Most of us are all too aware that this holiday season will be like no other. In our area, it’s looking like safe outdoor visits, carefully conducted, will be the only way we can see our friends and loved ones in person. But with the temperatures dropping and the rain coming, how practical is that?
Luckily, we have a covered front porch. It’s not huge, but it is large enough for Chris and I to safely visit with a couple of people even if it’s raining. Recently, we made a few tweaks to make the space warm and inviting.
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There are a few ways to add heat to an outdoor space, and we started by getting a tabletop propane patio heater (similar to this one).
Its petite size fits nicely in a covered area like our porch. The base holds a small propane tank, but Chris instead connected a hose to a larger tank so that he wouldn’t need to change the tank as frequently.
That larger tank sits under the wooden table – concealed by the burlap skirting that I made.
(Note: It’s always a good idea to check safety recommendations to make sure that propane heaters are appropriate for the space, and to use them outdoors only.)
While this heater does make a difference, it seems it doesn’t quite dish out the heat like a full-size patio heater. So we make sure to have a few blankets and warm scarves scattered for visitors to use,
And a nice warm drink to offer them.
Making It Festive Yet Safe
In outdoor spaces, I feel that I can crank up the color a bit without worrying that it’s over the top. I got this indoor/outdoor floor mat. It is made of recycled polypropylene, and it should be very easy to clean. We decided to use the reverse side of the mat because the colors are so lovely. They remind me of warm spices like curry, turmeric, and paprika.
For distancing, we set out two small tables – one for us and one for our visitors.
And the seating between us and our visitors is at least six feet.
Making this small space feel inviting and safe, yet keeping it uncluttered, was a bit of a challenge. The small chairs (one of them is a folding chair) can easily be brought indoors when not in use.
In addition to the overhead porch light, we have candles and string lights.
In early spring, many of our neighbors hung outdoor lights to offer a glimmer of hope to this strange situation that we all found ourselves in. That is when we hung the chili pepper string lights (similar to these). I’ve decided they are staying up until things return to normal, so we’ve just been adding other lights to them as the seasons dictate. (Also, I’m feeling like if ever there was a year where conventional decor rules don’t apply, this is it.)
Right now, they are paired with these LED patio lights. I am not a huge fan of LED lights, but these seem to have a warmer glow than others that I’ve seen.
I still have plans for some sort of wind break on the south side of the porch. Of course, I’d like it to be as attractive as it is practical, so we’ll see what I end up with.
In the meantime, it’s fun to put our porch to work, and we find ourselves using the space even when we don’t have visitors.
We still need music, but I think I have a plan. For Christmas, Chris will be getting this little portable bluetooth speaker. I’m hoping it will work for our porch visits and for our camping adventures.
The Back Patio
We haven’t completely written off our back patio for winter visits. Instead of stashing the patio furniture away, we just bought covers that we can remove quickly if we want to use the furniture.
We have a full-size heat lamp (similar to this one) on the patio, and we recently bought this fire pit. While it’s not quite the style I wanted, I must admit that the stone surface around the fire bowl is very convenient.
We’ve already used it to roast s’mores with our little niece, and we’re hoping for more outdoor fun on clear days.
We also keep a cover on the fire pit when it’s not in use. We found this cover, which is a pretty good fit.
Resources For A Cozy Porch Visit
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