Create a welcoming entry to your home with this easy foyer decorating formula.

By Sarah Egge
June 08, 2015

Some homes have entry spaces labeled "foyer" on the house plan, while others make do with a front door that opens directly into the living area. No matter what setup you have, visitors get their first sense of your home at the entry. For decorating purposes, this can be an intimidating thought. Just how do you express your home's style and comfort in one small space? It turns out, a simple-to-follow formula can help you create a welcoming entry.

1. Define the Space 

If you have a hallway or a vestibule that is separate from other rooms, you are in luck. Doorways, arches, even changes in flooring types can help distinguish the foyer. If your entry is a landing pad that's part of another room, you'll need to define it to give the entry distinct boundaries. Easy visual tricks and well-placed decor elements make it simple. Lay down an area rug to define the entry area; arrange a folding screen, coat rack, or console table to delineate the space; or hang a curtain from the ceiling to act as a gentle barrier.

2. Honor the Architecture

All foyers contain front doors, and many also contain stairways and doorway openings to other rooms. Help these architectural features shine as the assets they are. Start outside: Front doors should be clean and in good condition; consider a coat of bright paint, such as tangerine, to create an uplifting greeting. Once inside, make sure molding around the doorways and up the stairs is well cared for. A fresh coat of paint or shiny varnish can perk up tired moldings. The stairs get run-down from daily use, so use a critical eye to assess if the carpet needs replacing, the risers need painting, or the banister needs a coat of oil.

3. Play with Color

Color can play an important role in the foyer, helping to define the space and convey the spirit of your home. Show a sense of whimsy and fun with bold-pattern wallpaper. Display a love of nature by bringing water or foliage hues to life in this space. For a  serene and spa-inspired home, layer the foyer in milky hues. The foyer is a contained spot where you can take the sort of decorating risks that you might not want to spread throughout the other living spaces. Experiment but use details to connect the decor to adjacent spaces. For example, if you use a bold wall color in the foyer, pick up the color as an accent in a pillow or other accessory in a connecting living area to ensure comfort and flow between spaces.

4. Be Thoughtful with Accessories

The most important accessory for a foyer is a mirror. As you head out the door, one last hair check is a must. As a guest, you want to give yourself a quick look before heading into the home. A mirror also bounces light into the small space, making it cheery and bright. Other welcoming touches include artwork and something fresh, such as a live plant or cut flowers. Avoid hanging a family photo; something so personal is best reserved for private spaces. Generally, keep clutter to a minimum. In a small area that can, at times, be full of people, too many knickknacks or extra furniture will make it feel claustrophobic.

5. Put It to Work

Finally, make the foyer earn its keep. List the functions you need the foyer to perform: Do you entertain often? You'll need a place to put guests' things, even if it's simply a row of hooks. Does your family set out for the day from here? You'll need storage for umbrellas, mittens, boots, and briefcases. A slender hall table will capture the mail, keys, and phones. Or, consider putting a chest of drawers in the foyer and hiding a charging station in the top drawer. If you live in a cold-weather climate, you might want a bench or stool to help family members put on boots.

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