How to Spruce Up Your Front Porch On $5 or Less

For a while now, I’ve been envious of all those pretty planters I see on neighbors front steps – especially when they’re filled with a gorgeous spray of seasonal flowers.

The only problem is these pretty planters are crazy expensive. Have you ever noticed that? They cost upwards of $50. Some can run over $200. For a PLANTER. That you put PLANTS in. That will DIE in a few months.

Needless to say, I couldn’t bring myself to spend that – so I checked a few garage sales this summer, but came up short.

Then, a few weeks ago, my mom moved – and in packing up, she bequeathed to us an inordinate amount of stuff out of her basement. A lot of this stuff may need to be decluttered (no offense, mom), but there were some gems among them  – including this planter.

No pedestal, but I did like the design. What I didn’t like was that it was white. Well, grey actually. Dingy grey. Which frankly, didn’t say to me, “Oh I’m so lovely for planting your mums in.”

But then I remembered all those annoyingly admirably talented DIY bloggers that go on and on and on about the marvels of spray paint.

Well, what do you know? I happened to have a can of spray paint in my garage. It was even Oil Rubbed Bronze, and the kind that’s good on all surfaces, including plastic – which the planter from my mom is.

I decided to go for it!  First, I covered our outside table with a plastic drop cloth and then some old cardboard on top. I used a number of thin, fine coats, to avoid drips (this is what I read all the bloggers saying to do, so I did it, too.)

I also decided to spray the pot upside down, so that no paint got inside the pot itself. I figured this stuff is toxic, so it probably shouldn’t be right next to my mums.

Here’s the pot after the first pass. Not too impressive.

It took about three coats, and a few more touch-ups in the crevices to get the pot looking how I wanted.

I allowed it to dry a few minutes in between each coat and then let it sit for several hours before filing it with dirt. Then I popped my sweet little mum inside and voila!

Behold: My spruced up front step, with a would-have-been $50 planter that I got for free. (If you had to buy the can of paint, it would run you about $7.49. And a planter at a garage sale would probably be $1 or less.)

(Yeah, I know the mum looks a little small. I’m hoping it fills out a bit.)

Do any of you guys have a love affair with spray paint? Have you done a little DIY project recently – especially one on a very tight budget? Or maybe you just planted some mums and called it fall?


  1. amazing job!!!

    Does this mean we need to start trading DIY/crafty blogs…. my google reader is FILLED with them!

    I’m dying to try refurbishing a piece of furniture – I see some incredible things in the blog-o-sphere!

    well done on a fantastic job!

    what’s up next?

    • Who do you love Shelley? I’m on the hunt now for a mirror for over our buffet. Something big and chunky and then I’ll paint it… probably ORB again. I love this stuff!

      Furniture seems way to intimidating to me. But you’re Miss Crafty, so you can handle it.

      Plus I’m afraid of bed bugs. Very, very afraid.

  2. Miriam Leah Schwartz says

    WOW! just have to say how impressive this is 🙂

  3. Looks great! Congratulations.

  4. So that’s how that thing wound up on our front steps

  5. it looks really good!

  6. I recently took an old, plain child’s sized pine table that we were given, sanded off the finish, then primed it before painting the top with three coats of grey chalkboard paint and the legs a bright lime green…my kids love having a table they can color directly on!

  7. Very nice! I am impressed!

  8. Karen Rubin Brown says

    Beautiful. I have two french (tall and thin) terra cotta pots and four rectangle terra cotta planters that I have had for years now. Every Spring, I get a $1 can of black spray paint from Lowes and give them a touch up before filling them up with begonias. I store them during the winter and because I put a gel filler into the soil, sometimes, my begonias keep over the winter. I check on them in Feb. and if I see any signs of life, I will gather a few stems and start rooting them in water and some years, I do not have to buy as many plants.

  9. We have a hazardous waste facility jn our town. I pick up used paint there for free. Another way to save a buck.

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