The shift of seasons makes us appreciate every last warm and temperate day—especially as the days begin to shorten and the undeniable crisp in the air tends to linger a little longer with every passing day. That, combined with the beauty of the changing fall foliage and golden-hued landscape makes the fall the perfect time to get cozy on the porch and really lean into everything the transitional season has to offer before winter sets in.
You can easily grab a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the scenery on your front steps, but a cozy and well-decorated porch is going to make your autumn months all the more memorable. Between greeting trick-or-treaters for Halloween and welcoming guests for dinner parties and Thanksgiving supper, the porch becomes an integral part of the season and should be treated as such.
That’s exactly why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make autumn at home as cozy and relaxing as possible—without sacrificing aesthetics and style, of course. Below, we’ve rounded up a whole bunch of fall porch decor inspiration and expert tips and ideas from a series of designers and interior decorators.
Meet the Expert
- Ted Roberts is the Style and Design Chief at Schlage.
- Beth Halpern Brown is the Founder and Interior Designer at Beth Brown Interiors.
- Susan Peters is the Owner and Designer at 9108 designs.
- Kathy Kuo is the Founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Homes.
- Bre Hance is the Principal Designer and Owner of InHance Interiors.
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Mix evergreen and seasonal plants
An easy way to decorate for the autumn without the need to drop a ton of cash is with plants, especially a mix of evergreen and seasonal. For example, potted plants and container gardens are always in season and even if your region is still quite cold, you can try evergreen cuttings or an arrangement that features pinecones and other non-living garden elements and mix it with some decorative gourds to get into the swing of the fall season.
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Add some hay accents
Fall is one of the most popular seasons to decorate your home's front entranceway with harvest-inspired items—so along with traditional fall elements such as pumpkins, consider other farm finds like a couple of bales of hay. These fall-centric pieces can serve a dual purpose: both as whimsical decor to build upon and as additional outdoor seating for guests. Make sure to add a waterproof blanket and some pillows to the hay before offering it to guests as seating though—hay can retain dampness and can be rather prickly.
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Looking for a simple way to increase the aesthetic and functionality of your porch as you welcome the colder months? Trust us when we say there’s no reason to run to the store for new furniture pieces.
“An easy and affordable way to decorate your porch for the autumn months is to add in functional furniture that is both beautiful and inviting,” explains Ted Roberts, Style and Design Expert at Schlage. “DIY is in right now—and if you can’t go thrifting, you might even have some indoor furniture that can be repurposed with a coat of all-weather paint to withstand the colder weather.”
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Revamp your front door
It might seem like an obvious trick, but there’s really nothing as impactful as a fresh coat of paint on a tired looking front door. “A new coat of paint can be a nice greeting when you come home each day,” says Roberts. “Whatever color you choose, make sure you balance the color with other accessories in complementary finishes” Matte black accessories will really pop against a bright and colorful door, for example.Continue to 5 of 46 below.
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Opt for potted plants
You might be tempted to dedicate a part of your front garden to fall foliage like chrysanthemums and Russian sage, but if you live in a cold climate it might be better to consider placing these types of plants in pots around your porch instead. Not only does this make for an easy way to decorate your porch steps or door front but it also means you can bring them inside for the night if the fall air becomes too crisp.
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Go for functionality
Placing a wicker chair on your porch with warm colored plaid blankets and pillows can add that perfect punch of cozy decor. This will also serve as a functional addition to your porch as you can pop outside and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while enjoying the crisp fall air.
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Consider a wooden sign
Creative wooden signage has become a token part of fall porch design over the last few years—and for good reason. Not only do these creative pieces add some personality to your front step, they’re also made to withstand the cold, wet weather and will last for years. A simple “welcome” sign will do the trick—but the more creative you get, the better!
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Pumpkins of varying sizes
Considering adding a couple of pumpkins to your fall porch? Try to vary the shapes and sizes to give it even more visual interest, suggests Beth Halpern Brown, Founder and Interior Designer at Beth Brown Interiors. “Adding a bunch of different sized pumpkins is also a great idea instead of carved pumpkins, because they won't rot and can last all season if you want them to,” explains Brown.Continue to 9 of 46 below.
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Consider different color gourds and pumpkins
Of course, orange pumpkins are the classic sign of the fall season, but you don’t have to stick with just orange if you’re keen to keep your color scheme more playful. “Including different color gourds with your traditional pumpkins will help to make your front porch visually less monochromatic and really brings out the fall vibes,” says Brown.
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Swap out your outdoor cushions
If you typically keep your outdoor cushions on your porch until the wintertime, consider picking up some new seasonally appropriate fabrics or pillow covers to help welcome the change of season. Varying shades of browns, golds, reds, and oranges, for example, are the easiest way to feel the autumn spirit.
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Door leaf garlands
People usually associate leaf garlands with winter holidays, like Christmas, but they can also be used during fall to add visually appealing texture and interest to your front porch and doorway. “A nice door leaf garland display makes for a really nice entry for both residents and guests alike, providing an inviting, warm, and welcoming feeling,” says Brown.
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You don’t have to make a trip to the farmer’s market for nature-inspired fall decor. In fact, you probably don’t even need to venture much further than your own backyard. Maple leaves, pinecones, and acorns all make for a sustainable form of decor. Pile them into a transparent outdoor lantern box for added effect (and to keep them from blowing away in the wind).Continue to 13 of 46 below.
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Go for small gourds
“My best fall porch idea is to use very small gourds for decorating,” suggests Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. “Pumpkins obviously fit the fall spirit, but I prefer gourds with harder skins.” According to Yamaguchi, very small decorative gourds rot less quickly—and hard shell gourds in particular are great for this. You can even hollow them out and use them to make bowls.
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… or stick with very small pumpkins
“Small pumpkins are a good compromise if you really want pumpkins,” says Yamaguchi. "In my experience, tiny pumpkins are also slower to rot and make much less of a mess. They're also fairly inexpensive when in season.”
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Hang a harvest-inspired wreath
A harvest-inspired wreath is a great option that’ll last into the fall season and long past Halloween and Thanksgiving without looking stale or out of season. Neutral or nature-inspired colorways with subtle jewel toned pops of color look sophisticated but welcoming.
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Brighten up your door
There is no point decorating your porch without addressing your front door and all the weather and wear it has gotten all summer long. Consider deep cleaning your door using warm water and sponge before the weather gets too cold and damp in order to create a more welcoming base to work with.Continue to 17 of 46 below.
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Add a seasonal rug
A bright, fall-inspired rug is another easy way to give a tired porch some new life for the season. Consider a classic welcome rug, or layer multiple different rugs along your porch to create a cozy walkway for guests.
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Consider a faux floral arrangement
Not much for gardening? You don’t have to rely on outdoor plants to add some greenery to your fall porch. Instead, consider a faux floral arrangement or dried flowers. If you have an existing garden, drying and repurposing your flowers at the end of the season will provide a sustainable decor option while giving a second life to your summer blooms.
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Create a coffee nook
Who doesn’t dream of sipping a steaming cup of coffee while taking in the crisp air and fall foliage? A cozy little coffee nook will quickly become your favorite spot in the house—and all you really need is a comfortable waterproof bistro-style table and a couple of chairs. Once it gets cooler, keep a throw blanket just inside the door for easy access.
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Stack some apple crates
Fall decor is the perfect time to incorporate vintage and second hand items into your arsenal. Consider stacking old apple crates on their sides to create shelving for your pumpkins and gourds. Retro soda crates or painted milk containers will also offer the same sense of whimsy and nostalgia.Continue to 21 of 46 below.
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Set the table
Susan Peters, Owner and Designer at 9108 designs suggests purchasing a small antique table that you can use as center stage to decorate for the fall. “I have an antique drop leaf table that I redid in a black distressed look that would be perfect for this,” explains Peters. “Depending on your particular porch, you can angle your table and use it as a welcoming porch entry table.”
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Source an antique or vintage chair
“If you don't have room for a table, perhaps just an antique chair would work in a similar fashion with a mum on the seat and pumpkins and gourds adorning the feet of the chair,” explains Peters.
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Decorate with terracotta and natural wood colors.
According to Peters, one of the easiest ways to foster a sense of fall decor is by using more natural items with orange and yellow colorways—terracotta pots, natural woven baskets, and wooden candlesticks are all great options for decorating a space while sticking to a nostalgic theme.
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“For a more unique, interesting look to traditional fall decor, try your hand at painting pumpkins in various colors and patterns,” suggests Peters. This can be a fun way to get little ones involved early in the season before it’s time to carve pumpkins for Halloween.Continue to 25 of 46 below.
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Grab a bench
Planning on spending a lot of time on your porch as the season goes on? A great antique or contemporary bench is a great way to create additional seating and storage all in one. Pile some weather safe pillows or drape an outdoor blanket over the back for additional coziness.
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Mums the word
The easiest way to foster a sense of fall without splashing out on a ton of decor items? According to Peters, a large mum can easily be the star of the show—you can always add pumpkins and gourds to make a pretty display but a show-stopping mum will do the trick all on its own.
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Opt for rich tones
Of course, utilizing natural elements is a fantastic and budget-friendly way to refresh your porch for fall—but it’s also the easiest way to keep your porch color palette on theme. “The season brings with it such warm, rich tones, I suggest reflecting that in the decor,” shares Kathy Kuo, Founder of Kathy Kuo Homes.
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Decorate with outdoor vases and planters
“Flower arrangements, branches, and dried florals can be easily added to planters or vases you already have outside,” says Kuo. “These types of natural arrangements alongside the entrance will work to welcome guests as they arrive.”Continue to 29 of 46 below.
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Display an unusual wreath material
Later in the season, Kuo suggests swapping your harvest-inspired wrath for something a little more untraditional. “Eucalyptus or wild berries are simple yet eye-catching, and help you transition into winter tones,” she explains.
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Get a little spooky
Halloween decorations fall into a whole different subcategory—but there’s nothing wrong with some subtle spookiness to welcome in the season. A gentle nod to Halloween can look surprisingly sophisticated when done with modern finishes like monochrome or black and white.
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Look to lanterns
“If you’re looking for something more bold and sophisticated, candle lanterns can serve as the perfect ambient lighting for a cool, autumn night,” explains Kuo. “For a mid-season update, you can fill the lanterns with leaves and seasonal fruits, creating simple and chic terrariums!”
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Consider adding candles
Kuo also suggests using candles to hold onto some extra lighting—especially when daylight savings hits and it gets dark earlier.” A moving flame LED candle is a great option that creates the flicker and ambient glow of a traditional burning flame in a safe and hassle-free manner,” she explains.Continue to 33 of 46 below.
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Consider faux trees
Looking to add some height to your fall porch decor? You might want to consider lining your stairs with artificial seasonal trees. “Pumpkins are an absolute staple for fall, but some nice big planters with faux trees can totally transition into the new season with minimal effort,” explains Bre Hance, Principal Designer and Owner of InHance Interiors.
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Stick to natural neutrals
It can be tempting to opt for bold colorways to welcome the fall but a neutral theme will lend itself well to multiple occasions. Using neutrals as your base will make way for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and any other celebrations you have coming up.
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Don’t shy away from scarecrows
Scarecrows have become an autumnal trope over the years—but they might just have enough whimsy to make for endearing fall decor. You can easily make your own scarecrow using foraged or recycled goods—or pick up a more sophisticated version if you’re hoping to veer away from the cheeky side of fall decor.
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Add space for a bar
You’ve heard of outdoor tiki bars—but what about an outdoor bar cart? A simple rolling cart or chest of drawers can easily be repurposed to serve guests nightcaps on the porch. Just make sure to bring in any fragile or temperature sensitive booze and accoutrements at the end of your evening.Continue to 37 of 46 below.
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Chalk it up
Chalkboards will always be a hit for both young and old—but an outdoor chalkboard will serve as the perfect alternative to a regular wooden sign. This will allow you to change up your signage whenever the mood strikes or foster creativity with little ones playing outside.
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Make it cozy with blankets
Keeping a stockpile of cozy blankets draped around your porch will instantly foster a sense of warmth. Not only will they create the perfect fall-inspired space but they’ll also ensure you spend as much time curled up outside as possible.
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Source a wheelbarrow
If you find yourself mulling over a wheelbarrow at an antique store—bring it home immediately! An old school wheelbarrow offers the perfect combination of whimsy and retro and can easily be decorated with a pile of pumpkins and gourds or used as a planter.
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Place a rocking chair
Rocking chairs have been a porch staple for decades but they are particularly well-loved come autumn time. Any rocking chair will create a cozy and welcoming vibe but an antique or well-weathered chair will really complete the look.Continue to 41 of 46 below.
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Build a book nook
Dreaming of spending those crisp autumn mornings outside with a good read? Consider your porch your own miniature library! Create a comfy spot to curl up with a good book—you can even create a miniature take-one, leave-one library as trick-or-treating season gets closer.
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Accent with canvas and burlap
Natural textures like canvas and burlap can create a cozy look without the need for bringing in textiles every time it rains. Consider burlap pillow cases or seating for a comfy but practical appeal. You can also use these types of neutral materials to create weather-resistant covers for more delicate pots or planters that you might be worried about leaving outside as the weather continues to chill.
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Skull and crossbones
The skull and crossbones motif is a sure winner for Halloween—but the aesthetic can work just as well for the entire fall season. You can go big or opt for smaller skull-inspired details as a gentle nod to a more Gothic-inspired fall aesthetic.
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Start saving your wine corks now—you’re going to want to have as many as possible for your fall porch decor. Wine corks are a great and sustainable option for all types of decor but work particularly well outdoors in the fall. Consider stacking them high in a see-through container for a cellar-inspired terrarium or glue them down as a recycled, outdoor-safe corn board that you or your little ones can decorate and update as the season progresses.Continue to 45 of 46 below.
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Grab a wagon wheel
Whether your porch is large or on the smaller size, an antique wagon wheel will serve as the perfect antidote to your fall decor display. These antique decor pieces were made to last through all types of weather and can easily withstand the cold, damp months year after year. In fact, the more weathered they become, the better they look! You can typically find well-weathered wagon wheels at antique shops or second hand stores outside of the city.
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Consider a fall-inspired banner
You might think of birthday signs or other overly thematic aesthetics when thinking of a banner, but not all banners are loud or overly attention-calling. There are plenty of ways to create a cute fall porch design using a simple banner—just be sure to look for neutral colorways and natural fabrics like burlap or cotton. These can easily be hung across your door for an easy and lightweight alternative to a wreath or strung across the patio railing for a festive addition to the exterior of your porch.