Think of the entryway as your home’s first impression. It’s not only where you greet your guests, but it’s also the first thing you see when you come home every day, so it should be both welcoming and reflective of your family’s personality. The less clutter and more style the entryway has, the better you’ll feel each time you step into it. As productivity expert Wendy Ellin, the author of Enough Is Enough, Get Control of Your Stuff!, has told New Home Source before, “Your entryway sets the stage for how you live.” Here are a few guidelines to follow when designing your entryway.
The Golden Trio
When it comes to an entryway, the combination of console table, mirror and slim table lamp is a perennial winner, a trifecta that can work in almost any size space as each of these items can easily be found in myriad sizes.
The first order of business is having a place to put “stuff” — mainly mail, keys and sunglasses. If you want to keep your entryway free of clutter, a place to store your mail in particular is a must, whether that’s a basket, a tray or something else.
If storage space is at a premium in your house, opt for a chest instead of a console. From table linens to paperwork, a piece of furniture with drawers can hold way more than most consoles. Look for one with legs so it sits a few inches off the floor to make the space feel lighter.
Dim It to Win It
The ability to dial the lighting up or down is key in an entryway. When you’re entertaining, a soft, warm light is welcoming. When you’re taking a few minutes to sort through the mail or pack a bag before leaving the house, a brighter space is better. A dimmer allows you to toggle between the two.
If you don’t have room for a table lamp, sconces combine style and form with a space-saving function. If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, nothing makes an entryway pop like dramatic overhead lighting, such as a chandelier.
Storage is Key
When the weather requires outerwear for a good portion of the year and there’s no closet within 15 feet of your entrance, consider adding a coat rack. If you’ve got kids, look for one with a built-in bench and cubbies or baskets roomy enough to fit shoes and backpacks.
Runners are great floor coverings for entryways because they visually lead you into the home. Use one to trick the eye into thinking your entryway is bigger than it really is. To define the entry space, adjust the runner’s length so it doesn’t extend all the way into another room or hallway.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
If you’re the type who likes to check your hair, your lipstick or your outfit before you leave the house, a mirror here will likely enjoy plenty of use. After all, this is the last spot check you’ll have before leaving the house every day. Mirrors also create the illusion of extra space, a boon for most entryways.
Whether you prefer to remove your shoes the moment you walk in or muddy shoes are a regular thing at your house, you’ll want a spot to sit and take them off. A single chair, stool or ottoman that can easily be pulled out from under a console will do. It doesn’t need to be the comfiest seat in the house, it just needs to be practical. Bonus if it comes with storage, too.
Pops of Personality
Remember that the entryway is a guest’s first glimpse into your home, so it’s the perfect spot to show off your family’s personality. A gallery wall of fun family photos, a bold paint color or a wall covering with color and pattern all say “Come on in!”.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.