Front porches are always fantastic! You can have your morning coffee out there, sit and watch a storm roll in or go old school and enjoy some time in your rocking chair, watching the world go by. During the pandemic,people are choosing to gather in smaller numbers in outdoor spaces so, front porches can also be great places for entertaining . . . Why not take advantage of Tennessee’s moderate climate and enjoy some of our porch entertaining ideas?
Porch decorating ideas
Make your porch look inviting! It’s often your guests first impression of your home. With so many “regular” fall events being postponed, spending some time decorating your porch for your small, socially-distanced gathering will make it even more special for your guests. Plus, decorating will give you something fun to do as well! Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Scatter seating areas
While this may not be possible if you have a small porch, if you have a larger one, it will make for comfortable conversation at your get-togethers. Think of having little clusters of furniture scattered around the porch, with 2-6 seats in each cluster. If you are worried about social distancing, use heavier chairs (makes them harder for your guests to move) and space them at safe distances apart.
Plants, plants, plants!
A porch is the transition area between the out of doors and your interior spaces. When you add furniture and decorations, you are bringing the inside out. So make sure to add some plants so people still feel they are out of doors. If you live in cooler climates, make sure they plants will grow well when you have to bring them indoors for winter. We recommend having a mix of greenery and flowers. For the flowers, hibiscus plants add a tropical touch and thrive indoors during winter. Fuchsias and begonias also work well both inside and outside. If you want to add a seasonal touch this fall, chrysanthemums come in many shades of yellow, orange and red. They are the perfect container plants.
In terms of greenery, boxwood and myrtle can easily be grown indoors. Just make sure you mist them because they thrive in humidity. Another fantastic idea is to make an herb garden on your porch. Basil, mint, thyme, parsley and chives can all be grown both indoors and outdoors. BONUS: You can harvest the basil to make a pesto sauce to serve with pasta when you entertain- or put the peppermint in mint juleps. Your guests will be VERY impressed!
Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are fantastic on many different levels. From an aesthetic standpoint, they give a nod to old world glamour. They can also feel quite exotic- imagine yourself having lunch on a hotel porch somewhere in the Caribbean, enjoying the cool breeze from the fans. Fans circulate the air, keeping it fresh which helps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Research shows that being in a place with good air circulation quickly disperses any virus that might be in the air.
Add a pop of color
Look at the photo above: isn’t the color orange fantastic? It’s bright, cheerful and inviting. Just don’t go overboard (unless that’s your thing!). In our opinion, using one or two bright colors, against a bright white or neutral backdrop, keeps the overall look elegant and pulled together.
Invest in a bar cart
Bar carts are fun, elegant and very functional. You can make the bar “buffet style” so your guests can serve themselves, or go all out and hire a bartender. Just make sure to place it away from the seating areas, and ideally underneath one of your new ceiling fans, so you don’t have to worry about people clustering at the bar, which can easily happen. If they do start to cluster, or if you get stuck behind the bar serving guests all night, you can always push it somewhere else for a quick getaway!
We love this Art Deco style bar cart from Atkin & Thyme. It adds a touch of elegance to your porch and can easily be rolled inside if you want to entertain indoors or place in your living room for your personal use. A small bouquet of flowers adds a fresh touch. Alternatively, you can add a pot of herbs from your porch’s new herb garden and use the leaves as garnishes for your drinks.
Porch entertaining ideas
Now that you have your porch decorated for optimal comfort, safety and visual enjoyment, let’s put it to good use and talk about some fun porch entertaining ideas.
A simple cocktail party
People have cocktail parties because they are easy, fun and relatively inexpensive. We suggest having the following staples on-hand at your bar (special cocktail optional):
- Red and white wine
- Seltzer water
- One special cocktail in keeping with the theme of your get-together
If you just have one cocktail, you can easily learn to make it in advance. Or even whip up a big batch before the party so you can spend your time with your guests, rather than trapped behind your bar. This apple ginger punch recipe from The Little Epicurean is perfect. You can make a big bunch in advance. Garnish it with some cinnamon sticks and star anise for that perfect fall vibe.
Hold a pumpkin carving party
Nothing says fall like a pumpkin carving party. It is a perfect porch entertaining idea because where else would you carve a pumpkin? It is also very kid friendly – perfect for a zoom session with your grandkids! All you need are pumpkins (one for each guest), candles, an ice cream scoop (for cleaning out the inside of the pumpkin), a serrated knife to cut a whole in the top and some small paring knives to carve out the faces. Two key points:
- Sharp knives are easier to work with, and safer, to carve pumpkins
- Keep the drinks to a minimum while the knives are out
Have your very own, mini Oktoberfest
Most Oktoberfest celebrations are cancelled this year. So why not have your own on your porch? It doesn’t require much: beer and some good soft pretzels are all you need. You can get a selection of German beers to serve to your guests, or just buy a keg from your local liquor store. To keep it authentic, serve the beer in chilled beer steins!
Make caramel apples
This is another fall oriented, kid friendly party idea. You can go all Martha Stewart and make your own caramel, or simply melt store bought caramels and add heavy cream to make it “dippable.” For added fun, have some tubes of icing, sprinkles and other cake decorating items to give them a little caramel apple bling. Just beware: they can be a little messy so if you are inviting kids, make sure to cover surfaces with plastic table cloths.
If you’re tired of being confined in an urban environment, The River Club’s soothing and scenic Tennessee location may be a perfect relocation spot for you. If this idea intrigues you, please get in touch with us to learn more about The River Club. Since you are working from home now, why not explore your options? You can also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org