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Fashionable foyers: Hints to a hip mudroom

Try these tricks to create a home entry that's clear of clutter and high on style. Susanna Salk of “House & Garden” magazine offers some designer secrets.

As the weather gets colder we rely on a variety of clothing and accessories to shelter us and keep us warm. As a result, the mudroom or entryway becomes the heart of your home or apartment. But how do you create a space that is both functional and stylish? Whether you live in a small apartment and are tight on space or have the benefit of having a room devoted to all things outdoors, here are some ways to create spaces that are both decorative and organized.

The city mudroomMost often this is the space we first see when we enter an apartment, so we want it to be strong on style while still easy to find your dog leash and umbrella.

Go for separate pieces that work together but have an eclectic vibe; this will keep the space looking larger than it may be. Another trick is to consider painting your walls a formal white and use shots of color on your furniture to accent.

Make sure each piece counts and has its own decorative elements, right down to the bowl that holds your keys. Give the room focus with some large pieces, like a great mirror or table, that have detail. And as far as organization goes: Don't try to hold every season in one area; having it all crammed together will only feel chaotic. So the flip-flops get stored and out come the rain boots, then snow boots, and so on.

As far as displaying and holding the stuff you need seasonally, get creative: Find benches and chairs with underneath storage. Choose pretty hooks for hanging your hats. Use decorative items to help you find your things in inventive ways.( e.g., a plaster bust to hold hats, etc.). If you're really tight on space, monogram a few tote bags for different family members to hold their stuff and just grab and go, day by day.

Country house mudroomIf you live in a home, you may have much more space to devote to your mudroom. So while you can have the luxury of more organizational opportunities, don't sacrifice function for style! And try to keep a cohesive feel throughout to help you find things and make the space a pleasure for guests to pass through.

A larger room requires unity of its main pieces to anchor its components. If you choose a bench, make sure that it corresponds with the shelf above it. Color on walls here can bring warmth and cohesiveness. And consider dressing up the country mudroom to link it to the interior space and bring unexpected elegance: Use more-formal pillows on the seating, try vibrant colors on the walls and even hanging a painting or two in the space. Also, an elegant indoor/outdoor rug in a sophisticated pattern adds just the right final touch.

What you saw on TODAY:
From Williams-Sonoma Home/West Elm:Crewel pillowYorba pillows

From West Elm: Lovebird rug

From Ballard Designs:1 Vega mirror1 Marrakesh 3x5 indoor/outdoor rug in blue and green4 Cafe shelving 10" deep, black and white 2 Ballard boot tray1 Fleur-de-lis hook in black1 Brookfield Demilune bureau in black2 monogram jute carryalls in black2 Grand Cru wine crates1 Mariana umbrella stand1 Cheetah basketFrom Crate and Barrel/CB2: Buddha head in black and greenHand sculptureSparrow pillow Sprout coat rack

From Pottery Barn:Samantha Collection bench, mahoganySamantha Collection shelf, mahoganyTufted Samantha Collection cushion, cardinalSamantha square basket (3)Samantha shelf basket (3)Adeline rug 3x5Photo carousel, smallOversized etagereKubu Basket, TroughDistressed bucket, whiteWire wall basketFrom Urban Outfitters:1 tufted green storage chair

Susanna Salk is special projects editor at “House & Garden” magazine. To learn more, visit their Web site at: , and to learn more about New York City and the “House & Garden” Inaugural Design Week, visit: