First Impressions: Entryway Design for an Organized Home

Make your entryway a stylish space that welcomes guests and makes you happy to come home.

Boom Metro Console Table

Boom Metro Console Table: Sustainable wood with water-based lacquer and recycled aluminum legs, 30 inches high; $470

Photo Courtesy 2modern

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Your entry is the first space to greet you every time you come home, and it’s where your home makes its first impression on visitors. While our entryways should be serene spots that welcome us home, more often they become cluttered messes of bags, shoes, coats, outdoor equipment, tools and mail. With a bit of organization, we can clean up our entries, then have fun designing them as inviting areas that reflect our homes’ style and, if we choose wisely, our values.

Engaging Home Entryway Design

It can be easy to overlook the front stoop when designing our homes, but styling this area projects our personalities outside, where guests first encounter our homes. Consider interesting house numbers, a unique welcome mat, an old-fashioned door knocker, a pretty outdoor light fixture or a bold paint color for the front door. If you have a porch, encourage its use with a swing, bench or comfy chairs, plus an outdoor table big enough for two glasses of iced tea. When designing your front entrance, consider the flow from outdoors to in. You can tie outdoor items with those inside by using similar colors or styles—if you’re the artsy type, paint an antique rocking chair you set outside to match the frame of the mirror you hang inside the door. Like a modern look? Choose a sleek metal light fixture for the front porch, then choose a floor lamp in a similar style for inside.

To clean up your entry, start as you would any organization project—take everything out, evaluate what you need, what you want to donate and what’s ready to be recycled. Then figure out what type of storage will help keep the space tidy. If shoes are left at the door, accommodate them with cubbies or shelves. Unless you have a coat closet near the entry (and you actually use it), install hooks or a coat rack to hold jackets, scarves and bags. Think realistically about what else ends up stacked inside the door—you’ll be happier if you design storage for these items than if you pretend they’ll always be put away elsewhere. A bowl or basket on a table next to the door can hold keys, a bin can store gloves and hats, and mounted wall hooks can hold yoga mats, dog leashes, garden tools or other frequently used items. In a small area such as the entry, choose furniture and organizational pieces that do the required job in the least space.

While everything is out of your entry, consider whether a fresh coat of paint or a layer of sustainable wallpaper would help refresh the space. If you have a small, stand-alone entryway, a bright color or graphic print won’t be overwhelming. If the entry leads into another space, choose a color or pattern that complements the adjacent room. If you don’t have much of an entry and your door opens directly onto a larger room, consider defining the space with a folding screen or an area rug, along with a piece of furniture such as a coat rack or console table.

Make a Personalized Space

After you’ve figured out what furniture and storage supplies you need, turn to the small touches that make your entryway your own. Lighting is important. Overhead pendants are a classic choice and add drama. If you have a long, narrow entry hallway, track lighting can be highly functional and give the space a gallery feel. If you have a grouping of items such as a chair and coat rack, a floor lamp could help round out your display.

Scent is another subtle welcome you can provide for yourself and guests. It’s delightful to come home to a fresh smell. Consider tucking an essential oil diffuser or homemade potpourri inside the entryway. Get instructions to make your own reed diffuser or potpourri at Try This: Reed Diffuser.

Finally, add some decorative items to your entry that express the style of your home. It can be tempting to allow this space to be purely utilitarian, but adding custom touches will make it more engaging and entice guests to explore more of your home. Embellishing the area with some beautiful decoration will also encourage you to keep it tidy.

A personalized entryway will pay for itself the first time you come inside to a peaceful space you love, rather than a cluttered mess that adds stress to the end of a long day. To inspire you, we’ve rounded up a group of sustainable items in the Image Gallery; otherwise, buy secondhand via antique and thrift stores and garage and estate sales, or on eBay and Craigslist. If you’re handy, you could also build your own furniture or organizational pieces out of responsibly harvested or salvaged wood. You might also be able to have furniture, shelving or closets built by a local carpenter for a reasonable price.

Click on the Image Gallery and then click NEXT to view this issue's "Entry Design Ideas" while reading about each product. 

Entry Design Ideas

Artistic Inclination
Eclectic and fun, these eco-friendly objects d’art soothe the artist’s soul.

1. Deco Deluxe Pendant
Faux Bois Light fabric shade made of recycled soda bottles: $336

2. Handpainted Metal Address
Set of three 7 1/2-inch-high numbers handcut from recycled steel drums and handpainted in vibrant colors: $30

3. Green Rhino Trophy Head
Handmade of recycled newspaper, cardboard and paper; sales support Haitian artisans: $110

4. Square Tack Frame
Made in the U.S. from sustainable cork: $65

5. Citrus Kitchen Coir Mat
Densely woven from all-natural coir, a renewable material made from coconut shells: $32

6. Slim Desk
Available in 10 colors and handwelded in Minnesota; base is made from 95 percent recycled materials; 50-inch-wide desk: $499

Timeless Taste
Classic and sustainable pieces make for an elegant entry.

1. Matador Small Outdoor Light
Features at least 70 percent recycled steel, 100 percent recycled glass and a low-VOC finish 16 inches high: $499

2. Plaid Design Coir Doormat
Handwoven from natural, renewable coco fiber: $25

3. Succulent Wreath
Water-saving succulents grown and assembled in the U.S. wreath and hanger: $108

4. Hyacinth Woven Baskets
Made of rapidly renewable hyacinth stems and bamboo handles set of three: $90

5. Cursive Script Numbers
Rust-free recycled aluminum numbers handcast in Michigan 17 1/2 inches high: $25

6. Basque Honey Bench
Handhewn from sustainable, kiln-dried solid mango wood 48 inches wide: $299

Modern Mindset
This collection of minimalist, responsibly made items is the essence of simplicity and style.

1. Tan & Orange Traymat
Made of recycled paper; corners unsnap to create a placemat: $12

2. Modern Font House Numbers
Cut from recycled architectural-grade aluminum in New Mexico 4-inch numbers: starting at $22 each

3. Ellipse Outdoor Post Light
Handforged in Vermont from recycled aluminum 71 inches tall: $1,464

4. Two Tone Red Coir Mat
Made of natural grass and coir, a sustainable fiber extracted from coconut shells: $28

5. Eco-Friendly Square Planters
Biodegradable planters made of rice straw, bamboo and other renewable materials, 5-inch pot: $5 each

6. Boom Metro Console Table
Sustainable wood with water-based lacquer and recycled aluminum legs, 30 inches high: $470