4 Clever Small-Space Entryway Ideas

These tricks and tips help you get the most out of a small entryway so you can extend a big welcome to your visitors.

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Believe it or not, the greeting you extend to your guests begins before you open your door. It starts when they approach your home. Our small home, apartment, or townhouse entryway ideas will make even the tiniest spaces warm and welcoming.

  • Make your front stoop or apartment hallway as clean and well-tended as possible: no dead flowers and threadbare mat.
  • Give the door a good scrub or coat of paint if needed.
  • Use house numbers that can be read from the street.
  • If you're having guests come at night, be sure there's bright lighting so they can navigate the steps, read the house numbers, or find their way down the hallway.

Cast Flattering Light

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Once you've opened the door to invite people in, ensure you have a light turned on inside the entry space. This can be an overhead chandelier, a wall sconce, or if there's room, a table light. An entry's illumination should be dimmer than the outside light, so people don't feel they're in a spotlight. A soft light will cast a flattering and warm glow, which makes people feel at ease. You can install a dimmer switch on the wall or use low-wattage bulbs in the fixtures.

A Place to Hang Your Hat

Front Door Drop Zone

Guests come with things, and you'll have to find a place for them—even in a small entryway. If you don't have a closet, at least have a freestanding rack or wall-mount hooks for coats, hats, umbrellas, and handbags. Hooks can be hung on the back of the door, the wall behind the door, or in two staggered rows on the wall. A table surface is handy when guests arrive carrying gifts, flowers, or hot dishes. If you have the space for it, tuck in a svelte console table, or install a shelf at table height. A small drop-down table stays out of the way most days, and you only need to flip it up when needed.

Mirror Magic

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Mirrors are essential in any entry and can be downright invaluable in a small one. They offer guests a place to quickly check their hair or lip color when they arrive. They also bounce light around the space, making it feel brighter and more welcoming. Finally, a mirror offers a glimpse of another dimension, so there's a sense of greater square footage in the entry that fools the eye.

Hang a framed mirror, so the center is at the eye height of the average person. Generally, men are 5 feet 9 inches tall, and women are 5 feet 4 inches tall. Other ways to incorporate mirrors in a small entry include installing mirrored tiles from floor to ceiling on one wall, putting a mirrored door on the closet, or furnishing the space with a small mirrored console table.

Decorate to Linger

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If you have a home with a tight entry space, suppress the urge to flee it. There's always lingering that occurs at the doorway as people come or go. To make the space feel hospitable and like an important part of your home, take some care with it's decor. Boldly patterned wallpaper or bright paint colors create a lot of impact in a compact space. Artwork on the wall makes the area feel finished—not like an afterthought. A rug underfoot is a soft landing pad. And above all, the area should be clean and clutter-free.

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