A striking entrance space in your home sets the tone not just for visitors, but for the family too, on a daily basis. Here’s how to make yours stand out.
First impressions do count, and a striking entrance space in your home sets the tone not just for visitors, but for the family too, on a daily basis. An area that is often overlooked, there are many relatively easy ways to create a striking effect here.
Choose one statement item or set of items – a mirror, a cluster of artwork, a coloured wall, a striking wallpaper, a beautiful piece of furniture, an oversize vase of flowers, and use this as the start of your décor. From there work the area factoring in the must haves and practicalities (storage, light, a good floor) along with the niceties (art, a bowl of flowers, scented candles).
A touch of colour, however small, can make a standout impression in any space. Even if you prefer a neutral palette, a feature wall in a dark grey or a vase or mirror frame in a bold hue can make all the difference. If you have a piece of conventional furniture in your entrance area (a sideboard, drawers or coat rack perhaps) consider painting it in a bold modern colour – as well as being striking it can subtract some of the normalness of the piece.
A major consideration in an entrance area, choose a floor which can be cleaned easily (especially if you have children or pets) and won’t show up dirt. A good floor mat outside the door helps protect floors from dirt and scratches, and you don’t need to be bound by convention – lose the little rectangular door mat and choose a big sisal one, or a Turkish carpet. A traditional tiled patterned floor can make a spectacular entrance too.
Often overlooked in an entry hall, lighting offers a chance to make a grand statement and play with mood. Whether you choose a traditional chandelier or a modern wall-mounted fitting, this is an area where interesting lighting effects can generally be created. If you’re suspending a pendant or chandelier, hang it so that the bottom is just over 2m above the floor. If you hang it much higher, you’ll lose its visual effect. And if you hang it much lower, you’ll truncate the space. An entry's illumination should be dimmer than the light outside, so people don't feel they are standing in a spotlight. Soft light will cast a flattering and warm glow, which makes people feel at ease, so consider a dimmer switch on the wall, or low-wattage bulbs.
Many homes have staircases near the entrance, and while they can’t easily be changed on a structural level, there are quite a few tricks to get them looking great. Carpet them, or sand them down. Paint the stair risers a striking colour or try an eye catching wall display – ditch the flying ducks in favour perhaps of a family gallery or a group of ornamental mirrors - particularly dramatic on a dark wall.
A carpet is not always a practical option in a high traffic area, but has many advantages such as space definition, warmth, noise reduction and comfort. If you decide to use one, choose one which won’t show up too much dirt. A runner draws guests into your home but keep it clear of the furniture so the space has a feeling of openness. And don’t let it extend the entire length of the hallway: you want to be sure that the front door can open freely.
Most of us enter a home with keys, bags and other belongings. Provide somewhere for these items to be deposited and stored neatly (out of sight preferably too). A console table, side table, chest of drawers, a bowl with a lid for keys and change, a set of hooks (or a wardrobe) for bags, shopping baskets and hats.