As you open your front door, you hope your guest instantly feels right at home! The entryway, or foyer, is the first stop on their visit. (See my previous post on 6 Ways to Enhance Your Front Porch for ideas on how to welcome your visitors before they even get inside!). What is the first thing they see as you open the door? …You, of course! But after your cheerful greetings, what will they notice? Is there a convenient spot to drop their bag or take off their shoes or remove their coat? Or is there an awkward moment when they aren’t sure what to do or where to set their belongings?
We’re going to supply you with the essential elements every foyer should contain. At the minimum, this area must contain a place for visitors to put their shoes, drop their bags, and hang their coat. Plus we’ll suggest a few additional ideas to make your entryway welcoming, practical, and functional.
Minimum: place for coats, shoes, bags.
Coat Closet or Hooks
As we mentioned previously, you must have a place for coats, shoes, and bags. A coat closet, hutch, or hooks are the perfect spot to hang coats, scarfs, hats, umbrellas, and bags. A built-in closet is ideal, but no worries if you home didn’t come with one. There are a million ways to add hooks to your home: on a hutch, floating shelf/hooks attached to the wall/hanging rod, a horizontal wood beam, or a pre-made shelf designed for entryways. Your guests won’t have that awkward moment if there is an obvious area for their items. (And don’t worry if your closet or hooks are filled. When a guest sees your red rain coat, your child’s pink polka dot sweater or monster truck hat,your puffy winter coat, etc. they feel a bit more welcomed into your lived-in/non-museum home!)
This element is the same idea as the last one. You want to avoid the moment your guest looks around wondering where to throw their shoes. Have shoe racks set in the bottom of your coat closet, built-in, or hutch. Offer a large basket for everyone’s shoes to pile one, or have a few smaller baskets so your guest can choose. Low on space? Hang additional hooks near your baseboards to hang shoes on. This keeps them off of the floor yet easy to reach.
Okay, so you have the bare minimum covered: a designated space for hanging coats or bags, plus dropping shoes. Everything is else extra, additional touches that will make your foyer more welcoming and beautiful!
Having a table in your foyer makes for an easy drop zone. Leave money on the table for when the pizza guy comes. Your friend left a dish at your last party; set it on the table so it’s easy to find when she comes to pick it up. Plus, it offers a great spot for homey details like a mirror, lamp, or candle.
Lamp and/or Chandelier
Whether it’s early morning, a stormy afternoon, or a late night, you want your guest to have soothing yet efficient lighting to fetch their belongings. Avoid harsh, bright chandeliers or stark builder-grade fixtures which always shock the eyes when turned on. Instead opt for a table lamp with a bright bulb that is softened by the shade, or a light chandelier for elegance and a more powerful light.
Here’s the thing about rugs: they are made to look really cute yet handle tough dirt. Yes, by all means, get your porch a nice front door mat and fill your foyer with a rug. But, make sure that it’s one you don’t mind getting soiled or that is easy to wash. I prefer to have a rough mat outside on my porch so that anyone can rub most of the nastiness off their shoes before entering, and then I have a decorative rug in my foyer that is easy to throw in the washing machine if needed.
“Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” said the greedy Queen in Snow White. She was obsessed with beauty and youthful looks. While your friends and family may not be that extreme, most people like to check their appearance. Plus you’ve probably wanted a quick look at yourself before you open the door to entertain your visitors, too. Have a mirror on the wall or one set on your table to allow for a bit of vanity. Don’t forget that a strategically placed mirror adds depth and dimension to your foyer as well.
The perfect foyer is complete once you have a sufficient location to drop bags, hang coats, and place shoes. Once you have those elements, you can add more to your entryway with a table that has a cozy lamp and decorative mirror. Don’t forget a bench to offer an inviting welcome or a spot to slug off your stuff as you enter your home.