1. Tidy up your front door
A dirty door isn't just unwelcoming, it's gross. Dirt and grime can collect here just like any other place, and it likes to collect on just the areas you and your guests will be touching: the middle of the door where they might knock, the doorbell, and the door handle. Set a calendar appointment once a month to get out and survey how your door looks.
If it needs some sprucing up, get out a scrubby sponge and some mild detergent, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the tough stuff, and some touch-up paint if needed. Once a year, re-paint the whole door to keep it looking fresh.
2. Sweep it
Depending on how your home is sited and climate conditions in your area, your porch can end up looking like a trash heap if you don't stay on top of it. Sweep, rake, gather and dump should be your mantra, especially during high winds or when your trees start to lose their leaves.
3. Smell the flowers
No one thing can brighten up a porch better than a pot of flowers or a vibrant hanging basket.
And if you have areas that need work (siding, chipping paint), no one thing can provide a better distraction.
4. Roll out the welcome mat
Nothing's worse than stepping up to someone's front door onto a dirty, old mat with faded lettering. OK, there are lots of things that are worse. But having a welcome mat that's actually welcoming is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to jazz up your porch.
It's also a great place to show off your style or be clever in small doses.
5. Seasonal stuff
Inflatable Santas and Easter Bunnies on the lawn aside, the front porch is an ideal place for showing some holiday spirit and seasonal pride. Whether it's a pair of pre-lit trees flanking the walkway or a fall wreath gracing the door, you can't go wrong with easy changes to your décor to keep the exterior lively all year long.
6. Clean those cobwebs
No one wants to walk into a faceful of spider. Get out that same broom and take a few swipes up under your porch roof and portico if you have one every so often. Your guests will thank you.
7. Proper lighting
Unlit homes may keep trick-or-treaters away, but they can also send an unwelcoming message the rest of the year. Light your walkway and make sure any exterior lights that are attached to your home are working. Set lights to come on automatically at sunset, and if you want extra security, choose motion sensors.
8. Take a seat
A seating area scaled to your porch is an opportunity to prolong a visit with a guest, stop and chat with a neighbor, and create a stylish vignette.
You don't have to spend a fortune, but you do want to make sure the seating is comfortable if you plan to use it for anything other than looking pretty.
Want more ideas? Check out these welcoming front porches from Better Homes and Gardens.