In the old French Opera houses, a foyer was the space where actors relaxed when they were offstage. Since actors were accustomed to visits from family and friends during and after performances, these spaces were made large and grand. Maybe our homes (at least most of them) aren’t set up quite like the grandiose French Opera, but still, an entryway is a chance to make a first impression in your home.
And of course, they’re also a space that have to function as a smooth transition from the outside to the inside.
Easy enough, right? Well, there’s definitely some things to consider when planning out an entry space, and not every space will work the same way, but when intelligently designed, every entry can be both beautiful and functional.
CONSIDER THE MAIN FUNCTION OF THE SPACE
Think about how you’re going to be using the space the majority of the time. Do you entertain often throughout the year? Maybe you need extra hooks or closet space for coats and a bench for a place to put on or remove shoes. Does your family use this entrance as the main drop off when coming home from school or getting groceries? Maybe you need a key catch and a spot for bookbags. Once you know the function you need, keep it in mind as you decide every other part of the entry.
MAKE IT WORK
After you’ve thought about how you’re going to use the space, plan out what kinds of things you’ll need to make the space function that way! Think about what kinds of storage you’re going to need, and how much space you have to implement that. Even tiny spaces can be storage powerhouses. As we’ve seen from things like the tiny house movement, you don’t need a big space to store a lot! Check out storage solutions from places like Ikea that design specifically for small spaces, or create something custom for yourself! Use up those awkward spaces too, like nooks under the stairway.
Once you have the function in mind, and the actual types of storage or transition zones you’ll need in the entry, all that’s left is to beautify!
DEFINE THE SPACE
- Whether it’s a doorway, an arch, or even a different type of flooring, defining the space helps show its function. A change in flooring can also make an entry floor easier to clean, which is useful on rainy or snowy days!
- If your entry is within another room already, you can use a rug to help define the space. We suggest something durable like wool, or at least something that’s easy to clean.
- Use a coat rack or console table to further delineate the space and give it a clear function. Just make sure to keep enough space that the door can open all the way and people can move into the space.
INDULGE THE SENSES
Now that you have the space set, you can indulge the senses a bit and be thoughtful with accessories.
- A mirror is a great option for an entryway, as it serves as a quick check upon leaving or entering, but also helps throw more light into the space.
- If you’d rather have a boost of color, go for an eye-catching piece of artwork.
- Bring the outside in with some greenery! Plants liven spaces and are instant ways to make a space welcoming. This can be fresh flowers in a vase that you swap out regularly, or a potted plant. Even faux plants have a welcoming vibe!
- Don’t forget lighting! If you have higher ceilings, hanging a pendant or chandelier can be a great option for a statement. Smaller wall sconces can feel more intimate and provide that cozy feeling. If you’re unable to swap out or add larger fixtures, putting a lamp on a console table will do the trick!
- Try to keep clutter to a minimum. We know this is easier said than done! When you’re planning function of the space, think about ways you can contain all the items that will be coming into the house. Things like shoe baskets or closable cupboards can stash away coats and bags.
Not only can color be an inviting element of the foyer, it can also set the tone for the rest of your house. The great part about the entryway is the ability to go a bit more bold with color and pattern, since it’s an area of the home that we use a lot but don’t spend lots of time in (so you don’t get sick of your wallpaper as quickly). It’s also generally a smaller space, so also a less expensive space to redesign over the years if you do feel like you need a change.
KEEP IT UP
No matter what you decide to do in terms of design and decor, an entryway is designed to be put through a LOT, so acknowledge that in order for it to remain a welcoming (and functioning) space, it’s going to need some upkeep.
- Keep doors, trim, and any furniture and flooring clean
- Touch up paint when needed, or replace things like stair treads and banisters when they’re getting wobbly
- Periodically remove accumulated items, like sandals that are still in the foyer in January when they should be tucked in a closet.
Entries are not only an impression we make to others coming in to our home, they are also the first place we can feel “at home” ourselves, so keeping it well maintained and inviting for yourself is just as important.
Have fun designing! If you’re stuck, reach out to HAVEN – we love to help!
PS – The entryway was one of our Tuesdays at Two sessions! You can watch the full video here: