For inspiration, take a look at these nine seasonal decorating ideas. Long-lasting wreaths, potted plants and other entryway arrangements can be put together now, enjoyed through Thanksgiving and then easily transitioned for a wintery look to take you through the holidays.
Potted evergreens — like boxwood, privet or yew — look great year-round and can stand alone or act as a backdrop for seasonal ingredients. For fall, place a few white, orange or gray pumpkins on the ground near the base of the containers.
When you’re ready to transition to winter, swap pumpkins for two sets of white string lights to wrap around the evergreens. Or, keep it simple and let the evergreens stand alone, as was done for this boxwood topiary pair by Molly Wood Garden Design.
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Whether you make your own wreath or purchase one, look for a wreath that is largely made up of evergreen — but not coniferous — foliage. Fir and pine feel too wintery for fall, while evergreens like preserved boxwood, silvery eucalyptus or bronze magnolia can easily work for both seasons.
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Swapping the color of a decorative wreath bow from bronze to red would also quickly transition a simple evergreen wreath from fall to winter.
Another way to style your porch for seasonal transition is to start with many layered elements — like potted plants, a wreath, pumpkins or lanterns — and then edit down as the season shifts from fall to winter.
Take this traditional porch in Raleigh, North Carolina, as an example. The potted ferns were perhaps a carryover from summer; layering in potted mums, fairytale pumpkins and a magnolia wreath transforms the space for fall. For winter, one could keep the wreath, remove the pumpkins and mums, bring the ferns indoors to shelter them from the cold and fill their empty urns with cut conifer branches.
Alternatively, instead of editing as you go, decorate once with a display that spans multiple seasons. “Containers are a great way to express your style and set the tone for holiday festivities,” says interior designer Hunter Margolf, who designed this glamorous entry for a Colorado home using cold-hardy plants, cut evergreen branches and dried materials like seeded eucalyptus and redtwig dogwood. The combination of purple, green and gold works for both fall and winter.
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For a more pared-down look that’s still festive, stick with one seasonal item that can work for both fall and winter. For this contemporary home in Vancouver, a bright wreath of preserved berries does the trick. Other ideas to try: an evergreen boxwood wreath, a large floor lantern placed by the front door or a stack of birch wood with decorative white bark.
A well-lit porch looks far more inviting than a shadowy one, particularly as days grow shorter this time of year. Choosing standout lights that complement your home’s architecture can help an entryway feel festive and welcoming.
For example, check out the intricate Moravian star-shaped pendant lights of this entryway designed by JS Interiors for a home in Portland, Maine. Even without the decorative pumpkins by the front door (which could easily be changed for a potted conifer in winter), the porch feels warmly inviting.
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To encourage yourself or family members to look for and appreciate natural elements of the season, place a harvest tray on a porch table or by an entryway to display items found on walks, in the garden or at the farmers market. For this screened-in porch in Atlanta, interior designer Kat Nelson used a three-tiered rack to display a pretty collection of pine cones and greenery as a seasonal centerpiece.
In warm-winter climates, or in a bright indoor entryway elsewhere, pot up decorative citrus trees for seasonal color. The fruits, which ripen in winter, feel fresh and unexpected compared with evergreens and conifers this time of year. Kumquats and dwarf mandarins are particularly decorative, as they’re covered in many small fruits.
When choosing the spot for your citrus, remember that the trees thrive in full sun outdoors or bright light indoors and will need regular water and fertilizer.
Learn more about growing citrus trees in containers
If your porch doubles as an outdoor seating area, you can extend your enjoyment of the space well into the cool season. Draw inspiration from this inviting porch by Miyuki Yamaguchi Design Studio and add candles, flameless candles or twinkling string lights, pile up warm blankets and pick up a few new throw pillows in jewel-toned colors for the season.