What does your abode’s entrance say about you? Have you given thought to the fact that when you welcome someone into your space, be it a small studio apartment or a rambling estate, you are making a statement of purpose and intent the moment your door swings open? It’s possible to say a lot in a small setting.
This is a bright, shining moment of opportunity to set the mood, with both your decor and your greeting; our foyers can be an introduction to the delightful experience that awaits across the threshold to our homes and our hearts.
As we prepare for the entertaining season about to descend upon us, let us take some time to make our homes’ entrances grand. Guide guests toward a lovely experience with these six simple steps.
Make It Personal
The small details are what will tell your story: the wall of family photos, the hooked rug that your grandmother made, the potted plant from a dear friend, the antique mirror you found at a roadside rest stop, the framed words that capture your ethics.
Does a particular verse or poem of inspiration speak to who you are? Place this as a centerpiece and build a framed collage around it. Are you a grandparent who wants everyone to know that nothing compares? Varied picture frames grouped together on a shelf at eye level can easily be changed and updated as little ones grow. Do you travel? What a perfect place to hang posters or a large map showcasing your adventures.
Take a moment to think about who you are and what you want to say visually. Your story begins right here, in the entrance to your home.
Make It Purposeful
Allow for the storage of items you want to have easily available, and a landing zone for plopping down the accouterments of life. A landing zone can be as small as a bowl to hold keys, or as large as an expansive sideboard where mail goes and phone chargers await. Make sure you have storage space for coats and bags, whether a designated closet or simply a series of interesting hooks on an old board.
Light It Up
A well-lit entrance is always more inviting than a dimly lit and scary hallway. Lighting directs and illuminates pathways, tells people where to put things, and sets the mood.
Placing a dimmer on a foyer chandelier sets a calmer mood if a gentle evening is scheduled. Bright lights breed enthusiasm as your guests enter. You are greeting friends, family, and loved ones, and this is the chance to say, “I see you! I’m glad you’re here!”
Hang a Mirror
When I enter a space, I like to quickly make sure I don’t have lipstick on my teeth or my hair hasn’t done something strange, so a well-placed mirror is always a thoughtful idea for guests. A large mirror has double the benefits, as it also reflects light and can expand space. A smaller mirror can be set at eye level within a wall collage of art and offer function while staying unobtrusive. I have also placed mirrors inside large foyer closets where they await the surprise of discovery.
Consider a Shoe Basket
If you would like people to take off their shoes when they enter your home, make this a comforting ritual. Don’t stare at their feet hoping they get the message; rather, place a small bench with baskets for shoes that can be seen easily. Provide either slippers or socks, as some people don’t enjoy going barefoot. Make it about the guest, and you’ll be able to keep both your floors clean and your guests comfortable.
Never Neglect Good Manners
Good manners begin at the entrance to your home. You have the ability to welcome anyone into your home with an ethos of goodness and kindness, and a gentle spirit of grace.
When my four girls were little, I trained them to ask any guest (even friends from next door that seemed to appear multiple times every single day) for their coat. Since my daughters were very young when I started this, they would need to hoist heavy winter coats onto a bed, since we didn’t have a hall closet at that time, and then repeat the procedure when guests were leaving.
They tell me now, as grown women, that this simple directive helped them become gracious hosts, who know that planning occurs in the heart as much as the mind.