Our Carefree Housewarming Decor

How to style a front porchSmile and waveElsie and IQJeff and ChrisKatie and LauraAdam and JackiA Beautiful Mess shoesJeremy and ChrisAs I mentioned last Friday while trying to convince you to give pavlova a try (did you do it???), we recently hosted a housewarming party so our friends could come by and see the nearly finished house. Our plan had been to host most of the party on our front porch and the back party alcove. We’ve been sprucing up those spaces this summer, so it was time to enjoy them! But then the weather got chilly. So we did spend quite a bit of time hanging out on the front porch and playing a few yard games. But, once the sun began to set, we all quickly headed indoors.

Elsie and JoshFunny how plans don’t always turn out how you think. Or maybe it’s just my luck? 🙂 Honestly though, if you find yourself surrounded by good friends, it’s hard to complain.

Balloons are always a good ideaDecor ideas for a front porch partyHow to style a front porch Parties are the perfect excuse to buy fresh flowersLaura GummermanWe kept the decor pretty simple. We bought some balloons for the front entrance. I love balloons at a party because they can quickly signal to guests which house they are looking for. Have you ever almost walked into a house the first time you are going over to a friend’s for a party, only to realize it’s not the right house!? No, just me? Ok, well, it happens, guys. And balloons can totally solve this unless the whole neighborhood is having a party. Also you can send the balloons home with any little party guests at the end of the evening. 🙂

Parties are also the perfect excuse to buy yourself some fresh flowers. Do it. You know you want to.

Laura created that cute paper garland you see hanging up around the porch. She cut circles from paper in our party colors, and then sewed them together. Once the party was over, we took the garland indoors, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to last for quite some time as long as we don’t get it wet or let it fade in the sun. Easy, inexpensive, and cute—go, Laura!

How to style a front porch How to style a front porch How to style a front porch How to style a front porch How to style a front porch Outdoor pillowsHonestly, the reason I don’t think we felt like we needed to go overboard with the temporary party decorations is because we’ve been sprucing up these spaces all summer. We added the swing, herb table, railing, house number, and bench on the front porch. Laura made tons of our outdoor friendly pillows. And Elsie created those colorful felt pillows (on the swing). Most of these updates were relatively inexpensive although certainly more costly than paper garland. But now these spaces feel like they are ready for guests to enjoy at almost any moment (provided we keep things picked up and clean). And that makes it a worthwhile investment. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend some money on items I’m going to use again and again or that spruce up my space for years to come rather than spending tons of money on temporary decorations. Just my two cents. But what do you think? 

DIY felt pillowsDIY front porch rail Thanks for letting me share a little about our housewarming party. If you have any tips or housewarming party stories you’d like to share, let us know. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited using A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Love the simple decor! I’ve been meaning to try the paper circle garlands for a while and you’ve reminded me.

    And OMG Jeremy is smiling. He should more often – it suits him 🙂

  • I love all of the color pillows! You really could have a party at any moment with so many pretty pillows around – they just make the space look like a party is about to happen!

  • Hi Madison! Here’s the tutorial 🙂 https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/05/geometric-wool-felt-pillows.html -Jacki

  • OH MY GOODNESS!! So beautiful!!!! I love it 🙂 Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaassse do a tutorial on those geometric cushions!!!!!!!! Or tell us where you bought them xoxoxo

  • Hi Laura,
    I was actually wondering if you hand sewn the garland or used your machine?
    I made a similar light fixture with hand stitches and it took me a long while and seeing the length of that garland keeps me wondering!
    I hope you’ll find the time to tell me your secret!
    PS: you are amazing!

  • so jealous of your friends! I wish I could have been there too hanging out in your great house 🙂 Enjoy every minute of it!

  • These are such cute and fun decorations! The house looks great and it looks like you had a blast :).


  • I love all of the colors you guys incorporated. Can’t wait to see the rest of the house!

  • Thanks Taylor! Most people hung out in the dining room area and outside (our offices are upstairs) so the upstairs stayed untouched 🙂 -Jacki

  • The space looks absolutely gorgeous! I agree that I’d rather spend money on things that will last than temporary decorations (which can get pretty pricey if you go all out). I love the idea of a porch party. How do you guys deal with having a party in a space that doubles as your office? I’m sure all of your things are upstairs, I’m guessing, but I would hate to have people (even if they are wonderful, loving, and trustworthy friends) go through my work stuff or have to move around my workspace.


  • Oh gorgeous!
    Very neat and, silly as it sounds, the cushions are my favourite part. You all look very at home there 🙂

  • I really love your house!! It’s so cute! How the colours flow through and they get picked up around the house I love it!!!!

  • Hi Jeanine! Thanks so much for the nice compliments! This was a housewarming party for the ABM studio house 🙂 -Jacki

  • Hi Emma, Elsie & ABM Team:

    Beautiful pictures! Was this a housewarming party for the Studio House or Emma’s house? I was just a bit confused albeit I think I can recognise some of your workspace in some of the pics.

    As usual, you all worked together to make it beautiful, but simple which I think is really the very best way to go. Love the decor. Flowers, planters, everything.

    On another note, I have yet to purchase your beautiful new book and planning to order today. I am the lady who has always said “Elsie and Emma are the Martha Stewart’s of a new generation.”

    Cheers and congrats to the new and beautifully created space team.

  • The house is like a dream (even more so because i’ve read/watched you all decorate over the Summer!) It looks gorgeous and I wouldn’t mind coming over just to sit on that swing! The A Beautiful Mess team is amaaazing!! xo Jessika, www.jessclassy.com

  • Love the simple inexpensive decor…i totally agree with spending money on long lasting pieces or to decorate home not just for the party.. love the balloons, i mean who doesn’t? And how was the book signing? No pics? Not even on instagram?



  • For this garland I stacked a bunch of the dots together and then would clip big bunches of the stacks with paper clips. This keeps them from getting tangled and then you can place them in a plastic bag until you use them again 🙂


  • This is SO lovely! Pretty flowers, bright colors, and fun balloons?! Sign. Me. UP!


  • Love this! Especially the paper garland, we live in a rented house and are desperate to inject a bit of colour and personality and this would be the perfect way to do just that without redecorating!

  • well, your new pad is nothing short of absolutely darling! and this soiree is so pinnable. I’m sure you’ve sparked many ideas for all of us 🙂

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • Super cute. I totally agree on skipping the temporary decor for more permanent things that you love. I’ve been in my house two years and I live alone with my two dogs so every house project takes me what feels like triple the time! I’m ALMOST ready to have people over. It’s not perfect, but it’s not as much of a hot mess haha…

    PS. OMG! A big awesome Jeremy smile!!! 😀

  • This is really beautiful! I especially love the floral arrangements and succulents:)

  • Looks like such a joyful party!

    By the way, really fun to see Jeremy smile like that. He has a lovely smile!

  • So pretty and cheerful! I’m with you– permanent updates are just as fun as one-time-only decor, and they last a whole lot longer! 🙂

  • Hello wonderful people! Your party looks so joyful and lovely! I was just wondering if you could advise on how to best store such an extra-long garland to use again. I’ve made similar paper-and-string garlands, but I find that they often get too tangled during transport and storage. Do you have any tips?

  • I am so jealous of all of y’alls clothes! Ugh how cute can y’all get??? Those outfits are perfect

  • What an adorable party! I especially love all of the pillows. I am definitely going to refer to some of your diy projects when I move into my own place and start to decorate! I’m always inspired by your posts including home decor because your homes always seem to be so unique yet have a very cohesive style! Love it!

  • Those pictures look like pure happiness!!!! Congratulations 🙂

    I just moved to Italy and I am happy to say that I finally live in a pretty place as well.
    Love from Italy:


  • I love all the colourful touches – it makes the environment a lot more fun and inviting for guests. I bet everyone who was driving by wished they were at that party! 🙂


  • I agree that I’d rather have my space filled with more long lasting décor than having to buy a bunch of -probably disposable- stuff for one party. I love having a house warming party a few months into living in a new space because it forces me to get at least part of my space looking presentable. Things are never all done in time, but it helps me focus on what’s important to me – having a space to share with people I love, no matter how imperfect it may be.

  • We’ve met quite a few of them and they are all really nice. There is a house across the street everyone calls “the complex” that has multiple renters and I don’t think I’ve met any of them yet. So, we’re still pretty new to the area I guess. 🙂


  • I had a friend in high school whose dad was in home repair/construction. So they always had projects in their house. I remember taking a shower at her house once when I stayed over and her bathroom floor was like that, it was crazy! I ask her how long her dad had been working on it and she said over two years (I suspect he didn’t get tons of time off to work on personal projects).

    Anyway, good advice. I think we don’t totally feel “done” with the house but it’s close enough to have a party. 🙂


  • As I am looking threw this a question came to mind. What do the neighbors think of you guys?

  • I absolutely love your décor Emma! The little pops of color make a beautiful contrast with the white. I wish to have a porch like yours one day 🙂

    xoxo from Miami,


  • I lived with my brother for two years when he moved into his old house. We literally demoed the place down to the studs and floor beams. We were jumping from floor beam to floor beam to get to the bathroom, while trying not to fall to the basement! Ha! It sounds crazy now. But all that hard work— we kept talking about having a house warming party when it was all finished. But he’s still working on the place (last touches, like finishing the basement), and it’s been almost 6 years now. Still no house warming party. I’d highly recommend people not wait until things are finished to throw a party, because it might never happen! One year after is good. And you guys worked hard on fixing that place up in a year. Other people aren’t able to do so much work in one year and might avoid having a party because of that. Just my two cents. 🙂 (Here’s our old AT house tour from back then: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-bright-beautiful-bungalow-fr-103843)

    The party looks like fun— and Lucy loved looking at the pics too! She kept asking me who everyone was, and talking about the “buhbuh” (baby) and balloons! 🙂


  • I adore the color scheme of your party decor! & I love adults that are so thoughtful of tiny guests – so great to remember little things like the thrill of bringing home a balloon 🙂

    Warm Regards,

  • Gorgeous, bright and happy.

    Looks like a lovely day. Congrats on the new home. Such an exciting time!!


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