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6 Small Side Porch Ideas + Before and After Makeover

Along with the side yard play area makeover we did a few weeks ago, allow me to introduce you to another area of our house that was such an eyesore, we kind of pretended it didn’t exist: the side porch.

Even when we moved in, this small deck walkway area on the side of our house needed some love as the painted wood had seen better days. It didn’t look this worn out 6 years ago, but it wasn’t a pretty situation either.

small side porch before with chipping paint

Side Porch Decor Ideas

Since we’re replacing our non-working side door soon (more on that later), and we were in the process of refinishing the back porch anyway, we tackled this outdoor space we had been putting off for too long.

I’m so amazed by how well it turned out! Since this is such a skinny deck, there wasn’t much we could do to decorate it. But the little bit we did made such a big impact in style and function.

So if you have a side porch / side deck / outdoor stairs / walkway area that needs some perking up, here are a few ideas we used to make it look a million times better.

small side porch makeover with planters

Deck Post Solar Lights

It’s no secret we love lots of solar backyard lighting at our house. So I found these deck post solar lights in white to blend into our white deck railing painted in Behr Ultra Pure White.

This side of our house is really dark in the evenings, and since it connects to the kids’ trampoline and playground in the side yard, it’s an area that gets used a lot when we have lots of families over at our house for fire pit nights, evening pool parties, backyard movie nights, and cookouts.

Adding these solar lights makes it a little safer for kids running around over here as it gets dark outside.

side porch solar lights and planters

This side porch area is hard to see behind the bushes on the side of our house but it connects to the side yard play area. This is what the stairs looked like before we could refinish them.

side yard play area

Paint

We started out sanding and scraping the old peeling paint off of the deck boards, but since I really didn’t want Robert to push himself too much after knee surgery recovery, we hired out painters to handle the rest.

I’m so glad we did because while it was DIY-able, it would have taken us 10 times longer to finish this job with just two people versus a team of fast painters.

sanding deck paint
deck steps before with chipping paint

We ended up having the deck boards paint color matched as closely as possible to our back porch stain (Behr Taupe stain).

On these deck boards, we used Sherwin Williams Porch & Floor Enamel in satin sheen with the following color matched custom code. Just show this photo of the label at the Sherwin Williams paint counter to get the custom color.

Step Lights

To make the stairs safer at night on this dark side of our house, we added these solar powered step lights.

Not only do they add more visibility for safety, but they also look so pretty!

deck step solar lights on a deck with planters
deck step solar lights

Garden Stool as a Plant Stand

There really wasn’t enough room over on this skinny walkway for any kind of seating, so I added a garden stool / outdoor side table to make a plant stand in the corner.

Tip: Decorating groupings together usually works best in two, threes, and fives, so nestling these three planters together in the corner created a good grouping of plants.

woven outdoor end table with planters on a deck

The deck post solar lights illuminate this little corner perfectly!

side porch solar deck lights with planters

Garden Trellis

This side door has been screwed shut long before we even moved into this house, but we’re finally replacing it very soon! Yay!

To dress it up a bit and add some interest around the limewashed brick in preparation for the new, functioning door, I added this garden trellis with these square planters underneath for climbing ivy. (And I added a door mat to use with the new door.)

side door before with chipped paint
side porch planter with trellis and side door and limewashed brick
side porch planter with trellis and side door

UV Treated Flowers and Plants

Since I totally kill everything green in my path, just like on our front porch, I added UV treated flowers and plants on this side porch too. This area gets completely hammered by the sun and any plants we set out here get completely fried quickly.

So I added these faux outdoor geraniums and faux geranium leaves in planter pots.

side porch makeover with terracotta planter of faux flowers

Side Porch Sources

Here is everything we used to perk up this small porch / deck walkway:

side yard play area with playground and trampoline

Now that the side porch is completely I think it’s safe to say we’re done with outdoor projects for a while… except for installing the new door which I cannot WAIT to have to make access to the side yard area easier for the kids.

Here’s to home improvement projects that take years to complete. 😉 Home wasn’t built in a day, right? Life doesn’t often work as quickly as a show on HGTV and that is totally okay. Progress is progress.

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13 Comments

  1. Lauren, once again, your eye for beauty and transformation is just jaw dropping. It looks fantastic. Bravo!

  2. Wow, what a transformation! I love the lights and paint color you chose! Looks so good!!!! And thanks for the reminder that projects take time.

  3. Great job with the deck. The post lights and stair lights were such a great idea. Love the planters & trellis, too. Nice to have this all finished! Now you can sit back and enjoy all the hard work that you put into your beautiful yard — so pretty!

  4. Love those solar lights on the deck rails. We were going to replace boards and stain our deck but ended up having to do a total replacement. Do the light attract bugs? I mentioned adding soft solar lights to ours and my husband was concerned about it attracting bugs. Just wondering what your experience has been. We live on the Lake on the NC/VA border so bugs love us!

    1. Hi! I totally get that. Who wants bugs interrupting a good time? LOL! Bugs may be a bit concerning any time you bring light to a space at night. We have gotten our yard sprayed and we burn citronella while using our back yard. We live in the south so there are bugs. But nothing that keeps me from adding the light. We enjoy it.