[an error occurred while processing this directive] The $50 Fix-Up: A Nautical Themed Front Porch - Steven and Chris

The $50 Fix-Up: A Nautical Themed Front Porch

by in

It is officially deck season in Nova Scotia and design blogger Hailey Thomson’s good friends Meg and Justin recently bought a stunning 1860’s gothic revival house that needed its front porch fixed on a budget. It was time for another "$50 Fix-Up."

The Process

Photo collage of the freshly painted home before and after Hailey Thomson decorated the front porch.
The paint job was the first step to transforming the home. To give it character, the front porch needed a nautical-themed
$50 Fix-Up. Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Meg has a love for all things nautical, and Justin — well, he loves Meg — so nautical became the theme of this big porch!

The Picnic Table

Photo collage of the process of painting a wood table with black paint and tape.
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Supplies: old picnic table, painter’s tape, house paint

Justin owns a motorcycle shop and had an old picnic table they used for staff (sorry Justin’s co-workers!). The table had faded to a nice grey, so Hailey decided to paint a design on the table top rather than paint the whole table.

With some painter's tape and leftover house paint, the table was Pinterest-worthy in no time.

The Light

Photo collage of a hanging light on a front porch.
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Supplies: tomato baskets, zip ties, embroidery hoop, peg board, jute rope

From the minute Meg told Hailey there was a $50 budget, the lighting became her anchor for the whole project. Hailey remembered she had rescued some tomato baskets and used those as the main feature of the hanging light.


  1. First, she sprayed the baskets flat black and used zip ties, old embroidery hoops and a peg board to turn some garbage into a pretty insane light fixture.
  2. Hailey scored the light cord from a local shop in town for FREE (yay for bartering!). But the cord was pretty basic and she wanted a more nautical, rope-like feel.
  3. After picking up some jute from the dollar store and tapping into her childhood friendship bracelet-making skills, Hailey began the tedious task of wrapping the light cord with the jute. Note: This took hours and hours and hours. She even brought the cord to a party and wrapped while drinking daiquiris.

Beach Finds

Collage of the process of making a hanging centerpiece made from ceramic fish and wood sticks.
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Supplies: ceramic fish, leftover spray paint, acrylic paint, driftwood, rope

Hailey wanted some kind of driftwood element, but sometimes it can be incredibly overdone — so she made her own driftwood art.

She needed something that had a great acid green colour. That’s when she located two ceramic fish from an old tray in her dad’s basement (the bottomless treasure pit). Along with the fish, Hailey also found an old neon green spray can with just about eight sprays left in its life and a leftover ounce of acrylic paint. She sprayed and painted the fish with just enough paint, drilled holes in the driftwood and strung the whole thing together to make a hanging piece of art. All free.

The Pallet Bar

Pallet bar with pants on top.
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Supplies: wooden pallet, house paint

Justin and Meg enjoy eating dinner on their front porch with their children, so Hailey wanted a spot where they could fill a bucket with ice for bottles of wine or put all the condiments for a BBQ — thus the pallet bar idea was born. She also wanted some height to show-off cute plants.

Hailey scored a nice pallet from a building site and painted it with the leftover house paint (also used on other items from this project). Lastly, she added a scrap wood top and just like that, roadside garbage became a pretty freaking amazing feature piece on the porch!

The Details

Lime green shelf hung on a black porch wall
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Hailey found a half painted shelf in the shed (yay for hoarding!), and that went up on the wall to house the kids’ treasures found on their family walks. She also found an unused wall shelf in Meg’s office and painted a design on one of the shelves, then added sticker letters and a plant.

These supplies were all from the kids’ craft supplies. Can you tell she’s a huge believer in "using what you have first"?

two plant pots with plants
Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

A big pile of plant pots were found at a yard sale early in the summer. She sprayed the cheap plastic ones that came with the plants. Spraying anything flat black makes it instantly look more luxe.

To keep the bugs away at night, Hailey found a wicker tray online and used it to house the citronella candles. Candles were one of her bigger purchases. They needed some for the hanging candle holder Meg already had (and you can never have enough candles, right?). Hailey also painted the front stairs sides flat black to match the house. This small detail made such a huge impact! 

Picture collage of before and after a front porch fix-up.
This front porch underwent a dramatic transformation. After Meg and Justin invested in a fresh paint job for their home,
it was time for Hailey to take over. Photo credit: Hailey Thomson

Incredibly, Hailey managed to pull this fix-up for 35 cents under her $50 budget!

  • zip ties, $1.15
  • black spray paint, $7.50
  • plants, $7
  • plant pots, $2
  • jute, $1.15
  • tray for candles, $3
  • candles, $10.35
  • masonry paint, $17.50

Total: $49.65

Design blogger Hailey Thomson lives in rural Nova Scotia where her motto is, "Stop purging and hoard more, it pays for itself!" She loves refreshing dull spaces with a $50 budget. “I try and find potential in the unlikely and the unloved, all our junk deserves a second chance, right? You can find me armed with my drill and a can of spray paint, ready for my next project." Check her out here or on her blog, Here nor There.


Also on CBC