Entryways are a space we think about a lot. They're the first room you come to in a home, the only one, really, that every single visitor always sees, and often one that gets overlooked.
Yet the interior designer Kate Guinness puts it perfectly when she says “think about what you need from your entryway. Is it a room in its own right and has a function? Do you need storage? A mirror to check your make-up on your way out the door? A beautiful runner to welcome guests? A console table to keep keys and other bits and bobs. What about shoe and coat storage?”
Every home will be different in terms of priorities and what is really needed for the people that live within those four walls, but here are some of the key things that designers think work particularly well when it comes to entryways. As the first space we see as we step back home, and the room that connects the whole house, I can’t think of a more important space to get right. And this is what designers say the best always have them in.
1. A mirror
Having a mirror in an entryway serves two important functions. On a very practical note, having a quick glance in a mirror on your way out the door is a great opportunity to do those final hair and make up checks. And as well as reflecting the red lipstick on your teeth (please say it isn’t just me?), it also, more importantly, reflects the light. As a space in our home that is often missing this very thing, this is a great, simple trick - they easily make a small entryway look bigger.
For these, and other reasons, renowned designers often ensure that a mirror is incorporated into an entryway design. Kate Guinness also agrees and shares what are her go to’s when considering what is important for this space in a home. “Musts for me include a console for key storage with a beautiful mirror above. Good decorative lighting, and a lovely rug,” she says.
2. A tray
If you are anything like me and you find yourself spending, what feels like, hours trying to locate your missing phone (or purse, or keys…) on a regular basis, then having an entryway that encourages repetition and order could be a great solution for you.
Creating this sense of order could lighten your mental load and make life a little easier when it comes to how to organize an entryway. But it could also help us to signify something much more important. Sophie Rowell, founder of Cote de Folk, explains how “having items that create rituals in a hallway that we repeat on a daily basis signifies to us that we are ‘home’. A tray to place keys, a certain spot for our coat and shoes. All these daily tasks that we take for granted is what makes our home ours.”
Giving yourself a reason to smile everytime you walk through your front door is exactly what interior design should be about. Move away from thinking about this as a space you walk though to get to your destination and think about it instead as the first place you see as you come back home after a long day. Find a way to spark your joy - whether that is in the colors you choose for the woodwork, or the art you choose for the walls.
Interior designer Laura Stephens always encourages her clients to be bold with their entryway decoration. “It's a transitional space so you can afford to go bold and it always pays off. Entryways are the gateway to your home… they need to make your heart sing when you open the door.”
4. Layered lighting
Having layered lighting options in any space is always important, and the entryway is no exception. When considering what lighting options you need a good starting point is to think about what you will be doing in the space as well as the amount of natural light you already have.
It is also worth considering whether the space could benefit from a focal point, and whether this could be achieved with some fabulous pendants. The designer Analisse Taft-Gersten explains further. “Entryway lighting is very important. For instance, is there an opportunity for a row of fabulous pendants? Or, if the ceilings are low, recessed lighting and wall sconces are a great option.”
It is no surprise that the warmest homes are often those that feel most like an expression of the people that live there. As the gateway to the rest of your home, entryways are vital in setting a tone and atmosphere. Incorporating personal touches so that the space is a true reflection of you, and your life, will ensure you and your guests feel quickly at ease when walking through the door.
The designer, Nina Garbiras talks passionately about this very thing “The transition between the outside and "in" should be personal - a good entry can herald you home - or send you off with a sense of belonging. I don't care how small - put up a mirror and attach postcards that make you feel inspired - if you have a tiny table for your keys and mail - leave room for a vase with flowers. Or get a table that has two tiers so the mail and gloves etc., can be in a basket on the lower shelf, but what you see most are the sprigs you picked on your evening walk and a photo of your beau, your kids, or your dogs - whatever reminds you of something or someone you love. That should be what you see coming in and going - not forty pairs of shoes and athletic gear.”
The Livingetc edit of what an entryway needs
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Charlotte Alldis started her interiors Instagram account Thrifted Abode nearly five years ago. Since then she has renovated two properties and has been passionately learning about interior design along the way. She has just launched her interior design consultancy whilst also continuing to work as a Marketing Director for a hotel. Her work as a marketeer over the last decade has given her great foundations to appreciate good aesthetic design and the power of fantastic photography. She is beyond excited to finally kick start her interior design business.
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