“While sometimes overlooked, the entryway is actually one of the most important rooms when thinking through design,’ says Kathleen Walsh, Principal of Kathleen Walsh Interiors (on HomesandGardens.com). After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and your entryway is the first—and last—impression people have of your home. How can you make your entryway memorable for all the right reasons? Start by thinking through who uses your entry and how they use it. Is it the main entrance for family and friends alike, or just guests? Then, consider the following…


Image: Tilzz.com

By definition, entryways are just inside the outside, so you’ll likely want something practical and hardwearing that won’t show dirt. That doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful! Entryways are smaller than the average room, so you might even be able to splurge a little. A beautiful (non-slippery) tile can make a statement, and tiles laid on the diagonal make a space feel wider than it actually is. If your floors are wood, the entryway can match…but consider laying it in a different pattern, like a chevron that subtly points the way in. Or opt for a striking rug, a great way to help define an entry that doesn’t have walls.


Image:  Pinterest

Ideally, an entryway has a place to sit, a place to set and a place to stash.  Sit—because it’s nice to sit and deal with shoes or wait for the rest of the family to gather. Set—because a convenient place to hold keys, purse or pizza money is always helpful. Stash—because you don’t really want all those coats, backpacks, etc. cluttering up your space, do you? Even a set of hooks helps organize clutter. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on custom furniture, either. A repurposed dresser, like the one in the picture, could be just what you need. (Training your kids to use it is another matter.)


Image:  Sherwin-Williams

Unless you’re a grump who hates visitors, you’ll want your entryway to welcome all who enter. Color can help with that. As mentioned in the floors section, it’s a smaller space than most so you can go bold or stay neutral. Just make sure your entryway doesn’t look like it belongs in a completely different house. It should complement, not compete with, the rest of your décor. There are so many options: wallpaper, painted designs, a feature wall…or you can keep the walls the same as the rest of the house and add a pop of color on the door and ceiling, as shown in the cheerful entry above.


Image:  West Elm

There is likely already a light of some kind overhead in your entry, but is that really enough? Brighten up your space with a well-placed lamp or two. It’s a way to add style and function in one go. No room for a table big enough to hold a lamp? Consider a floor lamp or wall sconces, which come in a multitude of styles and don’t always need an electrician to install.


Image:  Collov Home Design on Unsplash

Introduce your personality right from the get-go with entryway artwork. The options are literally endless, from a statement painting or sculpture to a gallery wall of family photos. A mirror is almost always a good option. Not only does it offer a place to check yourself out before opening the door, it can reflect light and add the illusion of extra space. Before you hang that mirror, though, be sure to check out what’s being reflected in it. You may decide one version of that view is enough. Shelves or furniture offer more places to share your style with plants or flowers, a bowl for keys, or anything that makes you smile.


Image:  Wayfair

The trend for open floor plans has seen the demise of designated entryways in many modern homes. But you don’t need walls to create an entry. You can define a zone with furniture, like adding a bench, table or low bookshelf behind a couch. Or hang a handy shelf with hooks on the wall, pop a bench under it (and maybe pop baskets under that) and boom! Instant entryway. Even a tight space can be entryway-friendly with the addition of a skinny shelf and a mirror.

Now that you know what to look for, go outside and come back in. (We’ll wait.) Once you’re back inside, take a fresh look at your entryway and decide if any of these ideas would make your home’s first impression better. Happy decorating!

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