Here’s How to Make a Coat Closet Work Harder in a Small Space or Apartment

published Jun 13, 2023
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A home’s first impression is everything, and it’s always a good idea to have some kind of a transitional zone between the outside and inside. If you live in a small space, though, you may have to get a little creative to squeeze an entryway into the area near your front door or hallway. When you don’t have much room to work with, you might want to look to the closest closet to steal a little space. That’s what one Ohio-based homeowner did, and I know I’m inspired by the moves she made — and I think you will be, too, once you see her setup. 

Stephanie lives in a 1500-square-foot home in University Heights, Ohio, with her husband, their three children, and their dog, Ace. “We’ve lived here for 11 years, so all three of our children know this as their only home,” Stephanie says. “Even though we are outgrowing the home, we are so very attached to it.” Stephanie’s home is filled to the brim with art and decorative touches, and leans into maximalism with hits of bold colors, pattern, and plenty of places for the family to stash their stuff. One space that’s particularly unique? The coat closet Stephanie transformed into a landing spot for her hallway, which would be a great way to fake an entry when you’re in a small space and don’t have one with proper storage. 

“I have a love for all things black and white, so I use that as a starting point and then I add my colors,” Stephanie says of her decorating process. And in her entryway closet, you’ll find that palette with a healthy dose of emerald green. She started this project by removing the door from the closet for easy access. Then she applied panther-printed peel-and-stick wallpaper from Target to the back wall. From there, Stephanie installed a piece of black-painted wood to serve as a bench and painted the shelf above to match, which features a handy pegboard for clothing, bag, and accessory storage. She finished off the spot with a black-and-white polka-dot pillow, a black-and-white striped basket, and a coordinating framed panther print. 

If you have a small coat closet near your front door but no real traditional formal foyer or proper entryway, you could recreate this idea for storage and a spot to put on your shoes. The pro of using a closet to build out an “entry” if you have one — versus taking over an entire wall — is that it takes up almost no space at all. 

“My main goal was to create a happy home,” Stephanie says. “And it is wonderful to know that people can feel that vibe when they walk in.” That’s thanks to her cohesive color scheme — and this smart entryway hack.