There is one place in your home that guaranteed, everyone will see. The entryway! It's where you greet your guests, welcome in new friends, and say hello to your family on special days. It's the first impression into your home - a glance into your style, personality, and family life. Here's how to make sure it's speaking the language you want others to hear! In designing and "tweaking" entryways for sellers, I have found at least 7 Common Elements to every well-designed entryway. Hopefully some of these will inspire you in your home!
The first thing to address is lighting the space. Sometimes, you already have great natural light, and with a fresh color of paint on the walls, the entryway is bright enough. However you may have guests at night, and you don't want a dark room to be their first impression of your home. Correct that by installing a light fixture from your ceiling, add a sconce or two on the walls, or choose a great table or floor lamp to put with a table or bench that complements your decor.
Secondly, I suggest choosing something bold that becomes the focal point. This can consist of a great piece of art - something that adds color, texture, or just something you love! Or, consider a large mirror to fill the wall. This is great for reflecting light, and it's also a bonus when you want to check your smile right before walking out the door. So, grab a great piece of art or a mirror and hang it so that the middle of it is about 60 inches from the floor. This varies slightly depending on the height of the furniture that may be below it, but it's a good starting point.
The third tip for designing a lovely entry is to find a great rug to establish the space. For function, we all like small doormats for wet, dirty shoes. However, this is not the way to DESIGN your room. I only like those out when it's raining or snowy outside. My suggestion is to keep one of these in a closet nearby, and choose a beautiful rug to have on display when possible. Check out this House of Jade-designed entryway below. Notice how the rug is the same shape as the entryway, and gives a great pop of color to the space. The darker colors here could even camouflage some small amounts of dirt. Also keep in mind that the rug should be a foot or two from the walls. This gives room for furniture to sit nicely beside it.
House of Jade
My fourth tip is to have a great basket or two to corral backpacks, shoes, scarves, jackets, or whatever else comes in with you. Extra blankets are a nice textural item to have peaking out. You'll have to choose baskets according to the space you have. There's only a small basket hanging on this ladder in the image below, but notice a large basket also tucked behind the coat rack for larger pieces. Plan ahead and get one (or a couple) that fits the space.
The fifth entryway tip is to create a drop zone. A beautiful tray, shallow bowl, or even a small basket can hold keys, cell phones, stamps, mail, lipstick, loose change, or any other small everyday object that you have. Keeping these items contained in a spot creates order and calms the surface.
Now for tip #6. Keep your entryway natural and "alive" by adding something organic. My suggestion is a nice plant that has some height. This could be in the form of branch cuttings from your yard arranged in a vase, beautiful flowers, or an apothecary jar of green moss balls. If you choose art instead of a mirror, make sure the flowers coordinate with the colors in it. You can't go wrong with white flowers, an orchid, or simple greenery.
The last tip, number 7, for a well-design entryway is to add your personality to the room. Check out the art in this photo above. Clearly these owners love big, bold art. Some like geometrical patterns (like below), others love family photos. Readers sometimes stack books on their entry table - always a good thing, because you can use them to layer items on top and give some of the pieces height, when needed.
To sum it up, an entryway may be last on your mind when setting up your home. That's totally understandable from a functional point of view, but when you're ready, it can really be a fun space to jazz up. As some designers like to say, it really "creates a moment" for your guests. It's also a great way to welcome yourself home each night. Writing about all of this has inspired me to update my own entryway. When finished I'll be sure to post pictures on Facebook and Instagram. My space is teeny-tiny, so it'll be an adventure!
Happy decorating! If you need help, you know where to find me! -Shana
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