The 8 Most Useful Things You Can Add to Your Entryway, According to Designers

published Sep 26, 2019
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Credit: Emma Fiala

Depending on where you live, your entryway may be as large as an entire room or as small as the patch of wall next to your front door. But don’t confuse a lack of space with a lack of potential. 

“Your home’s entrance serves several purposes. It welcomes you and your guests and invites you to come in and enjoy! It also sets the tone of your style,” says Lisa Melone Cloughen of Melone Cloughen Interiors. Plus, “it is a utilitarian space, and as such, it needs to function as one.” 

We spoke to professional designers and organizers to learn what you need to make the most of whatever you space have.

An upholstered bench

“I often recommend a custom upholstered bench to leave guests with an impression of what they can expect from your home. It’s both furniture and décor that’s luxurious and welcoming, inviting guests to relax, have a seat, and stay awhile. A bench with a 12-inch depth that’s custom made to proportionally stay within trim moldings and wall space looks fantastic. It really makes the most of your space without taking too much of it. 

The bench upholstery is just as important, because it can match your home’s personality with similar textiles, colors, trim, and layered details, like cording and leather straps. Always consider how you use the bench too. For example, if you tend to place your bags, purse, keys, or umbrella on it, it’s best to go with an acrylic or vinyl material that’s durable enough to handle the elements.” —Kathy Pereira, founder, Kathy Pereira Designs

Hidden shoe storage

“I’m all about a dramatic entryway, but there is nothing more dramatic than tripping over a pair of shoes or a backpack when walking in the door! Whether you are a shoes-off household or not, you become one during the winters. I am a huge proponent of concealed shoe storage in an entryway. Whether it is a boot tray hidden away inside fabulous cabinet or console, or simply inside your coat closet, find a way to hide the necessities of life. We all have them, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you see when you walk in the door.” —Lauren Svenstrup, owner and design director, Studio Sven

A (dining room!) credenza

“Although somewhat unconventional, I like to utilize credenzas commonly found in dining rooms in the entryway because not only do they look beautiful, they are great for utilizing as concealed shoe storage. They always end up being a great spot for mail and keys as well.” —Diana Weinstein, interior designer, DW Designs

Credit: Minette Hand

A tray for the random stuff

“Every entryway needs a tray. Entryways are often dumping grounds for keys, mail, etc. Having a tray strategically placed in the front of your home gives these miscellaneous items a place to live. These random items look less clutter-y and more corralled when they are kept in a decorative tray.” —Betsy Helmuth, owner, Affordable Interior Design , author, “Big Design, Small Budget: Create a Glamorous Home in Nine Thrifty Steps and Affordable Interior Design: High-End Tips for Any Budget

Storage even when your area is *really* small

“Even in the smallest of spaces, there are storage solutions to be found. A simple beadboard with some hooks and a tray for shoes, a wall-mounted key cubby.” —Ginny Underwood, professional organizer, Virginia’s Easy Living Solutions

Fab lighting

“We love to dress up the entryway—call it adding a little pop or sizzle to an otherwise utilitarian space by adding lighting. An overhead chandelier is a great way to accomplish creating both an inviting entryway while also being practical for evening guests. If you don’t have the overhead space for a chandelier, a table lamp or floor lamp will do the job.” —John Monte, interior designer, Elegant Simplicity

A hardy rug

“A durable rug that is also soft under foot creates warmth and an inviting atmosphere. After weather or a long winter, who doesn’t want to step on a cozy wool rug. But rugs aren’t just for warmth—they add to the layers you’re creating in your home, as they’re a great way to introduce pattern and texture to a space.” —Monte

A check-yourself-out mirror

“A mirror in the entryway is always useful for last-minute messy hair and teeth checks before dashing out the door.” —Weinstein