Entryways are usually the first spaces in your homes that guests see and similar to a movie trailer, entryways give the first impression of the home and the style and décor to look forward to in the rest of the house. It makes sense then that you’d want your entryway to wow and make a great first impression!
However, this can be hard in practice if you have a small entryway that serves a multitude of functions – shoe storage, coat storage, a place to put mail or newspapers or keys, a place to put on shoes, leashes, etc. The entryway often ends up becoming a jumble of shoes and coats and an eyesore you quickly usher guests past.
Small entryways are one of my favorite spaces to design because you don’t need much to make a statement and with careful consideration they can be beautiful, functional and uncluttered spaces. Here are some of my top tips to decorating small entryways.
First, decide all the different functions you need from the space. Maybe you live a warm climate and don’t need to hang coats, you only need a place to put keys and shoes. Maybe you do not have a dedicated hall closet for coats and jackets and will need wall hooks or a coat rack to hang coats. Maybe you live in a rainy city and need somewhere to store a wet umbrella. The different needs for the space will dictate the most effective types of furniture and storage pieces to use. Some useful items to consider are listed below.
- Use entryway seating such as a bench or chair to make putting on or taking off shoes easy and comfortable for both you and your guests. If space is tight, perhaps a small stool can suffice. If you have the space, a bench can a luxurious addition!
- Wall shelves or small console tables provide a convenient and dedicated spot to put keys or mail. They can also be used to store or display accessories or décor items that really personalize the entry way. Wall mounted ledges are particularly helpful in narrow spaces as they don’t take up much visual space or floor space, but they can still hold keys and mail or display family photos.
- Think of ways to store shoes, coats, umbrellas, hats, etc. Clutter can make even the most well designed space unattractive. Storage pieces such as storage benches and closed storage baskets help keep the space well organized and hide clutter.
- If you are lucky enough to have a coat closet, use a closet system to maximize storage space for coats and shoes. There are a ton of options out there, from do it yourself systems at Home Depot or the Container Store or for a splurge, closet companies such as California Closets can work up and install a customized system for you.
- If you don’t have any closet space in the entry, you can use wall hooks or coat racks to consolidate and hang coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and pet leashes. A series of hooks can be hung in a pattern to make a design statement.
- A full length mirror or a wall mirror above a console table can be useful to take one last look at yourself before leaving the house and can help ensure you don’t leave with any food on your face! Mirrors are particularly good for darker entryways as they reflect light and open up the space, making a small entryway seem larger.
Once you’ve figured out the functional needs of the entry, you can start to go crazy with all the pretty decorative touches! Mix décor and design elements to really personalize the space and make a statement.
- Anchor the space with a rug or multiple rugs. One of my favorite looks for a narrow entry is to have a series of small patterned runners one after each other. It really draws the eye down the narrow space and can make a big visual impact. Consider materials such as leather cowhide or use indoor/ outdoor rugs to withstand the heavy foot traffic passing through the entryway. This isn’t the place for delicate silk rugs!
- Add in decorative lighting for that extra sparkle. If you have high ceilings, chandeliers can add drama and movement to the space, and can be found in a variety of styles from modern sculptural pieces to ornate crystal fixtures that suit your particular taste. Chandeliers can also be used to highlight any ceiling features such as architectural moldings as they draw the eye upwards. If you don’t have high ceilings, flush mount lighting, wall sconces or table lamps on consoles can be used to make a statement.
- Use bold wallpaper, colorful wall paint or large art to make the space come alive. Small spaces such as entry ways are the perfect places to experiment with color or pattern that might be too overwhelming in larger spaces.
- Functional pieces such as umbrella stands or coat racks can also serve as sculptural pieces and make a statement on their own.
- Don’t forget to accessorize to finish the look. A few accessories can really change the look of the space and can be changed up seasonally or whenever you get bored of the look. Decorative pillows or throws can be added to style benches or chairs. Empty corners or spaces can be styled with organic sculptural elements such as plants, real or fake. Empty walls can be used to display a gallery wall of family photos to welcome guests as they move through the space and are a sweet welcome home for you. Decorative trays can be used on console tables or shelves to place keys or mail.
With the right furniture and décor, small entryways can really make an impact, wow your guests and still be functional. If you need any assistance putting together your entry way or just need a few ideas, please feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to help!
Reena Chen | Owner, Reena Ravi LLC
I’m an interior decorator that loves to mix it up. I have a global eclectic approach to design. I love to draw inspiration from my multicultural upbringing and travels abroad and blend different styles to create stylish, functional and unified spaces. My mission is to approach each project from both an aesthetic and functional point of view, working closely with you to ensure the space truly reflects you and your needs and goals. When I am not designing, I can be found exploring different cities and restaurants with husband and dog Butters.
Learn more about working with Reena Chen of Reena Ravi Designs LLC through her eDesign Tribe Featured member profile!
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