Summer porch decor – 12 ways to add life to your home exterior

Use summer porch decor to bring color and fun to your home's exterior all season long

porch with a garden
(Image credit: Proven Winners)

Now is the time to start thinking about you summer porch decor. The spring frosts are gone, which makes it the perfect time for planting annuals, and the stretching daylight begs for more time spent outdoors.

Depending on the size of your porch, the front porch ideas that make the most sense for your home might be purely decorative--think a front door wreath and a pretty hanging basket. Or, they could be more functional, like a set of rocking chairs for enjoying the evening sunset, or a dining area so you can take family dinners outside.

Whatever type of decor you're looking for, we've got an idea for it, below. 

Summer porch decor - Ideas for a fun and functional space

It's officially outdoor living season and there's no need to relegate your summer decor ideas to the indoors! Looking for small front porch ideas that add curb appeal? Or a way to maximize space on your back porch? Keep reading. 

1. Hang a porch swing

front porch with a swing

(Image credit: The Fox Group / Scott Zimmerman)

There's something so charming and nostalgic about a porch swing. It's the ultimate way to waste away summer afternoon (just add a good book and a glass of lemonade). And, if you take design cues from the version above, by The Fox Group, your swing can also be a major decorative feature on your front porch. 

Get the look by choosing cushions in a bright print that evokes a summer lifestyle, like these awning stripes that feel both nautical and Mediterranean. 

2. Plant a flower basket

flower basket hanging from a front porch

(Image credit: Proven Winners)

Flower baskets are the quintessential summer porch decor, and they work for porches of all sizes. If you have a small front porch, flank your front door with one hanging basket on each side. Or, if you have a larger porch that spans the front or back of your home, hang a basket every few feet for a lush and fragrant summer display. 

'The best summer hanging baskets mix trailing flowers with mounding and upright varietals to give that coveted full, layered look,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor of Period Living and one of Homes & Gardens go-to gardening experts. 'Flowers like petunias, geraniums and trailing verbena are some of the best flowers for hanging baskets. Of course, you'll also want to pay attention to how much sunlight your porch gets throughout the day, to ensure you're choosing the right plants.'

3. Turn your porch into an outdoor living area

porch with sofa

(Image credit: Jessica Risko Smith / Caitlin Atkinson)

If you're lucky enough to own a large, wraparound or rocking chair-style porch, take advantage of the outdoor space by adding an al fresco outdoor living room and dining area. To help zone off each area, ground the living furniture with a large outdoor rug, seen above at a home by designer Jessica Risko Smith

4. Break out the red, white, and blue

memorial day porch decor

(Image credit: Grandin Road)

If you have a front porch, it's almost a requisite to decorate it in full Americana during the summer, especially as part of your Memorial Day decorating ideas and over the Fourth of July.

For a classic, all-American look, hang flag bunting from the front railings or ceiling of you porch, or wrap columns and beams in flag banners. 

5. Plant topiaries in colorful planters

front porch with dining area

(Image credit: The Fox Group / Scott Zimmerman)

Planting a bunch of annuals isn't the only way to bring color to your front porch. If you prefer a simpler color palette for the front of your home, or you're looking for a more low-maintenance planter idea, plant boxwood topiary in colorful planters, like The Fox Group did, above. It'll add a bright spot to your front porch all summer (and all year round, too). 

6. Use multi-purpose furniture

back porch overlooking water

(Image credit: Jenny Reimold)

Get the most life from your porch by including flexible furniture options that can serve different purposes depending on your needs, like outdoor poufs, cocktail tables, and storage benches. 

'Outdoor poufs are a multipurpose must-have for any outdoor space,' says Jenny Reimold, interior stylist and HomeGoods style expert. 'They are sturdy and comfortable as an extra seat, footrest for an outdoor sofa or chair and can be instantly transformed into a side table when topped with a tray for food or drinks at a Fourth of July party.'

7. Plant a low-maintenance garden

front porch surrounded by gardens

(Image credit: Proven Winners)

Frame your porch with a beautiful, low-maintenance garden that will add color to the front of your home throughout the summer season.

If your home's exterior gets lots of sunlight and you have the space for it, choose a mounding flower, like Proven Winners' Diamond Mountain Euphorbia Hybrid. This hardy flower is both heat- and deer-resistant, it's continuous blooming, and it doesn't need deadheading. 

8. Switch out your door mat

front porch with green doormat

(Image credit: Frontgate)

There's a good chance that, after a winter spent getting pummeled with muddy boots, snow drifts, and freezing temperatures, your door mat is looking a little worse for the wear. Give your front porch an inexpensive but effective upgrade by simply swapping your dingy mat for a new one.

For an extra-cheerful summer pop, choose a colorful door mat that plays up your planter box ideas.

9. Create a planter vignette

porch with a garden

(Image credit: Proven Winners)

Instead of a single planter by the door, up the visual impact with a layered planter vignette. To create a look like this one, choose planters in varying heights and shapes, and fill each one with just one or two types of flowers to create a graphic design. Keep the look cohesive with planters in a similar color or material.  

10. Pile on the textiles

porch at sunset

(Image credit: Homegoods / Jenny Reimold / Evin Photography)

Summer is the season where your porch will get the most use, and adding in pattern and texture enhances the sense that your outdoor space is an extension of the indoors. Outdoor poufs, pillows, and rugs are both functional and decorative, so use these items as a chance to add some style to your home exterior.

11. Create a modern scheme

modern front porch

(Image credit: Rejuvenation)

Traditional porch rocking chairs and overflowing, colorful hanging baskets can clash with home architecture that is more modern or minimalist, so if your home is more contemporary, look for front porch decor that suits its unique aesthetic. 

Streamlined planters in varying heights, filled with seasonal greenery are a beautiful and symbiotic accent for modern front porches, as are contemporary outdoor furnishings.

12. Don't forget the rocking chairs

rocking chairs on a front porch

(Image credit: Trex)

If you're stuck in analysis paralysis over the type of furniture to add to your summer front porch, know that rocking chairs are always a good idea. There's a reason it's called a rocking chair porch, after all. Choose classic wood rockers, or upgrade for a Polywood version that's virtually weatherproof. 

How do I make my porch more colorful for summer?

The summer season is synonymous with color, so it's natural to want to create a bright front porch for the season. Luckily, there are lots of ways to incorporate color into your front porch decor.

  • Use colorful furniture: If your front porch is large enough for a seating area or even a few rocking chairs, your furniture is a great spot to start with incorporating color. Choose brightly colored chair cushions, patterned throw pillows, or multi-hued rugs to add plenty of pop to the porch.
  • Flowers: Flowers are another must for a colorful porch. Whether you go with hanging baskets, window boxes, or planters and urns, find flowers in your favorite colors, or stick within a color scheme for a more formal look.
  • Wreaths. A front door wreath isn't just for the holidays. Find one embellished with faux florals, or add ribbon to a simple boxwood wreath to add a bright spot to the front door.
  • Flags and doormats. An easy way to add color to the porch is with flags and door mats. Swapping out these two elements for brightly colored versions will set a seasonal scene. 

What are the best summer flowers for a porch? 

The flowers you choose to decorate your summer porch should first and foremost be suited to your plant hardiness zone and the level of sun your porch gets each day.

Some good partial sun options that pack a lot of color and work in a range of climates include:

  • Ivy Geraniums
  • Begonias
  • Impatiens
  • Pansies

Popular full-sun choices include:

  • Zinnias
  • Lisianthus
  • Poppies
  • Petunias
Kaitlin Madden
Executive Editor, Homes & Gardens

Kaitlin Madden Armon is a writer and editor covering all things home. Her work has appeared in Real Homes, Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, Refinery29, Modern Luxury Interiors, Wayfair, The Design Network, and lots more. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids, and black lab.