Entryways can be really tough to design. They are one of those areas that you want to look beautiful since it’s the first thing you see when you walk through the door, but at the same time, they need to be very functional. And it can be challenging to meet both goals at the same time!
First, let’s start with the functional considerations. When designing your entryway, consider the following questions:
1. Will my guests be asked to remove their shoes?
- If so, they’ll need a place for the shoes, as well as a place to sit.
2. Do I need coat/purse storage near the door?
- How much? Will a freestanding coat rack suffice or will I need a larger piece of furniture?
3. Is the space dark and does it need more lighting?
- If so, consider adding lamps to the space.
4. Do I want a mirror in the entryway so I can give myself a quick look before I head out the door?
5. Do I need a place to put my keys and/or mail?
6. Are there any other storage needs?
Without proper thought as to how you use your entryway, the area can easily become the dumping ground for everything from kids’ backpacks to junk mail and that’s probably not the impression you want to give visitors to your home! So your design direction should first and foremost be driven by the number of functional considerations that you need to take into account. Once you have those figured out, you can determine what “fluff” you want to include. And that’s where the fun begins!
As you think about your layout and décor, keep the following in mind:
1. Your entry is your first impression, so as you design it, make sure that the items reflect your style and that you love each and every piece (I’m a big believer that if you don’t LOVE it, you shouldn’t buy it!).
2. Decide what the focal point is when you walk through the door. Is your direct view of a beautiful staircase or some other architectural feature in the room? If so, your entryway décor just needs to be there as “support” to keep the space from feeling empty. Or perhaps your front door opens facing a wall. In this case, you’ll need to use your entry décor to create a focal point in your home.
3. Make sure your furniture and accessories are properly scaled to your home. They should be big enough to visually fill the space, but not so big that they overpower it. And remember, the entryway is your home’s first statement and furniture that is too small for the space will not make a statement (that would be like whispering “surprise!” at a party!).
4. Continually evaluate the space to ensure that it isn’t too cluttered so that guests feel that they can easily maneuver through the space. Make sure that no furniture is blocking the flow of traffic. And if your kids are like mine, they always race to see who’s at the door, so there’s always at least three of us at the door whenever we greet someone!
5. Try to create an inviting space so that guests feel comfortable and welcome. Flowers, plants, varied textures and finishes, seating and ambient lighting are all great ways to create an inviting space.
6. Don’t limit yourself as to what type of furniture can work in an entryway. Again, it’s all about scale, so use whatever furniture best fits in the space regardless of what its intended purpose is. Sideboards, console tables, Bombay chests, tables, dressers and benches can all work wonderfully in an entryway so long as they fit the space.
Ready to redesign your entryway? Here are some more inspiring entryways to get you started.