placing the swags on the pillars above, or under the sconces at the front door. Ultimately Ashley Aquino, a friend who loves decorating, decided the front steps needed color. We liked the mix of greenery and texture in these swags.

After: The Stair Posts

After: I'm a lantern collector, with both new and vintage pieces. The holidays give me a time to use the lanterns to light the stairs.

Before: The Table

Before: The table is a sunny spot for eating, reading and working, but in need of a winter-themed centerpiece.

After: The Table

After: Pomegranates have a wonderful wintery red hue, placed among clementines and free greenery from Lowe's in a wire basket (taken from a shelf in my dining room) The basket's design connects with the chairs on both sides of a granite-top patio table. We spent $10 on the fruit but will enjoy eating it.

Before: The Bench and the Plant Stand

Before: One side of the porch features a bench with outdoor pillows. I recently added the white table, which is a piano stool my in-laws owned.

After: The Bench

After: Although there wasn't room in the budget for new outdoor holiday pillows, Ashley Aquino turned the bench into a catty-corner position, since there was room on the deep front porch. The piano stool-turned-plant stand now has a reused basket with free greenery and existing decorative balls.

After: The Plant Stand

After: The antique piano stool-turned-plant stand typically holds a container plant. For Christmas we used one our existing baskets and filled it with fallen Christmas tree branches picked up for free at a big box home store. We tore the boughs to stick out of the basket at about the same height. Decorative balls that I use inside throughout the year were added to cover where the branches crisscrossed, and to add cream and brown to the display.