How to Choose the Right Color for an Entryway — Tips From Designers to Set the Tone Right

When arriving home, the entryway is the first area you enter, so what a great space to give a first impression from. Create your ideal ambiance through color suggested by the experts

(Image credit: Abigail Jackson. Design: Carolynleona)

Entryways are the first thing we see, or our guests see when they arrive, the welcome into our homes, and as a space it should make you feel calm, relieved, and safe. They also offer the first impression of your home when walking through the front door, so (no pressure!) but the design in this space automatically sets the tone for the rest of your home and will no doubt speak to the other rooms in terms of how they connect to one another and ease of flow.

We’re taking a look at how to find the best colors for small entryways to create a calming effect, welcoming warmth and overall comfort for inviting you inside.

How to find the right entryway color

A dark blue entryway with large dark wood staircase

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

As the first glance into your home, you’ll want to make the best of the entryway, a feeling of home and comfort will greet anyone who visits. Ideally, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when stepping through your door. However, what is calming to one person is not necessarily the same for someone else, as Angela Higgins, founder and principal designer at Nourished Home says. ‘We can look at options and what they invoke in general but selecting what resonates with you and personal feelings and preference is important,' Angela tells us.

Relationships with color

An neutral entryway with a chair

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Color sets the mood for the overall ambiance in the home, igniting personal responses. ‘Color acts like a subliminal message, influencing your thoughts and emotions,’ says interior designer Kim Colwell, ‘Dynamic color combinations stimulate our imagination and when color is dissonant it can trigger a stress response.’

Each color has an archetypal way it impacts us on a subliminal level and this, alongside our own personal relationships with color, can have a nostalgic effect just like certain smells or music. This is most definitely something to bear in mind when forming the palette for your entryway ideas.

Color theory and suggestions

A forest green entryway

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Green is known to be very calming, soothing our minds and nervous systems, plus it boasts a timeless feel, no matter the period or style of house. ‘It’s warm and muted, but not enough that it fades into the background, so it works beautifully alongside paler shades like delicate pinks, clay and stone, as well as darker, richer colors such as browns, blacks and deep earthy tones.’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.

To create a real sense of calm and harmony, she suggests nature-inspired shades such as sage or forest green as colors to go with olive green — this will set a restful tone and comforting atmosphere. Helen Shaw, director of marketing at Benjamin Moore recommends a combination of soft pastels, ‘They will offer the perfect injection of colour and their calming tones won’t be overly stimulating, as they require our eyes to do little to no adjusting. Pinks and greens go hand in hand, and being complementary colours they work to elevate each other yet are far less contrasting and harsh than green and red, for example.’

If you prefer a more neutral style, ‘Pairing warm neutrals such as whites, beiges and creams together will ooze comfort in a classy and effortless way.’ Elevate the palette with layers of texture such as dark woods, tactile bouclé textiles and sleek stone surfaces such as marble and quartz and be sure to stick to warm undertones, vital to avoid a cold, sterile feel that could potentially be jarring.

3 hall trees to introduce color

Connecting spaces

A large entryway with table and decor and an open view through to other spaces in the house

(Image credit: West of Main Design)

It's also important to consider the aspect of the views into and from the entryway, as a view-through could make or break a color scheme. Strive to create a flow room to room to benefit fully from the entire space you live within.

‘If a neutral scheme is the best option for the adjacent rooms, consider choosing a statement colour for your hallway ceiling, as this will likely remain unseen through open doorways,’ suggests Ruth. Don't forget entryways are the literal transition from outdoors to indoors, so it’s wonderful for extending the natural environment's beauty inside by introducing leafy or forest green hues.

Ruth also reminds us not to be afraid to opt for a darker hue in this space, even in a small entryway. ‘Create a uniquely welcoming feel with dark sumptuous colours, selecting a shade that gives a sense of continuity and transitions seamlessly from room to room, providing a sophisticated, cocooning feel’.

Patrick O'Donnell, a color consultant for Farrow and Ball takes a different perspective, explaining that we should focus on techniques like half painted walls, rather than colour schemes. ‘Entryways are high traffic areas in the home, so practicality plays as big a role as aesthetic. However, these two factors can sit happily side by side without compromise and to great effect. One easy trick is to use one color in two finishes - paint the lower half of the wall (to chair rail height) in Full Gloss, carrying over the skirting for even more drama and accentuated height. Then, paint above in Modern Emulsion, a fully washable finish.’

Only you will know what will work best for you and your family, yet keep in mind the much needed feeling an entryway needs to welcome you back inside each time you return.

Portia Carroll

Portia Carroll is an interior stylist, writer, and design consultant. With a background in interior architecture and design, she has a plethora of creative experience in the industry working with high end interior brands to capture beautiful spaces and products and enhance their qualities.