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Warm Winter Entry

Photo by Mark Lund

Amid all the frazzle-dazzle of the holidays, it can be nice to come home to a house that's as serene as a woodland glade—on the outside, anyway. Take this porch, which is decked with all the accoutrements of the season, from a simple magnolia-leaf wreath casually tied with a golden bow to a free-flowing garland of greens. Sage shingle siding, sky-blue beadboard overhead, and a russet door wrap the space in softness. A well-loved bench, a simple striped doormat, and a pair of bright-orange muck boots keep the scene down-to-earth. Here are some ideas for bringing the same homey feel to your place.

Calm Colors

Photo by Ted Morrison

Subdued paint shades drawn from nature make for a handsome backdrop that lets porch decorations shine. Cheyenne Green (siding), Scenic Drive (ceiling), and Audubon Russet (door); for stores

Silver-Dollar Garland

Photo by Ted Morrison

A real eucalyptus garland is festive without being holiday-specific—and ushers guests in with a lovely, enlivening scent. 10-foot swag, about $130;

Wall-Hung Basket

Photo by Ted Morrison

This handwoven vine number could hold the mail or celebrate the season with a delivery of evergreen boughs. about $20;

Colorful Boots

Photo by Ted Morrison

Rubber rain boots get a traffic-stopping upgrade in orange; kept on the porch, they'll brighten the drizzliest days. about $30 (discontinued as of press time);

French Flower Bucket

Photo by Ted Morrison

Stash umbrellas in this version of the classic shape—or play up its coppery hue with some red-orange berries, like bittersweet. about $12;

Earthy Textiles

Photo by Ted Morrison

Ward off the winter chill with thick fabrics: a brown-and-white striped polypropylene mat cushions the multicolor-slate floor; a fringed knit throw softens the bench back. 2-by-3-foot mat, about $29; Acrylic blanket, about $53;

Boxwood Topiaries

Photo by Ted Morrison

These preserved orbs set atop willow stems bring the feeling of a well-tended garden right to the front door. about $65 and $25;

Storage Bench

The homeowner found hers at a yard sale; we like this solid cedar one, and would stain it cranberry red to let the beauty of the wood shine through. about $188;

DIY: Magnolia-Leaf Wreath

Photo by Ted Morrison

The leathery emerald-and-nut-brown leaves of the magnolia tree make for elegant, long-lasting door decor. We bought two hulking branches, let a florist's oasis wreath soak in water, then pulled off the leaves and inserted them, alternating green and brown sides up. When it's done, champagne-colored ribbon simply tied provides a finishing touch. Just about $20 (branches) and $15 (wreath), at a local flower market.