Creating Great First Impressions

“Your entry is your calling card to the world.”

Guest designer Susanna Salk shared this sage advice with us, and we couldn’t agree more. Your entry sets the stage for the rest of your home and makes a statement about your style personality. Regardless of the size of your space, you can create a functional and welcoming entry that gives the right first impression.

Foyerless Entry

Does your front door drop guests directly into your living space? You can still carve out a little bit of space to create an entry that seamlessly transitions into the rest of your home.

Every entry needs a convenient place for grab-and-go items, like your keys, sunglasses or mobile phone. On the wall immediately inside the door, drop in a small demilune cabinet to stow your items and showcase a favorite accessory or two. Hang a mirror above it to expand the space and bounce light.

Lack serious square footage in your home? Make the most of your space with multipurpose furniture near your entry, like our Sonoma Bookcase. Let it become your all-in-one display, bookcase and entry spot.

If your entry is particularly awkward or narrow, take advantage of your vertical space. Stand a stylish coat rack near the door and, if there’s room, hang a low shelf for space to drop your keys and display a votive. Or, install decorative hooks or a pretty rack to catch totes, hats, jackets and leashes—especially important if you lack closet space.

Modest Entry

Just because your foyer is small, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impression. Create a vignette that gives guests a preview of your home.

Find a great storage piece that you absolutely love and build your look around it. It could be a console, a repurposed buffet or a reclaimed bench. Just make sure you choose a piece with drawers or shelves for pull-out baskets below to stash the clutter.

Create a focal point above your table for major impact, whether it’s a large mirror or a gallery of wall art or family photographs. Accessorize below with personal objects—a vase, trinkets, a dish to drop your items, or decorative pillows that pack a punch if you have a bench. Toss down an area rug or runner to soften floors and define your entry space.

Lighting is so important to creating ambiance, adding warmth and highlighting wall décor or architectural details in your foyer. Find a fixture you love and double it. For example, flank a sideboard with two lamps or wall décor with a great pair of sconces. A simple hanging pendant or flush-mounted fixture provides ample overhead light in a small entry.

Grand Entry

Spacious entries are often the most challenging to decorate. A sparsely decorated, cavernous entry can come across as cold and uninviting. On the other hand, walking into a room with too much going on simply creates noise. Stick to things you truly love, and you’ll find the right balance.

In a large space, think large scale. You can afford to go big in your storage piece, wall décor and accessories. Add a glamorous mirror – or a whole wall of them. Fill the space on top of your table with tall decorative pieces, such as a vase with an arrangement of branches.

For those grand entries that feature a large staircase with an empty space beneath, this is the perfect spot for a settee or pair of comfortable wing chairs. Fill the space above with a mirror or artwork.

A large foyer screams for a statement making chandelier. Whether it’s a three-tiered crystal chandelier or an oversized lantern, the bigger, the better.

The foyer is a great place for drama. Bring the space to life with a great paint color or wallpaper. Choose a warm hue to help shrink the space and make it more inviting.

Have other thoughts on how to decorate a foyer? Leave us a note in the comments below.