Make a Good First Impression
Believe it or not, the greeting you extend to your guests begins well before you crack your door open. It starts when they approach your home. Take care to make your front stoop or apartment hallway as clean and well tended as possible: no dead flowers and no threadbare mat. Give the door a good scrub or coat of paint if needed. Affix house numbers that can be clearly 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
Once you've opened the door to invite people in, make sure you have a source of light turned on inside the entry space, too. 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 light outside, so people don't feel they are standing in a spotlight. 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
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. When guests arrive carrying gifts, flowers, or hot dishes, a table surface is handy. 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 it's needed.
Mirrors are important assets in any entry, and they 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. In general, 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
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.