Come and go as you please with these entryway solutions
Entryways provide the important first impression of your home, a glimpse into the world you’ve created. A welcoming entry should greet people, enveloping them warmly into the household. They’re also practical spaces, a place for rushed comings and goings, and where keys and shoes and bags are often kept.
Victoria Bibby from Napier interior design firm Bibby + Brady says decluttering is the first step to a stylish yet functional space. “Arriving home to clutter and mess won’t put you in a good frame of mind, so start by tidying and finding solutions for everyday items that end up in your entrance.” She recommends clearing a space in the hall cupboard or laundry for shoes, bags and other items that often end up lurking near the front door.
Take a seat
Everyone would rather be seated when putting on shoes, it’s a small time-out in one’s daily routine and a good bench seat can be a fine thing. The right piece of furniture can soften the stark lines of a hallway and those with built-in storage provide a practical solution for stray bits and pieces. Opt for bench seating with a padded top, as well as built-in storage sections to make the drop zone flow seamlessly. Church pews and old benches are often conversation points and can sometimes be found at thrift stores.
Short on space? An ottoman will provide the same creature comforts while fitting neatly under a side table. Bonus points if it comes with a hidden compartment.
Victoria highly recommends panelling for narrow hallways as it creates that all-important sense of height, more than making up for any lack of space. “We love adding character and interest to a space by adding wall panelling, and it looks particularly good in an entrance, hallway and/or mudroom,” she says. It’s an easy enough project if you’re DIY-inclined, or talk to your builder, says Victoria. V-groove, board and batten, and box moulding are her personal favourites for drawing the eye upwards.
Smoke and mirrors
Mirrors combine aesthetics and functionality in the homeware world. Perfect for small, dark spaces such as hallways, a well-placed mirror will reflect light and instantly widen any room, especially when positioned opposite a sunny room.
Whether gold and ornate, retro and wavy, or modern and sleek, a mirror expresses the personality of your home, but at half the price of art. For an expert hack, consider a medicine cabinet mirror in your hallway. Traditionally hung in bathrooms, their hidden storage makes them an asset when it comes to on-the-go living. Plus, you’ll be grateful for that final check before you dash out the door with breakfast on your chin.
Do a runner
If coming home is the best part of your day, a rug is a must-have to welcome your return and to lessen the wear and tear from foyer foot traffic. Most hallways are too small to accommodate a conventional rug, so a runner is the perfect solution for space and money. “A hall runner adds warmth and interest without taking up any space and will also help direct your guests through your home,” says Victoria. If you’re positive that a runner isn’t right for your floor space, then simply hang a rug as a wall tapestry instead. Your guests will receive the cosy, welcoming vibe regardless, we promise.
Stop letting clutter pile up around the front entrance. Hooks will utilise otherwise empty wall space and elevate all the odds and ends, such as coats, umbrellas and handbags. Streamline the flow between house and work as you walk in and out the door.
Be generous, don’t limit yourself to just a couple of hooks – use as many as it’ll take to simplify your morning routine. Alternatively, use those hangers to show off all your best accessories. Whether it’s a display of hats or several colourful scarfs, flaunt your favourite accessories to show visitors what you’re really about. You know the saying: three hats are better than one.
No wall space? No problem. A well-placed coat rack will do the same trick without the hassle of screwing and hanging. Even bedroom garment racks work surprisingly well in formal spaces, adding a touch of industrial chic with storage to spare. They’re often half the price of entryway storage, so they’re definitely worth consideration.
Colour me happy
Don’t shy away from colour at your front entrance. A bold update using paint or wallpaper can refresh a space without overwhelming it like it can in larger rooms. Consider it a sharp, short burst of personality that will help usher your guests into the living area. Don’t forget to trick the eye by painting your end wall a light, cool shade to help your hallway seem more spacious.
If nothing else, simply paint your door for that love-at-first-sight feeling. “A splash of colour on your door will make you smile,” Victoria promises. Maximum impact for minimum effort, now that’s what we like to hear.
Pendant for your thoughts
A hanging pendant is a bold statement for those lucky enough to possess lofty ceilings, but if your ceiling is low, Victoria says to think about wall lights instead. “Up-lighting is brilliant for illuminating the ceiling and making a narrow hallway feel larger, and a ceiling light that is multi-directional will also work well,” she says.
But if the pendant idea is calling your name, consider ordering the same light fitting for your kitchen to carry on the theme and to provide some continuity among the bits and pieces of home life.
Never lose your keys again. Place a bowl on your side table for all those “where did I put that?” items. Choose something with tall sides so it won’t distract the eye line. Picking a table with drawers is the key for all those less than desirable items, such as bike padlocks or doggy waste bags. Out of sight, out of mind. If your sideboard is cute but lacking the storage solutions you’d prefer, grab a couple of woven baskets to slide underneath for that old-school charm.
For a low cost hack, simply hang a shelf at the height where a sideboard would be. It’ll offer the same surface space as a console, without the price tag of table legs.
Words by: Caroline Moratti.