Lauren Phillips and Lisa Milbrand for Real Simple on great entryway ideas.
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Put your best foot forward with these smart entryway ideas.
Entryways are often the forgotten spot in the home—rarely redecorated or shown some design love. But the space that welcomes you home—and welcomes your guests—is an important one to decorate and design as best you can.
One of the inherent difficulties of pulling together some nice entryway ideas is balancing utility and aesthetics. Ideally, a well-organized entryway closet or some shelving can help with the utility aspect, but you still need to balance that with making your foyer a charming place to welcome your friends or family to your home.
Fortunately, there are plenty of smart foyer ideas to organize the entryway and make it cute too. The key is multitasking: creating a space that offers all the storage and clutter-managing tricks your household needs while looking charming (and welcoming). Here are some of our favorite entryway decor ideas, lighting ideas, furniture ideas, and more so you can create a space you love.
1 Play With Contrast
To add more dimension to your entryway, color-block two contrasting shades on your walls. Go with a classic black and white look, like designer Gina Gutierrez, founder and principal of Gina Rachelle Design, did in the San Francisco home pictured, or opt for more vibrant colors, if that’s more your style.
2 Upgrade Your Lighting
Your entryway is the first impression you give to your home, and lighting can play a big part in setting the scene. To make your entrance feel bright and welcoming, choose a light fixture with lots of light output, Sheva Knopfler, decor expert and co-founder of Lights.com says—and make sure it fits your space. “For lower ceilings, always go with a flush or semi-flush light fixture,” she says. “If you have higher ceilings, something adjustable with a rod or chain
would be best.”
3 Embrace Whimsy Details
Abandon that perfectly-spaced gallery wall, and opt for mismatched artwork and photos that give a more free-spirited feeling to a room. In her Atlanta home, Jessica Davis, founder of the design firm Atelier Davis, displays her kids’ paintings—some framed, some hung with washi tape—in her entryway to inspire creativity and playfulness.
4 Add a Large Natural Element
Bring an element of the outdoors right inside the entrance of your home by adding a large vase with olive or dogwood branches to your entrance table decor. Besides being welcoming and warm, interior designer Jonathan Rachman says, “the entire vignette [of the branch-filled vase] is simple yet full of drama.”
5 Build a Cozy Reading Nook
Have some extra space to work with under the stairs? Turn it into a cozy reading nook, as Bria Hammel, the CEO and creative director of a namesake interior design firm, did in a client’s Wisconsin home. It’s the perfect invitation to settle in and relax as soon as you walk through the front door.
6 Add a Full-Length Mirror
A full-length mirror not only allows you to take another look at your outfit when you head out the door, but it also makes the entryway look bigger when stepping into your home. Sarah Pollio of Joinery & Design Co. placed this full-length mirror on the stair landing of her Minnesota countryside home to bounce more light around the space.
7 Put Down a Runner Rug
If your front door opens up into a long hallway, you may not think you have many entryway decor options—but you can use the layout to your advantage. “A runner rug is a brilliant way to open up your entryway and give the illusion of more space,” Corban De La Vega, chief marketing officer at DecorMatters says. “The length of a runner rug can make your hallway appear never-ending and longer than its true form.” Adding artwork and playful light fixtures can add even more intrigue to the space.
8 Add a Multi-Use Console Table
A great entryway space will combine both fashion and function—as shown with this entrance table setup by Devin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla. “The console is designed in a way that not only provides a spot to drop keys, mail, face masks, etc.; it’s low profile allows for two stools that can easily be pulled out for that kick-off-your-shoes moment,” Shaffer says.
9 Create a Staircase Gallery Wall
Are the stairs stealing all the thunder in your entryway? Use them as a design opportunity by turning the oft-overlooked wall space into a gallery of your favorite photos and artwork. To keep the design looking modern and clean use frames in the same style and color, as Regan Baker, the principal of a namesake design firm, did in this San Francisco home.
10 Revamp Your Entryway Closet
Instead of using your hall closet to tuck away all those things you grab when headed out the door—try transforming it into a sort of “family front desk,” like designer Jessica D’Itri Marés of Renovate 108 did in her Southern California home. “I wanted a dedicated area for things that are always coming or going from inside our house: shopping bags, gifts we purchase for others, library books, items to return, and so on,” she says. “I pictured a little jewel box that would be a joy to see in contrast to the more neutral walls of the entryway.”
11 Choose Bold Entryway Colors
Picking the right paint colors won’t contribute to the organization of your entryway, but it could distract visitors enough that they don’t notice any lingering clutter in the foyer. Plus, walking into a color-coordinated space like this entryway, with its matching door and ceiling painted olive green (similar to Rock Garden by Sherwin-Williams), is sure to soothe the soul.
12 Opt for Built-In Storage
Few home decor elements or entryway ideas look as effortlessly pulled together as built-ins: They imply that a space was made to be coordinated and tidy. True built-ins are pricey (and permanent), but faking the look of built-ins is always possible—and built-ins offer excellent storage with a high-end, customized look. This example, featuring a polished door option from Diamond cabinets, offers multitasking entryway storage space for every member of the household.
13 Upgrade Entryway Walls With Wainscoting
Entryways are heavily trafficked spaces, so they should be durable enough to withstand all that foot traffic (and the bumps, dings, and scratches that come with it). That’s why wainscoting is such a solid choice for entryways and foyers: The molding hides damage, the surfaces are easily wiped down, and the coverage protects the wall underneath. Paired with a softer shade (here, Drift of Mist by Sherwin-Williams), the crisp white paneling is especially eye-grabbing.
14 Make a Narrow Space Luxe
Sometimes, you may not have a choice: Your entryway is your laundry room, the storage spot for the recycling, or some other dual duty space. If it’s the recycling spot, the pet zone, or a large storage area, you can still make the space attractive with luxe-looking details that are still durable. In this entryway idea example, the marble-looking surface is actually hyper-durable Ice Onyx Formica Laminate, so it will impress guests and withstand laundry and washing-up chores at the same time.
15 Coordinate Entryway Furniture
The faux built-ins in this entryway inspo certainly get the job done when it comes to organization, but the careful pairing of the storage with a complementary wall color (Shoji White by Sherwin-Williams) makes the aesthetic work. With coordinated decorative accents, the furniture looks absolutely intentional—not a necessary fail-safe to keep clutter from overrunning the entryway.
16 Hang Easy Art
The wall space is the perfect place to value aesthetics over utility. You don’t have to spend a fortune on art: Frame pieces of wallpaper, kids’ artwork, or other things that are special to you. Don’t forget to add a mirror, too, for one last quick look before you head out the door.
17 Add Family Photos
A personal touch is always a nice way to enter a home. Line your entryway with an arrangement of photos of your loved ones to showcase some of your favorite people and memories.
18 Paint Your Entryway Staircase
Paint stair risers a deep, vibrant color to greet all who enter. A dark color in a high-gloss finish will help hide scuff marks.
19 Add a Little Seating
Make it easier to enforce your “no-shoes” policy by placing a chair that makes it easy to take them off—and give your entryway a cozier vibe.
20 Customize Storage for Each Family Member
Look for the perfect elements to corral all the items and help you maintain order. (Note: They may not be “entryway organization” items—think baskets, magnetic strips, or pretty hooks.)
Assign each family member a space or bin for their gear, so they know where to find it.