21 Ways to Enhance an Entryway

Looking to add vigor to your vestibule, fizz to your foyer? Try these easy ideas.

1. Define the space with a bold color like this red, which exudes a warm welcome.

2. A runner draws guests into your home. Keep it clear of the furniture so the space has a feeling of openness. And don’t let it extend the entire length of the hallway: You want to be sure that the front door can open freely.

3. Here’s a clever trick if you don’t want the hassle of cleaning a runner: Paint one on the floor instead (a simple, creative way to mask wear and tear, too).

4. Engage visitors immediately by creating an eye-catching wall display. Here, unused pieces of wallpaper are framed eclectically.

5. The same principle works beautifully with a grouping of ornamental mirrors, which has an especially dramatic effect on a dark wall.

6. For a more pared-down version of the idea, try filling a series of shadow boxes with family memorabilia, such as report cards, photos, luggage tags, and postcards.

7. Even a single piece of art can give a vestibule punch if it’s the right one, like this hanging scroll with a large-scale floral print.

8. Another simple idea: Position a mirror to catch the light and bring the sun into a darker hallway. Paint the mirror a clean, crisp white for added brightness.

9. A mirror also works to create the illusion of extra space by visually expanding a contained area. Just make sure that it is in proportion to the dimensions of the foyer.

10. Lining a staircase with family photos is a classic tactic, but you can really give them impact by making a tight arrangement in frames of the same style and color, in three or four sizes.

11. Paint stair risers a deep, vibrant color to greet all who enter. Bonus: A dark tone with a glossy finish will also camouflage scuff marks.

12. Or try adding a seasonally appropriate note to a banister, winding it with a garland of silk flowers for spring or fairy lights for the holidays, or―as here―adding autumnally colored trim.

13. If you have a little nook in the foyer, tuck in a table and a chair (or even just a chair) to give it a cozier feel.

14. Give the chair a bit of pop by covering it with fabric in a lively pattern. You could even recycle a length of tablecloth you no longer use.

15. For overhead lighting, suspend a pendant or a chandelier so that the bottom is six feet eight inches above the floor. If you hang it much higher, you’ll lose its visual effect. And if you hang it much lower, you’ll truncate the space.

16. A table lamp casts an inviting glow, too. Keep the base slim so the lamp doesn’t feel overwhelming, especially on a slender console table.

17. Maintain order in your foyer in ways big and small. Here, a rack originally made for line cooks keeps shopping lists, to-do notes, and other see-it-before-you-leave papers under control.

18. Say good-bye to muddy floors. Stow dirty or wet shoes and boots on plastic trays, which will also prevent puddles from damaging hardwood floors.

19. Give kids a place to sit and take off their shoes instead of kicking them off. A bench like this one has the built-in benefit of extra storage space.

20. Keep the multitude of belongings that seem to accumulate in a hallway in check with a variety of hooks, racks, and bins. Assign each family member one of the latter for mail or school papers.

21. The focal point of this back entryway/mudroom? A spacious dresser specifically devoted to storing hats, gloves, scarves, and the like.


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