Create an inviting entryway with a little creativity
It’s said you never get a second chance at a first impression and your house is no exception. When guests enter your home, you want them to both be wowed and feel welcome. While a small but busy space can present many design challenges, creating an entryway that is organized, inviting and beautiful is easily doable with a little creative thinking.
“It’s really easy for people to just think of function and not think of the design,” says principal of Purity Designs, Sydney Carlaw. While she agrees it’s important to think about where your belongings will go, she stresses the importance of setting the stage for what is happening throughout the rest of your home. “What are you trying to say when somebody enters your home? It’s always nice to have a clean space when you enter, to have a place to put your things, but then to also have a statement right away, as well.”
Whether you’re well-traveled, an art collector or all about family, create an eye-catching display in your entryway with what is most important to you. “Welcome people into your home by letting them know a little story of your life right away,” suggests Carlaw.
When opening the door to guests, you want them to feel welcomed right away and adding texture is the easiest way to warm up your space – try a rug over wood-grain flooring or textured floor tiles with decorative millwork. Adding a runner as soon as you enter (with enough space for your door to open freely!) draws guests in.
Carlaw suggests bringing life into your entryway with a small plant, fresh flowers or some succulents to make the space feel more inviting.
Lighting your entryway may not seem like a priority but the experts insist it should be at the top of your list. An entrance will appear to be larger and more inviting if it is well-lit and bright. “A lot of people will make it feel sterile and just have strong pot lights which are either on or off – and nothing about that is welcoming,” cautions Carlaw. Instead, she suggests a chandelier or table lamps on a console, both which can bring warmth to the space and make it feel much cozier.
Mirrors are an easy way to add depth and light to a darker hallway. A large mirror to catch the light or a group of decorative mirrors can both add to the visual impact while creating the illusion of more space.
If you have the room, add a chair to instantly make a space more welcoming. Small spaces may benefit from benches where guests can sit to put on their shoes.
Don’t be afraid to go bold. Without a lot of space to add interesting details, a bright pop of colour or dramatic wallpaper can easily define your entrance and create a warm welcome.
A lack of a traditional closet doesn’t have to stop you from keeping your entry organized and clear of clutter. The entrance to your home is often where jackets, shoes, umbrellas, bags and keys get left but it’s important to find a place for all your belongings.
Carlaw suggests baskets, hooks and coat hangers that all come in contemporary styles as different ways to keep your essentials organized. Consider assigning each family member a basket and hook or add a sorting station to deal with paperwork or outdoor gear as soon as it enters your home. Go vertical and add knobs, hooks with baskets or slim shelving to underutilized wall space.
In a small area serving many purposes, you need to find furniture that does the same. Multi-purpose pieces will allow you to make the most of the space and keep it visually interesting. Find seating options that hide storage or benches that double as shoe racks.
“There are so many ways that you can almost disguise the ugliness of shoes and jackets with design and make things functional yet still beautiful,” says Carlaw. Adding a jewellery box or decorative trays to a slim console table gives you a place to put your keys without it feeling like clutter. Slide baskets underneath so shoes aren’t simply left at the door but are still easily accessible.
If you generally decorate your home for the holidays, continue your décor into your entryway. Depending on the time of year, seasonally appropriate touches like spring flowers, twinkling lights or even spooky spider webs will all add to the ambiance and warmth you’ve already created throughout the rest of your home each season.
“Sometimes the entrance is as far as people get in your home!” says Carlaw. “So why not put a little more thought in that area as well?” Don’t miss your chance to make a great first impression; an inviting entryway is just an open door away.