Before and After: 3 Simple but Striking Paint Projects Liven up a Drab ‘80s Porch

published May 28, 2023
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Front porch with white railing before renovation.
Credit: Marissa Nesbit

According to Pinterest’s annual home trend prediction, DIYers and daydreamers alike are searching for things like “front door transformation,” “front door portico,” “garden front of house entrance,” and “foyer entryway decor ideas” with increased frequency. In other words, in 2023, the front porch is taking priority — after all, it’s where a home’s first impression is made. 

Homeowner Marisa Nesbit’s front porch is good anecdotal evidence for this trend, too. “The ‘before’ was a typical porch,” she says. “It was fine — just a little bland with the ceiling the same color as the siding and the floor a concrete with some holes and cracks and stains.”

Marisa decided to give the ceiling and floor a patterned paint treatment: stripes for the former, and a star motif for the latter. “I wanted it to be more cheerful and welcoming,” she says. “It is common in the Carolinas to have blue porch ceilings, but I wanted to twist it up a bit, so I decided to do it in stripes. Although we sadly are not at all near the coast, it does give it a bit of a coastal feel.”

Marisa measured and used painter’s tape and two shades of aqua (Valspar’s Surf Spray and Tidal Wave) to create the ceiling stripes. “It was very tedious,” she says. “I love the striped ceiling, but I’m not sure if I would do it again any time soon.” 

Credit: Marissa Nesbit

Her best advice for taking on a project like this is to label each section with its corresponding color and to use a high-quality tape. (Her personal favorite is Frog Tape). “It is easy to get disoriented as to which sections get painted when working overhead,” she says. “It was just really hard to work on a ladder, overhead.”

For the floor pattern, Marisa used a “patio stencil” — which is a larger-format option than a regular tile stencil — to make covering the floor just a bit easier. “Patio stencils are a blessing,” she says. Marisa once did a project where she used a singular square stencil to create a tile effect, but this stencil had six “tiles” next to one another to make it go much faster. This type of stencil is also helpful if your patio or porch doesn’t have existing tiles to line up with, she adds. 

Credit: Marissa Nesbit

After cleaning and priming the floor, Marisa followed with white paint and then black for the stenciled pattern. “The stencil I used was very forgiving,” she says. “The floor is very textured, and I was afraid it would come out lumpy-looking. Up close, you can tell it isn’t perfectly crisp, but from standing, the pattern looks pretty neat.”

Lastly, she spruced up some of the patio furniture. “For the chairs, I just spray-painted old black patio chairs and a side table I already had,” she says. “That was a cheap way to update them and get some more color.” She also made some repairs to the railing, painted it, and added some potted plants and a door mat from Target. The final touch is a wind chime that was a gift from her mom.

“She has the same set, as does my sister,” Marisa says. “It’s nice to hear them and be reminded of home. The final product makes me so happy. It is a cheerful spot to sit and sip a drink while watching the kids play in the cul-de-sac.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.