5 things interior designers say are must-haves on your entryway walls – I've got 3, how many do you have?

Entryway wall decor is all about using creativity to make a great first impression – here are 5 things that shouldn't be forgotten

A red entryway with console table, mirror and vase
(Image credit: O&A London)

Entryways are vital in creating that all-important first impression. A great way to hint at what's around the corner, they offer a chance to set the scene, introducing your interior design style. ‘Entryways are the portals that set the stage for the entire home, but can also provide a bit of mystery,’ says Justin Capuco, co-founder and principal of New York-based design studio, Husband.Wife. ‘Without giving away too much, they serve as a sneak peek that invites visitors to explore further.’ For Justin, it's about allowing the space to exist on its own, not solely as a transition. 

Typically quite awkward places to decorate, their tendency to be long and narrow means we are often presented with the question of what to do with the walls - blank canvases that should be used to welcome a style into your home. I've spoken to the designers to find out what they are putting on their entryway walls, and it turns out I've ticked three of five boxes, with a bold color, entryway mirror and handy hooks, but I'm missing two other vital additions. What about you? 

1. Paint on the walls

A pale pink entryway

(Image credit: Kati Curtis Designs)

First up, think about the way you paint on your entryway walls. This immediately creates an impression, be that a soothing welcome into the home or bringing vibrancy and energy with wow-factor walls. 'Color is an element that could be used on entryway walls to really bring out inserted objects and let them shine,' says Paola Zuin of Vicenza-based, DID Studio. 

For something calming, go for a monochromatic color scheme with a muted sage, a dusky pink like this used in this entryway designed by Kati Curtis Designs, or a pale blue, helping to create that enveloping, tranquil entrance to your home. Alternatively, like what we've seen with the  trend for small powder rooms, avoid trying too hard to make the room feel bigger and just embrace the slender architecture of the space with bold color that will be sure to create an impression. 'Strong colors can create wow-afctor,' says Paola. 'It's not just paint, playful hallway wallpaper can also be a choice too.'

Think about the architecture of the room too. Dado rails are common architectural features of your entryway that often get unnoticed. They add texture, divide the wall to allow you to have fun and get creative with paint. Painting your dado rails in the same shade as the walls will give your entryway a real enveloping and ethereal feel.  ‘Dado rails or wainscoting can add an elegant touch, adding depth and sophistication to the walls,’ says Liat Eliav of the eponymous Barcelona-based design studio. ‘The key is to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality, creating a cohesive and visually captivating entryway.’ 

Templeton pink by Farrow & Ball
Editor's pick

Templeton pink by Farrow & Ball

A dusky pink tone could be the perfect paint to create a warming welcome in your home. With undertones of red, the shade brings a cozy feel to any space, and changes with light, becoming deeper and brighter with the day. 

2. Add a mirror

An entryway mirror above a console table

(Image credit: Nick Sargent. Design: Harper Design +Build)

Decorating with mirrors is an entryway essential. Not only will they help double up the narrow width of the space, bouncing light around the walls and using the power of illusion to make even small entryways feel bigger, but they can make for a decorative detail. 

Choose a larger than normal mirror or an interesting frame and don't be afraid to go full scale. In terms of placement, hang on your wall or place elegantly on a slim frame console table. For the largest mirrors, resting against the floor and leaning onto the wall can also make quite a bold statement. As well as a chance to be decorative and helping the space feel larger than it is, a mirror is a handy tool that helps with the routine of the entryway.

‘A mirror on a side wall is very helpful so you can touch up your makeup and check your outfit before exiting the home,’ says Lauren Benson of Robeson Architects.  

Atoll scalloped round mirror
Editor's pick

Atoll scalloped round mirror

If you're looking for a round white mirror frame to bring some interest to your entryway walls, this from Ballard Designs is just the ticket. I love the scalloped edging that will give your space a coastal feel.

3. Statement art

A red entryway with statement art

(Image credit: O&A London)

A great piece of art or wall art displayed in a gallery wall style is a great way to break up that wall space while injecting some personality into the room. Pick pieces that work with your wall color, complementing colors from opposing sides of the color wheel to balance the warm and the cool. 

You also want to play with scale. Mix and match the artwork. Make the most of wall space and choose a large-scale art piece that spans the full height of the wall, mixed in with smaller pieces. This will give the feeling of a collection that is curated, bold, and impactful. Longer entryways will benefit from gallery walls that make the most of the length. 

'The entryway is the first thing people see when they enter your home, so it's important to choose art that reflects a personal style and sets the tone for the rest of your space,' says Alla Yaskovets of O&A London. 

'When selecting art for an entryway, we think about what kind of message we want to convey to guests: a bold, statement piece or something more subdued. In most cases, we choose abstract wall sculptures or floral installations.'

4. Wall storage

An entryway with white paint

(Image credit: Hanna Grankvist. Design: Studio Nato)

Given their long and narrow shape, it's quite tricky to factor storage into entryway storage ideas. In-built, commissioned cupboards that sit in the entryway and storage benches that work hard, doubling up as a place to sit and put on shoes are great, but not ideal if you have a small entryway and are tight on space. 

Make the most of the wall space to hang hooks to your walls to create a practical area for storing coats, bags and more. Pick a decorative style of hooks so when not in use they'll look as good without anything hanging from them. 

Set of four dot hooks
Editor's pick

Set of four dot hooks

I like the irregularity of the shape of this set of four, in a elegant navy blue shade. Perfect for your entryway, play around with where you place your hook for the best results.

5. A console table

An entryway with console table

(Image credit: Brooke Schwab. Design: Stelly Selway)

While it's not strictly on the wall, a narrow console table or radiator cover can be the perfect way to introduce a surface to the entryway for a decorative moment. Acting more like an extra shelf on the wall, they are a place to store those handy things like a bowl for keys, coins, lip balms, those smaller items you tend to grab on the go on your way out the door. They can also be a space to curate a display of your favorite pieces. When it comes to how to decorate an entryway table, think sculptural ceramics, a candle, maybe a vase with a large sprig of olive or eucalyptus to bring some greenery into the space.

'When it comes to designing an entryway, there are a few key elements that can make all the difference and one of the most crucial pieces is a console table,' says Alla. 'They serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Choosing the right console can set the mood for the rest of the space while reflecting the home's interior style.'

Waterfall inlay console table
Editor's pick

Waterfall inlay console table

This brass-capped, arched console table is sleek and modern and has a glimmer of gold to bring an Art Deco feel to your entryway.

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.