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By Christina Poletto

Much like the outside of your home, entryways or foyers give a first impression for what’s inside. Yet the key to having an optimal entryway space isn’t always easy to achieve if it’s not styled or organized in a way that works for your home and family.

“If your entrance does not greet you with a sense of control, organization and welcome, and it bothers you, know that it absolutely can change,” said New York City-based interior designer Kathleen Walsh.

Think beyond the traditional. These bold colors and fun furniture pieces tie well together to create a stunning front door area. Courtesy of Tria Giovan

Create a wish list of how you want your space to look. Do you want bold colors, flowers, art, family photos or a mirror? Seek a style you love and a color palette that makes you happy. It’s a great starting point to visualize the possibilities, Walsh suggests.

Maximizing your space with a few key pieces helps create a stylish, clutter-free foyer.Courtesy of Michael Partenio

“While it’s fun to daydream about updating your foyer with new furniture and accessories, it also pays to come to terms with the realistic use of the space,” Walsh said. For most homeowners, a foyer is essentially a dumping ground for keys, purses, backpacks, coats, shoes and mail. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a system that keeps this area organized at all times. If your foyer isn’t equipped with the right type of storage or organization pieces, here are some tips from Walsh to put you on track:

  • 1. Find your storage style: Can you tolerate seeing items out or do you need everything behind a door or in a drawer? Be honest. Pick a style you can tolerate and you'll have won half the battle.
  • 2. Look closely at your space: For some families, storage can be a huge factor to consider when it comes to the front entryway. Walsh suggests figuring out how many people need to store things and how much needs to be stored per person. It might be helpful to make a list so everything will find its place. Don’t forget sports equipment, strollers and pet gear! Got a lot of stuff? “Make a chart and tally up the total number of coats, backpacks and other items that will go in and out of the space daily so you can better determine the type of storage that’s needed, like hooks, drawers or a coat rack,” said Walsh.
  • 3. Consider your flooring and lighting: Think about how much dirt is tracked in through the door and how you will clean it easily and efficiently. Walsh says to take note if your mat is large enough or if your rug needs to hide more dirt. Is the flooring material easy to maintain? Does the height of your rug or mat fit under your door swing? All these questions will help determine the best materials underfoot. Mix your lighting A combination of ambient and task lighting is needed to adequately see everything, and mixing decorative lamps or broad sunlight can tie this room to the rest of your home. Have fun in choosing accessories that show off your personality and bring some fun to the space.
  • 4. Think like a guest: Once you enter the space, does it become a shoes-off area? Where does a jacket go? What about packages or an overnight bag? Is there a place to set things down? Is there a closet and how is it going to be organized? Answering these questions before you start arranging your space will help you immensely in the long run.
Utilizing smart organization is one way to create a stylish, free-flowing space at your front door. Courtesy of Rick Lew

When it comes to smaller items, like keys and phones, Walsh says to think about how many drawers you might need for a console table or foyer dresser to hold all your personal belongings.

A mirror, seating and console table are three simple items that will help create a functional and fantastic looking foyer.Courtesy of John Bessler

Some homeowners use the foyer strictly as a pass through and save the clutter for a mudroom or other area of a house. “It’s wonderful when the front door area can simply be a clean, welcoming space for anyone entering or exiting the home,” said Walsh.

Use the best storage pieces your space can afford. In the background, an armoire holds coats, bags and umbrellas. Courtesy of Rick Lew

Once your foyer is organized and designed to your liking, you can set your sights on other areas of the home that might be in need of clutter control, like your kitchen cabinets.