Designers Share 10 Go-To Decorating Ideas for a Small Entry Area

published Jun 13, 2021
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No matter how small your entry area may be, it’s still the first thing people see when they enter your home. “Even if it’s small, your entryway is still a high traffic area of your home,” says interior designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. “Coming home to a space that makes you happy is key to winding down after a long day — and also sets the tone for the rest of your home when guests visit.”

Whether you’re working with a narrow foyer or a cramped hallway corner-turned-entry area, there are lots of little ways to maximize a tight entry space. From mirror tricks to lighting tips and more, interior designers share their 10 go-to decorating ideas for a small entryway ahead.

Credit: Heather Hawkins

1. Lean a large mirror

Incorporating a floor mirror into a tight entryway can help visually expand the area while providing you a place to check your outfit before you walk out the door. “Leaning a large floor mirror behind your console table or cabinet will help reflect light around the small space and give the illusion that the entry is larger than it is,” Fenimore explains.

Credit: Mike Van Tassel

2. Conceal out-the-door essentials in style

Having a small entry doesn’t negate the need for storage, which Beth Diana Smith says is crucial for grabbing daily essentials on-the-go. “The goal is to be stylish and clever about storage,” she explains. “Rattan baskets can conceal everything from shoes, to packages, to umbrellas, and there are even stackable ones for storing multiple items separately.” 

Credit: Michael Hunter

3. Layer up

An entryway helps set the tone for the rest of your home, which is why Kristen Nix says it’s important to make it as inviting and impactful as possible. “Layering is key to add dimension and make the best use of your small entry space,” she explains. “We love adding layers to an entry with mirrors or artwork, styled books, and an organic element like branches or flowers.”

Credit: Sean Litchfield

4. Create contrast with color

To add height, width, and style to a small entry area, Christina Roughan of Roughan Interiors says to look for ways to create contrast with color. “Whether it’s with dark walls and a white-painted ceiling or a two-toned vase or console table, subtle contrast brings depth and dimension to a small space,” she explains. 

Credit: Heather Hawkins

5. Consider a clear console table

A see-through entry table can provide storage and surface space without creating extra visual clutter. “Incorporate console tables made of acrylic or glass to trick your eye into thinking the area is more open than it actually is,” Fenimore advises. 

Credit: Paul Johnson

6. Let there be light

A little lighting can go a long way in a tight entry area. “A small chandelier or pendant light can brighten up a dim entryway without taking up any floor space,” says Carey Karlan of Last Detail Interior Design. “While a petite table lamp or wall sconce can provide soft ambient light to elevate the space.”

Credit: Jenelle Lovings

7. Incorporate seating

A cute acrylic chair provides a place to sit and take off your shoes without cramping up a small entryway. “I like to use my entryway to house additional seating in anticipation for guests,” Jenelle Lovings says. “Strategically placing an accent chair here or there, serves as a great opportunity to have extra seating around the house when you are entertaining instead of having folding chairs tucked away in a closet.” 

Credit: Emily Hart

8. When in doubt, use wallpaper

Instead of relying on light paint colors to help open up a small entryway, Fenimore says she prefers to install wallpaper with a light background and a fun print to make more of an impact. “Just because the space is small doesn’t mean you have to keep everything else small,” she says.

Credit: DBF Interiors

9. Keep it cohesive

To turn a cramped hallway corner or studio apartment entrance into a proper entryway nook, Dominique Brielle Fluker of DBF Interiors recommends dressing up a glass console table with bold art objects that draw from the hues of the rest of your home. “This way, you’ll have a place to set your keys that still feels cohesive with the rest of the space,” she says.

Credit: Griffin Direction Interiors

10. Hang a wall mirror with a deep frame

Not only can an eye-catching wall mirror help bounce light around a cramped entryway, but it can also add an architectural element to the space, says Carneil Griffin of Griffin Direction Interiors. “Hanging an accent mirror that uses depth as a feature of its design can maximize a small entryway in seconds,” he explains. “Along with reflecting light, it will make the space appear wider than it really is.”