HOME: Cozy Porch Plans and Ideas for Fall at the Cottage

We finally did it, we took the plunge and took a step closer to our retirement plan, by buying a fixer-upper lakehouse. The place is a bit of a blank slate, and we are slowly making it our own. But we need to be thrifty, and a lot of what we want to do may have to wait a few years. But as the summer season winds down, it's a great time to get some end of season sales and deals, so we have a head start on summer next year. I just bought root bound, end of season perennials at Home Depot for 60% off! I got those bad boys in the ground over labor day. They look terrible, but so does the whole garden bed. Come spring they will come up bright and perky as if I bought them at full price.

Same goes for outdoor furniture and decor. Craft stores need to make room for Christmas, so right now porch signs and even fall blankets and decor are on sale. It's the perfect time to spruce up your outdoor space and enjoy it before the snow falls. Imagine a crisp morning with a blanket and cup of coffee on the deck, enjoying the changing leaves? I cannot think of anything better.

Here is my challenge. My screened in porch as well as my massive deck is overwhelming to even think about. And I need to mention that outside of cute porch signs and blankets, hubby and I have some major structural stuff to deal with. Screens need to be mended and stapled. Wood planks need to be pressure washed and restained. Some wood planks probably need to be replaced. But regardless, there is no reason for me not to enjoy these areas and make them welcoming and usable for guests this fall. SO I stepped back and made a list of what I want each of these spaces to do. From there, I created tone/idea boards to start the "spruce up" process. Then comes the fun part... haggling for my budget with hubby (if you heard sarcasm, you heard correctly).

Let's start with the main deck. It has a rotted out picnic table, and some chairs and lounge chairs that we bought in a neutral charcoal.

Here it is:

Needs some work, right?

Here are my wish lists:

A place to put fishing poles, vests and waders, I have fisherman husband and friends (including me).
Dining areas, possible place to hold plates or serving area.
Reading (which I may need a place for blankets), side tables, cushions.
Night time lighting (candles and lanterns).
Warmth for cool evenings.

Here is a tone board. I cherry-picked large pieces from arhaus.com with accents from wayfair.com, World Market, shabbychic.com and upcycling and refurbishing ideas from Pinterest.

My favorites are the groovy rod holder paired with a vintage bench for taking off waders or water shoes, as well as the fish with hooks to hold vests. I also love the dining table with chairs-a dining set worthy of my cooking for sure! I also love the idea of keeping cozy throws all over the place, inviting guests to curl up with a book and enjoy the outdoors.

Here are some shots of the screened in porch. The previous owners left some cool string lights which are really romantic at night, but other than that it is a blank slate, with a cement floor and windows on the house wall. Here is my wishlist for this space.

Board or card games.
Dessert or small meals.
Warm lighting at night.
Warmth for cool evenings.

Here is an inspiration board for this porch. My favorites from this board are the porch swing piled high with pillows, and a cozy chair from arhaus to pair with the swing. I also would love a little wood stove for cool evenings, some beach glass lamps for late night reading and a shabby chic table and chairs for game nights or puzzles. I also love the outdoor oriental rug I found on wayfair.com, which this porch needs desperately because the cement slab floor is too cold and hard.

Now that I have some guideposts and color palettes, I can start haggling with "The Tower" on my budget and do some shopping before it starts to snow. You still have time to enjoy your decks for fall! get out there!



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