Enhancing the curb appeal of a home and refreshing its look doesn’t take a total design overhaul. Designer Antoinette Fargo offers autumn-inspired entry ideas that are perfect for the season.

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If you want to create a big impact for your new listing, a fall front porch makeover offers a unique opportunity. It’s a fast, easy and affordable staging transformation that can instantly improve the curb appeal of virtually any home.

At the same time, the wow factor and warmth fact of an iconic and beautiful autumn-themed design makes potential buyers and open house guests feel good from the moment they drive up, before they even set foot into the home.

Want to do more than pop a couple of pumpkins on the steps? Here are some ideas for picture-perfect fall entryways that are sure to charm buyers and agents in your market.

Imagine colors beyond orange

Autumn is about more than just Charlie Brown’s classic Great Pumpkin. There’s sage and dark evergreen, creamy off-white, crimson red, deep aubergine, chestnut brown and mustard yellow. Pumpkins, squashes, plants and other items that are perfect for your outdoor decorating come in all of these shades. Don’t feel locked into an all-orange or orange-and-black color scheme.

Consider attention-getting vintage accents

An old basket, a weathered chair, a much-loved stepstool or a braided rug: Any of these can provide a cute accent as part of your porch vignette. In addition to adding visual interest, they can provide a holder for plants or pumpkins and give needed height and scale to your arrangement.

Accessorize existing porch furniture

There’s no need to go out and furnish the porch with all-new items. If there are rockers on the front porch, add some cozy cushions or throws in fall-friendly hues. This is also a good option for transforming the deck or terrace for a cozy seasonal makeover.

Hold back on spooky-season touches

While many people think of Halloween when choosing fall decor, go for a more traditional, elegant look when trying to appeal to buyers. Don’t fill the porch with witches and ghosts and ask your sellers to avoid doing so as well — even if they are normally the family that goes all out for Halloween.

Place plants in rustic containers

Whether you choose greenery or sprays of mums in fall colors, don’t line them up in plain terracotta pots or, worse yet, the plastic pots they came in from the store. Gather them in baskets, galvanized buckets, or wooden barrels to maintain the fall vibes.

Replace pumpkins and gourds as needed

If you live in a warm climate or if it’s unseasonably hot in your area, be sure to check (or have the homeowner check) for rotting or insects on the underside of your pumpkin arrangements. This is especially important if you create your fall decor early in the season and leave it out through Thanksgiving.

Undertake a simple and affordable front door makeover

Did you know that a classic black front door has been shown to be one of the most value-added changes you can make to a home? Bonus: It’s ideal as the background for a beautiful fall-colored wreath and works beautifully alongside virtually any autumnal color scheme.

Before you decorate, make sure that the porch has been thoroughly cleaned, swept and dusted. Have your sellers touch up trim paint and replace rotten wood. No decorating job is going to look its best if the house looks tired or rundown.

We know that many buyers fall in love with a home within seconds. Make that first impression count with a fall front porch makeover that’s sure to thrill.

Antoinette Fargo is the co-founder and creative director of DOORA Collective + DOORA Design in Ventura, California.

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