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The foyer

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A home’s foyer or entryway is the small room immediately inside the front door. Though small in square feet, this room is large on responsibility and functionality.
From catching your keys and mail to welcoming the most sophisticated of guests, the foyer holds diverse responsibilities. Dress it up for holidays, drop your sopping wet shoes on rainy days, and even make sure you have nothing in your teeth before guests arrive all from the comfort of this small space.
Ensure your foyer is making the most of its first impressions by kicking up the personality factor a bit. Incorporate storage solutions and perhaps even add certain elements to the room to make your daily life easier.
The foyer is not a room to neglect: read these tips and tricks to see what you’ve been missing.

A well design entrance with all the perfect elements

 

LAYOUT

The layout of the foyer is determined by the size of the space. However, whether it’s a few square feet you are working with or even a large room, efficiency and functionality—paired with design and style—is the key to the perfect layout.

  • Place a small table in the foyer as a place to set items on as you walk in and out of the front door. From keys and mail to purses and dog leashes, it seems you always need to put something down or pick it up on your way in or out.

  • A coat rack, hooks or a coat closet is essential. Ensure there is enough room on the racks for your family plus guests. A bin, rack, or basket is also necessary for shoes and boots.

  • A chair or bench near the front door, space permitting, is helpful for putting on shoes—especially for the elderly.

  • A good rug—preferably both inside and outside the front door—is critical for keeping dirt and moisture out of the rest of your home.

FLOORING

The foyer sees a lot of traffic, so choose a flooring material that is easy to keep clean. Further, make a selection that hides dirt well; white tile is easy to clean, but you will see every spec of dirt or piece of hair that falls—don’t do that to yourself!

  • Tile and stone are easy to clean and are available in a diverse range of styles and designs.

  • Hardwood flooring, is also easy to keep clean—vacuuming is often the only necessary cleaning agent, simple and easy! The cost of hardwoods (and the cost of installing them) is the drawback on this beautiful flooring option. However, they will likely last forever as you can sand the surface of the wood when it starts to show wear. After applying a top coat, your floors will look brand new again.

  • Laminate flooring can resemble wood, tile or even stone. It is extremely durable, does not scratch and is simple to clean. Standing water (such as puddles of snow) will ruin laminate flooring, so only place in areas that are protected from water.

Another consideration for flooring in the foyer is this: the square footage of flooring in the foyer is minimal. Consider using a dramatic (even if quite expensive) flooring option to make an interesting and unique entryway. The additional cost shouldn’t be budget-breaking because you won’t need much of it.

  • Stones such as marble make for elegant, sophisticated floors in the foyer.

  • Consider a unique pattern for the tile, stone or even wood. A herringbone pattern of wood floors might be too busy (or expensive) for the whole house, but in a small dose it’s just right.

FURNITURE

Basics for the foyer:

  • Doormat: Ideally, you’ll want one both inside and outside the front door. Design is important, but functionality (in this case, cleanliness!) is key. Choose mats with higher piles to trap dirt and debris. Machine washable is always nice. Also, ensure the rugs have rubber backings to prevent them from sliding on slick surfaces.
  • Bench or chair: Sit and put your shoes on, or use it to keep your purse off the floor. Any way you use it, a chair or bench often serves useful in the foyer.
  • Baskets/ Bins: Keep necessities (boots, umbrellas, sporting needs, jackets, and more) orderly and somewhat fashionable by storing them in matching baskets or bins in the foyer. Ideally, these necessities would be placed in a mudroom by the back, side or garage door, but if your space is limited, you can make it work in the foyer.
  • Mirror: Though some opt to hang artwork in the foyer, a mirror is a nice addition for two reasons: The light reflected in the mirror will make a small space seem larger and a mirror is nice to have handy to check teeth, face and hair before opening the door if an unexpected guest arrives.
  • Small End Table/ Hallway Table: Even the tiniest of tables is nice to hold a dish of keys and a welcoming lamp.

If space permits, consider adding:

  • Circular table: Grand foyers often have round or oval tables in the entryway, housing a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The table is used to set things on that you must remember to take with you, allows you to drop things off while coming in the door with arms full, or simply to showcase a few family photos. Ensure there is plenty of room to walk around either side of the table—you don’t want to have to squeeze when you’re walking in with arms full of groceries.
  • A buffet or dresser: Unless the foyer is extremely large, you will likely opt for either a circular table or a buffet/dresser, not both. A buffet or dresser provides more storage space, yet still delivers a countertop for setting things on. A benefit of the buffet or dresser? You can place a lamp on it—a circular table in the middle of the foyer would have a cord running across the room, not a good idea.
  • Umbrella stand
  • Coat rack
  • A grandfather or other type of clock

LIGHTING

Like in any other room, lighting creates the mood. It’s no different for the foyer, except the mood we are trying to achieve is welcoming and cozy.

  • Use table lamps to put off a soft glow rather than harsh overhead lights.

  • A sparkly chandelier is a great addition to a foyer—both for viewing from inside the home as well as from outside through the windows.

  • Use warm light bulbs (soft light) rather than bright white light. The cast is more welcoming and inviting.

  • If you opt for overhead lighting, install a dimmer to ensure you always have just the right amount of light regardless of the time of day.

STORAGE

In a room that both sends you off and welcomes you home, the storage requirements are hefty. Consider these storage solutions:

  • If the foyer has a closet, use it efficiently. Don’t stuff the vacuum or unused luggage in this precious real estate, but rather use it for things you’ll need every day. Coats, shoes and other accessories need a place (although it would be ideal to transfer them to a different storing location when out of season.)

  • Use one bin per family member. Homework, lunch money and the day’s mail can be tucked inside, knowing that the recipient is responsible for sorting through their bin.

  • A small bowl or piece of pottery can be used to hold the family’s keys. Alternately, a decorative wall key holder will do the job. Ensure you always know where your keys are—right by the front door where you’ll need them.

  • A storage bench provides extra space (as well as a seat!) for necessary, but not as frequently used items.

  • Choose tables and/or buffets/dressers with storage space. Drawers and doors will always find something to tuck away in the entry way.

COLORS

There are opposing schools of thought when it comes to a color scheme in the foyer.
1. Choose subtle and inviting colors, allowing the foyer to act as a liaison between the outside world and the interior rooms.

  • Tans, creams, browns and other neutrals work well with this design scheme.
  • Light shades of colorful hues can also be implemented into this school of thought

2. Go bold and dramatic—the space is small, and you want to make a dramatic impression from the get go!

  • Bold colors—hot pinks, mysterious blacks, deep eggplant, or even canary yellow–would be widely accepted under this school of thought.
  • Choosing a glossy finish for your paint can increase the dramatic factor—the light will bounce off the walls in every direction!
  • Bold prints of wallpaper would also fall into this category. The small space will keep the print from becoming overwhelming. Wallpaper is a great way to add a punch of personality to your home, immediately after guests enter.

Regardless of the color scheme you end up choosing, the personality of the foyer should reflect that of the rest of your home. Do not paint a foyer hot pink when the rest of the home is traditional. The foyer can handle a bit more personality than the rest of the home, but the feeling throughout the entire home should be consistent.

TRENDS

  • A mirror over an entry table has been a foyer staple for a long time. A new spin on this classic look for tight spaces? Lean a full-length mirror against the wall and forgo the table—you’ll save floor space and make the room feel bigger with the larger mirror.

  • Modern and minimalist decorating is becoming increasingly popular. To complete this look in the foyer, strip furniture and accessories back to the bare essentials. Choose furniture with sharp angles, and select a lighting fixture that complements this style.

  • Always, always, always trendy is fresh greens (or better yet, color!) in the foyer. Welcome guests with an arrangement of cut flowers, a potted orchid, or even a real looking silk plant. Every room must have a little green.

The foyer is an important room for both daily use from you, as well as occasional use from guests. It’s time to turn your foyer into a showstopper.
 

 

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Bins, hooks and personal baskets make it easier for kids to stay clean and organized.
The foyer