This is our second Christmas in the California Bungalow and we’re continuing the tradition of our themed Christmas porch decorations. This year, since the house is black, we’ve gone full rainbow with our porch and yard decor. Here’s how I created a festive and fun front porch on a budget …
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CHRISTMAS PORCH DECOR: for historic homes, it’s all about nostalgia
Because our California Bungalow is nearly 100 years old, I like to honor the age of the home and our neighborhood by creating holiday porch themes that speak to the way the neighborhood has changed. While I don’t ever set out to completely mimic a 1920s home or shop, I do like to imagine the traditions of the neighborhood with my porch themes.
You can see how I decorated the porch last Christmas with a lodge theme and homage to Tennessee, our home state, here: A Tennessee Christmas Porch
It’s been a year and A LOT has changed about our bungalow. In fact, nearly everything has. You can read all about our tornado rebuild here: 2020 Tornado Rebuild.
Most notably, our house is now BLACK!!! We love the look of the black paint on the bungalow but I do worry that the black could lean boring at best and morose at worst. So I’ve made a conscious effort to showcase how black can actually be a fun house color by using accents that contrast against the black. Most notably, I installed green light sconces and painted the windows in Chinese Red by Sherwin Williams for contrast.
Since Christmas is meant to be fun and festive, there’s no better time to really pull out all the colorful decor and let this black house shine. Luckily, we’re a gay family with a five year-old daughter who loves color so we already have a ton of rainbow decorations that we display year-round.
KEEP CHRISTMAS DECOR CHEAP: Shop the Dollar Store + DIY
I really didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on decor that will only be displayed for a month. So I opted to hit up my local dollar store to find some large scale accents that would pair nicely with my candy shop theme. Here’s what I found and what I DIYed –
In order to make sense of the rainbow decor at Christmas, we opted to go with red and white accents that felt more like the holidays and less like everyday decorations.
I found these sweet stockings and tree skirt at the dollar store and knew they’d look great with the other colorful accents we had already.
Since we don’t have a fireplace on the porch, I mimicked the look by adding the stockings to the front of the bar cart we keep out here to store garden tools. I used clear command hooks, made for securing Christmas lights, to dangle the stockings from the top of the table.
Using the same general concept as last year’s Vintage Lodge Sign, I created a custom sign for our porch based on the Chuck’s Sweet Shop items we’ve found at Williams-Sonoma through the years. Our daughter’s nickname is Chuck, so it just makes sense that we would honor her in this way. You can see the full tutorial for the retro-style sign here: DIY Vintage Sign: How To Get The Authentic Old Advertising Look With Paint
White and black pair so well together and give such great contrast that they’re easily visible from the road. So I grabbed a handful of these oversized felt snowflake placemats from the dollar store to create a playful snow effect. I used the same clear command hooks to affix them directly to the house.
You know I love dangling objects from the porch ceiling to create a layered effect, see my previous post about last year’s hanging Ornaments: Christmas Porch Decorations: Oversized Ornament DIY (From Trash!), so I decided to carry this idea into this year’s porch by creating hanging snowballs that look like real flurries.
I used white string, a standard needle, and jumbo and extra large cotton balls to create the snow flurries. It’s an easy DIY that requires no real tutorial. Simply thread the string through the center of each cotton ball until you’ve reached your desired length. Make sure to space them randomly. I attached them to the porch ceiling by tying the end of the string around a clear command hook.
The varying length and placement gives the effect of a real snow storm. Especially when it’s windy. Just make sure to place them far enough apart from one another that they don’t bunch up in the wind. That can create a mess.
USE VINTAGE-STYLE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS with modern efficiency
I’ve long wanted some large bulb christmas light strings to decorate with but I was always too nervous to buy authentic ones as I worried about house fires and energy efficiency.
Luckily, LED bulbs have come a long way and they’re pretty inexpensive now. I found two 25’ strands of colorful retro bulb lights worked perfectly to hang around my windows. I placed a nail in the two top corners and then secured the strands to the sides with clear command light hooks. Just go ahead and buy those in bulk because they are a real holiday decorating workhorse!
You may recall I used the same lights upstairs to decorate my daughter’s work station:
See the full post here: Holidays In The Kid’s Workspace: Adding Schoolhouse Style For Christmas
I love how the bright colorful Christmas lights add additional festivity to the windows without overbearing the entire porch.
At night, they’re especially festive as they glow inside our living room.
USE WRAPPING PAPER FOR CHEAP DECOR
You can jazz up anything with a roll of inexpensive wrapping paper. As long as your porch is covered, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the wrapping paper to hold up all season long.
I wrapped the square side table that always sits out here in a rainbow stripe paper (that’s now discontinued, I’m sorry to say) and added a bow to make it look like a gift. Empty shipping boxes got wrapped in coordinating paper and I used an old grocery bag, filled with the felt tree skirt I found at the dollar store, to look like a gift bag from our “shop”.
Remember to go bigger outside as it’s harder for people to see small items on your porch.
A LITTLE KITSCH GOES A LONG WAY
It’s 2020. This year has been trying. We all deserve a little extra smile. So this year, we decided to finally give in to our daughter’s requests for inflatable yard decorations. We added this 4 ft tall inflatable Santa as a meaningful gesture to our neighbors.
And what rainbow themed porch would be complete without a giant rainbow unicorn? I mean, really. Obviously, our five year-old picked this one out but we do love how it matches the other decorations so well.
Since we want to travel to see our extended family for Christmas, we’re currently in quarantine to keep them safe. I’m bummed that we can’t greet our neighbors as they walk by the house but having these decorations on the lawn does make me feel like I’m giving them something to smile about this holiday season.
While we haven’t reached Full Griswold Status yet, our home does cast a lovely glow in the evening for our neighborhood that’s been through so much this year.
The inflatables have internal lights that cast even more of a glow across our street.
GET THE LOOK: COLORFUL BUNGALOW CHRISTMAS PORCH
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I hope our colorful Christmas decorations bring a smile to your face too. Remember to pin this post on Pinterest in order to refer back to it as you work.
If you recreate these easy DIYs, tag me in your post on Instagram @tmoorehome so I can share it!
I’ll be back soon with more ideas for decorating for the holidays. Until then, stay safe and sane. xoxo
RENOVATING HISTORIC HOMES ON A BUDGET ISN’T EASY
BUT I’M HERE TO HELP.
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