<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/04\/IMG_1149.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="572" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-66586" \/>\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nThe calendar may say it\u2019s been spring for three weeks now, but to me, spring really begins as soon as it\u2019s warm enough to sit on the porch and listen to the birds in the morning.\r\n\r\nThat happened the other day.\r\n\r\nI had such a good time hanging up the spring wreaths and uncovering and dusting off the porch furniture. As I looked around the porch, I thought it might be time for a few new porch ideas.\r\n\r\nLike decorating anywhere in your house, I\u2019ve always believed that you don\u2019t need a big budget to make a big impression. \r\n\r\nThink of a porch as an outdoor living room \u2013 what would make it more inviting and comfortable? What would make you and your guests want to spend more time there?\r\n\r\nFirst, start with a thorough \u201cspring cleaning.\u201d\r\n\r\nYou may just need a broom and a bucket of hot soapy water, or it may be a job for a pressure washer, but things always look better after a good cleaning.\r\n\r\nAnd besides, if you need to do any repairs \u2013 like repainting the porch swing \u2013 you\u2019ll need to start with a \u201cclean slate.\u201d \r\n\r\nBefore you even think of buying anything new for your porch, take some time to shop inside your home. If you just want to change your colors a bit, bring out a few cheerful throw pillows you\u2019re not using inside.\r\n\r\nColorful blankets or throws will tie your color theme together and be handy for chilly spring days and and late summer nights. Lay them across furniture or even over a railing for a splash of color.\r\n\r\nThe welcome mat at the front door is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how important rugs are to a porch. The simplest way to say \u201clet\u2019s spend more time on the porch\u201d is with rugs or runners. Rugs are essential to making a covered porch feel like a room.\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t discard your old indoor rug \u2013 whether it\u2019s a throw rug or an area rug \u2013 bring it out to the porch for the season. An old indoor rug that\u2019s stained or worn out will make a nice rug liner to help keep throw rugs or lightweight rugs in place.\r\n\r\nAnother easy way to make your porch feel like a special place, is by hanging a few strings of mini LED lights.\r\n\r\nThe soft light they\u2019ll bring to evenings on the porch makes everything more romantic. \r\n\r\nIf you don\u2019t already have electricity on your porch, you might consider what could be a relatively easy and inexpensive upgrade. \r\n\r\nBesides mini-lights, you could add charming wall sconces, table fans or a ceiling fan. \r\n\r\nA fan can make all the difference on hot, humid days.\r\n\r\nNext, what about porch furniture?\r\n\r\nWhen you\u2019re planning your porch, think about cozy seating and conversation areas.\r\n\r\nIf you have lots of room, so much the better, but really, two chairs at a small table is all it takes to make a conversation area.\r\n\r\nIf it\u2019s time for a change and you don\u2019t have the budget for \u201creal\u201d porch furniture, that\u2019s okay.\r\n\r\nHow about gathering up a few pieces of cast off furniture for end tables, coffee table or plant stands?\r\n\r\nSanding and painting to coordinate with your throw pillows, blankets and rugs will pull your d\u00e9cor together nicely.\r\n\r\nBut use two coats of an outdoor oil-latex solid colored stain rather than a paint. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s easier to apply and dries faster than paint. \r\n\r\nAnd speaking of painting \u2013 if you\u2018re able to do it \u2013 the biggest impact you can make is to paint your front door or your screen door. Play it safe with neutral colors like tan, black or grey, or you can really have some fun with this, and show your personality by choosing a bold or bright color.\r\n\r\nThen you could also consider painting the porch floor and\/or the ceiling. If you do both, consider choosing coordinating colors rather than the same color for both. \r\n\r\nBold is great, but be careful about primary colors. It\u2019s probably wiser to choose something a little more subtle. \r\n\r\nUnused vases, decorative bowls, shells from trips to the beach, candleholders and lanterns can all be repurposed as porch d\u00e9cor.\r\n\r\nIf they\u2019re scuffed up or don\u2019t match your color scheme \u2013 get out the spray paint. \r\n\r\nMake seat cushions for your chairs and swing. There are lots of DIY instructions for this on the internet.\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re a whiz with a sewing machine, you\u2019ve probably got ideas about how to go about it.\r\n\r\nBut some beautiful and durable porch furniture cushions can be made without sewing a single stitch. You\u2019ll just need a few supplies \u2013 foam, batting, fabric, outdoor fabric and some hook and loop tape. \r\n\r\nRemember to clean up the area around your porch. \r\n\r\nWeed, trim and plant to make the area in front and around your porch attractive.\r\n\r\nAnd consider placing flower pots full of bright blooming flowers on your porch steps. But don\u2019t forget to give your flower pots a good scrubbing and replace the soil in them. \r\n\r\nHaving fragrant herbs or blooming plants growing on a porch will never go out of style.\r\n\r\nAnd they can be practical, as well.\r\n\r\nHow wonderful is it to be able to snip off a bit of mint or basil just outside your door? \r\n\r\nThe only down side to keeping flowers on the porch at my house has been the little visitors that like to dig around in the flower pots.\r\n\r\nI\u2019ve found that sea shells scattered around on top of the soil where the \u201cneck\u201d of the plants come up keeps ground squirrels from digging around in my flower pots. \r\n\r\nIf you don\u2019t have sea shells, you could use pebbles or little rocks.\r\n\r\nAnd if you\u2019d like to have a planter box on your porch, you can make one yourself out of scraps of wood.\r\n\r\nAgain, there are lots of do-it-yourself instructional videos online to show you the way.\r\n\r\nPlanting climbing vines like honeysuckle at your porch columns in the ground or in pots will pay lots of dividends- providing beauty, fragrance and maybe even a little shade for your porch.\r\n\r\nAnd you\u2019ll have a front row seat as the hummingbirds come calling.\r\n\r\nAfter you get your porch all spruced up for spring, all you\u2019ll need to complete the picture is a pitcher of lemonade and a good book.