“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.”
– Wendy Wunder
Home is a sacred place – where dreams are envisioned and subsequently realized, where memories are made and laughter is shared. Home invites authenticity and vulnerability, the bolstering of bravery and the launching of new journeys. At home, the weight of the day is lifted as we step through the threshold and are welcomed into our sanctuary, slipping shoes from our feet and releasing a contented sigh.
The entryway provides an opportunity to immediately experience the peace, rest and familiarity your home represents. Entryways transition us from the eventful world outside our doors and into the respite of our personal realm. They also present a natural pause for guests to experience the home’s ambiance while being welcomed through the front door – setting the stage for what they may anticipate in the rest of your home.
The size of your home does not dictate whether an entryway is inviting – in some of my previous homes (apartments, included!), the front doors opened immediately into common areas, with no designated foyer. Regardless of the architecture or size of your home, there are opportunities to decorate and define the entryway to reflect your personal taste and capture the essence of the rest of your home.
Defining Functional Purpose:
Before collecting items to leverage in your entry area, I recommend pausing to first consider the practical and functional aspects your entryway should fulfill.
When entering your home, do you prefer shoes be left at the door? If so, consider where they will be stored in the entry area, perhaps also accounting for a designated space to sit and a shoehorn within reach.
Do you like to have a “drop-zone” for keys, mail and other personal items? A vessel or tray would be beneficial and easily accessible for grab-and-go moments.
Is it particularly cold, rainy or snowy in your neck of the woods? An umbrella stand and coat hook/coat rack would be a helpful touch – perhaps even a boot tray to capture snow-laden footwear.
Continue with questions and thought processes along these lines, considering functional needs related to your surroundings, geography, climate and personal habits. Make a running list of the factors you want to address with your design. This will serve as a checklist at the end of your design process, ensuring your entry is both aesthetic and purposeful.
Identifying Ambiance: Your Home’s Heart Theme
After listing the practical and functional needs of your entryway, consider the essence of your home – what I like to refer to as your home’s heart theme.
What does the idea of home represent to you? Outline some personal descriptors that are particularly meaningful. Perhaps peacefulness and joy are themes you hold dear. Others may find their home’s heart is tied closely to the ideas of community and togetherness. Still others may gravitate to key ideals of refuge, serenity and sanctuary.
Keep in mind, we are each on a journey – we may find ourselves redefining what “home” looks like for any number of reasons and seasons, and your home’s aesthetic and heart theme may also change with time. As you think of home descriptors, keep things thematically simple. Don’t worry if the ideas that come to mind are aspirational – perhaps you outline an ambiance you are hopeful to achieve in your home with time and intentional practice. What better place to start setting a fresh, new tone for your home than in the entry?
Once identifying the home heart themes unique to you and your environment, the key is to then place intentionality in how you then reflect those attributes in your design aesthetic. For example, here is how I would translate some of mine into design elements, considering my home themes of warmth, love, joy, peacefulness and growth:
Warmth, Love and Joy: I gravitate to personal mementos in design – items that remind me of fond memories shared with loved ones and heirlooms tied to significant relationships. The small copper bowl that holds keys in my entryway was a gift from a close family member years ago. A driftwood candle holder on a lower entry console shelf was discovered by my husband during a trip to one of our favorite areas of the country. The large photo prints hung on the wall are reflective of key moments for my family (added bonus: the frames are one of my fave budget finds!). These are tangible reminders to me of the closeness shared with others and evoke joyful reflections.
*Disclaimer - House of Inverness has no affiliate relationship with any of the companies or linked websites in this article. These are simply products and sites we personally enjoy and use!
Peacefulness & Growth: Including greenery in the entry has duality of meaning – green is a very nurturing and peaceful color for me, and I find I like to include hints of it in organic shades throughout my home, entryway included. Incorporating green in the form of plants or arranged stem cuttings also ties directly to the theme of personal growth, as are the books I stack on shelves. I love Target’s selection of faux greenery lately, including this inexpensive greenery option, and if you don’t have time to peruse flea markets and antique stores for decorative books, I love the small business, Tiny Fern Shop, for curated book collections.
As you select items that reflect your home’s heart themes, don’t worry about whether guests pick up on the undertones of the items – it’s perfectly ok if no one knows the significance but you! At the end of the day, what’s important is not whether others recognize the intent behind your selections, but that YOU experience the beauty, value and intentionality of your home when you look at these curated items in your entryway.
Determining the Physical Entryway Elements
To outfit your entry, below are key elements to consider that provide the framework for your vignette – scaled to fit your space, curated for personal needs and styled to reflect your personal taste.
Primary Entry Elements:
- A console or surface. This may be a side table or a full console. Perhaps your entry has a bench that may be leveraged in lieu of a table surface. Maybe you simply hang a shelf and hooks near the door. This selection will ground your entry and create the setting around which you will incorporate other entryway elements.
- Lighting. My primary light source is an overhead antler chandelier. Perhaps you prefer the softer, ambient light of an accent lamp. Should you have an art piece on the wall, consider a gallery light above the collection. Regardless of where your lighting is placed, I recommend a switch near the door to allow for quick light adjustments as you enter or leave your home.
- Mirror or art piece. Hanging an impactful piece of art, gallery or large mirror above your primary surface draws the eye upwards and affords visual height to your space. Should you not have the space for a console or other surface in your entryway, a mirror or art piece can be used to define the space.
- Rug. Aside from its practical uses, a rug provides warmth, texture and dimension and conveys personal style. As an added benefit, if you don’t have a defined foyer for your entryway, a small throw rug will also help to set the space apart from the rest of the home.
- Sitting Area. Should your entry space allow for it, a chair, small stool or bench is helpful for putting on shoes or setting bags.
Once the framework of your entry is established, consider adding accessories to fill the space and further reflect your personal style.
Decorative accents may include:
- Baskets: Extra storage is always helpful, and in the entryway baskets can keep shoes and seasonal accessories gloves close to the door but artfully hidden
- Textiles: pillows/blankets to provide soft texture
- A boot tray or designated place to set shoes
- Umbrella holder
- Greenery: potted or stems in a vase – don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb! Faux florals have come a long way and can be highly economical.
- Decorative objects: sculptural elements, picture frames
Please keep in mind that all of these components are not necessary to create a warm and welcoming entry! These are simply suggestions that may be scaled to fit your space and personal style. In my previous apartments and small homes, I did not have architecture that naturally separated the entry from other living areas; however, I found that by considering decorations and furniture placement, I was still able to create inviting moments of transition and pause just inside the front door.
Pulling it Together:
Functional Purpose + Home’s Heart Theme + Physical Entryway Elements
You now have all the tools necessary to create an entryway that is functional, intentional and designed to uniquely reflect you and your home.
Whether you are experiencing the magic of embarking on an adventure or the even sweeter sentiments of returning home, the design you curate in your entry will provide significance to your comings and your goings. My hope is that even in the small scale of an entry nook, you have moments of pause to appreciate the joy that accompanies designing your home with intentionality and purpose.
How have you styled your entryway? What is your home’s heart theme? We’d love to hear from you!