With a little creativity, this small space can be beautiful and practical

We ask a lot of a foyer. this small space often doubles as mud room, mail-and-keys catchall and would-be shoe closet. It is also an introduction to your personal space and the part of the home your guests see first and most often. Creating a welcoming and sophisticated foyer starts with understanding the purpose of the area and with embracing the creative appeal of working within its limited dimensions.

Quick Tip

When it comes to foyers, set aside the theory of using light colors to enlarge a space. This is a great place to be bold and creative. Incorporate bright or dark paint with stylish furniture and accessories to create maximum impact.

Nice foyer

The most basic purpose of a foyer is, of course, to transition from outside in. It is where you shed the layers of the exterior world and enter your comfort zone. That’s why the area clutters so easily, filling up with backpacks, shoes, bags and other everyday objects. Clutter is not what most of us want to show visitors, which is why it is crucial to keep the space organized.

Start with one primary piece of furniture carefully chosen to work with the theme and traffic patterns of your house. For instance, a more upscale, less-trafficked home would do well with a foyer that incorporates a beautiful coffee table or side table with a vase of fresh flowers. A large piece of art on a wall completes this classic and stylish approach. In this scenario, the foyer is not used often and is not meant for storage. It is a display area that ushers in guests, rather than a catch-all spot for a busy family.

If your home has plenty of traffic and a need for more storage, try a different tack. Making the most use of the space, the foyer might have a tall bookcase that houses magazines, books and otherwise homeless odds and ends. The more highly trafficked the home, the more functional the area needs to be.

The best way to know what works is to walk in the door and appraise the space, trying to see it with a fresh, critical eye. Make sure there is nothing offensive that catches your attention, but don’t be afraid to change it up.

decorative mirror

Put a mirror to work

Use a handsome mirror to create the illusion of more space in a foyer. Not only does a mirror make the foyer look more spacious, but it is functional, o!ering the option for a final check of your appearance before leaving the house. Just remember, the more ornate the mirror, the more it serves as a piece of art, reducing the need for other decorative accessories.

Simple Tricks

Organizing an entry

entranceway coat hangers

If your foyer has become the quintessential catchall, you can take back this entry space and create a new look that incorporates both fabulous design and the organizational know-how of a professional. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Use a traditional hat rack.

You would be surprised by how much you can do with this one item. If your foyer is the space where your family stops upon walking in the house, place a hat rack o! to one side. This is the perfect place to hang hats, place coats and jackets and even hang a purse or two. Moreover, you can do so without making the space – or the rack – look overly cluttered, since every item has its own hook.

Place a bookshelf in the area

If you’ve got a little space with which to work, then a tall bookshelf is a great piece to incorporate into your foyer décor. Strategically place books and magazines on the shelves. Atop the bookcase, situate a couple of ceramic dishes for keys, spare change, and odds and ends that come out of pockets.

Beautify with baskets

Baskets not only add decorative appeal to your foyer, but also are quite functional. For example, if your kids play sports, a large basket just inside the door is a great spot for their equipment. Alternatively, if shoes tend to collect at your front door, a well-placed basket can prevent clutter.

The new‘family foyer’

(We used to call it the mudroom)

In the most perfect of domestic worlds, a home’s front foyer is left to guests and a household’s everyday rough and tumble spills into what many builders now call the family foyer. Located by a side door and often o! the garage, this area is, of course, traditionally called a mudroom. If you’re renovating an existing home or having a new one built, you have the opportunity to truly design this often overlooked space with the help of these foyer decorating ideas.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind while you sketch out a second entry, whether it be a wide hallway or an actual dedicated room:

Floors

Make ‘em tough: This likely goes without saying, but choose a durable and easy-toclean flooring material such as ceramic tile, good-quality vinyl or finished cement in a color or pattern that won’t showcase dirt. If the installation requires grout, choose a color that can take some grunge.

Keep ’em dry: If you expect real mud, install a drain in the floor. Note: The drain height should end up lower than the floor.

Leave room for rugs: Is the entry threshold high enough to allow a door to swing freely above a dirt-catching mat?

Electrical outlets

Count ‘em: How many machines and gadgets will you need to plug in here? Cellphone and camera chargers, a drinking water dispenser, fans, a boot dryer, space heaters, a vacuum cleaner?

Hardwood floor with entrance rug

Durable floors and rugs are a must in a highly trafficked entranceway

Storage and seating

foyer seating area

Reserve space for you: First of all, give yourself a place to plop down while you change shoes. A storage bench topped with a washable cushion serves double-duty.

Envision the ideal: Given the available space, what kind of cubby, shelf and cabinet/locker combination would work best? Should it be wood, composite, metal? Built-in or free-standing?

Take inventory: Make a realistic list of items that will land here. The average household might want to park coats, hats, shoes, dirty clothes, pet food and supplies, a cat’s litter box, sports equipment, umbrellas, backpacks and totes.

Measure twice: Lockers and cubbies need to be large enough to hold all this stuff, including oversize items such as tennis rackets and skis. Get hooked! Plan on plenty of hooks or racks for hats, coats, keys, leashes and miscellanea.

Leave room for junk: What’s a mud room without an old-fashioned junk drawer to catch bits and pieces such as measuring tapes, flashlights, string and loose screws?

Nice to have

  • A built-in hamper for incoming dirty clothes.
  • A rack for drying shoes.
  • A hook for dry-cleaning to go.
  • A mirror for last-minute checks before you hustle out the door.
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