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How to Style a Holiday Porch in 5 Steps

A classically-decked holiday porch is as iconic as a Christmas tree or menorah in the window. It beckons all inside to enjoy the coziness and warmth of the season. Creating the perfect welcoming entryway can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Designer Polina Hullinger has 5 easy-to-follow steps for styling a holiday porch. Use her basic supply list to incorporate natural elements like wood, metal, and evergreen to create a solid foundation. Then add your own vintage personal touches to make it entirely yours.

Step 1: Design & Function

Your design options will depend on whether your porch is covered or uncovered, symmetrical or asymmetrical. 

Uncovered porches require weather-proof products: trees with outdoor lighting, presents wrapped in burlap or fabric, and outdoor lanterns. Double check that your supplies are made with outdoor-grade materials if your porch is uncovered. Covered porches allow for much more leniency as you can use indoor-grade trees, lights, lanterns and standard wrapping paper.

Your supply list will also vary based on the symmetry of your porch. Trees, lanterns and presents will be placed in even numbers for symmetrical porches and odd numbers for asymmetrical. Supply list options for both are listed below.

Step 2: Faux Trees

Varying tree heights is key to a well-balanced, layered evergreen foundation. Plan on using a tall, skinny 6’ pencil evergreen tree and a short, wider 3-4’ evergreen tree. When your tree arrives, it will be folded toward the trunk. Take time to form the branches into a natural-looking tree. Purchase pre lit trees, based on preference and availability. 

Trees may be placed in existing pots on your porch. Or wrap the base in burlap and twine for a finished look.

Leave the trees plain or decorate with simple frosted pinecones. For a nordic touch use wooden garland or snowflakes. The key is to not over decorate. Use one or maybe two simple decorations at the most.

Step 3: Wreath & Adornments

A cedar, juniper or mixed-greens wreath is an on-trend option and we recommend this style over a classic pine wreath. 

Consider adding vintage touches to the wreath. Choose something that is personal to you and pops on the porch. Vintage-looking skis, skates, bells and oversized ornaments are all excellent options. Antique shops or boutique stores like Jolleys, Foundation Goods, Amy’s Boutique, The Kinlands, and Knot and Spool offer unique holiday finds in the Salt Lake City area. Or attend the annual Christkindlmarkt at This is The Place to discover something timeless.

Green floral wire will help you attach your skis/vintage object to your wreath. Create a hook on the back for hanging as well.

Finish your wreath with a simple velvet ribbon. Let the object you choose and the simplicity of the wreath shine. Find ribbon on Amazon, or find a local small business to support. We adore and highly recommend local Salt Lake Holladay shop, Knot and Spool, for stunning ribbons from prestige manufacturers.

Step 4: Presents & Lanterns

Use butcher paper or another solid color of your choice to wrap 3-4 presents. Spend your money on the ribbons and not the paper. If you have an uncovered porch, use burlap and make sure the box underneath is sturdy or use plastic bins/boxes. If you have a symmetrical porch, match 2 big and medium sizes. For an asymmetrical porch, have three varying sizes: big, medium and small.

Purchase 2-3 ribbons in various shades and widths (I chose shades of green). Mix the velvet ribbon from the wreath in with 2 other colors/textures. Polina uses a 1.5” forest green grosgrain and 2” satin light green ribbon.

Lanterns can be found in antique or boutique stores (see above), at TJ Maxx, or this 18” version on Amazon or 12” version at Target. Lanterns should be sized to scale with your porch. Don’t make the mistake of using an under-sized lantern. If you have an uncovered porch, check that the lantern is specified for outdoor use. 

Tie a simple velvet ribbon (same as the wreath) to the lanterns. 

A white birch log bundle can replace or complement gifts and lanterns on the porch.

Step 5: Door Mat

A doormat can set the tone and style of your porch’s mood. This checkered mat from Target sets a traditional tone vs. this mat with a nordic vibe. If you have an uncovered porch, double check that whatever mat you choose is made of indoor/outdoor material. 

Holiday Porch Supply List

2*— 6’ evergreen pencil trees 

2*3-4’ evergreen (wider) trees 

Small frosted pinecones

Burlap & twine and/or existing pots

Cedar, juniper or mixed-greens wreath (fresh or faux)

Vintage object/ornament for wreath or bells

Green floral wire

Burlap or wrapping paper

2*—large boxes for presents

2*—medium boxes for presents

1—spool 1” velvet ribbon

1—spool 1.5” grosgrain ribbon

1—spool 2” satin ribbon

2*large 18” wood lantern

Doormat (checked or nordic)

*Quantity variation for asymmetrical porches

16’ evergreen pencil tree 

1— 3-4’ evergreen (wider) tree 

1—large, medium, &  small box

1large 18” wood lantern

1medium 12” lantern

Polina Hullinger is an Interior Designer staging for Niche Homes.  Follow her on Instagram for more design inspiration. 

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