Designer Amber Armitage from Amber Armitage has some golden rules for entranceways
First impressions count. So, like a good handshake, it’s important to start strong. You want your entryway to set the tone for the rest of your home – and leave your guests wanting more.
Unfortunately, entrances often become a dumping zone for, well, everything. Handbags, keys, shoes, coats, school bags, umbrellas… we could go on. Therefore the best entrances have smart storage solutions that keep this unavoidable clutter out of sight.
From there, striking visual impact makes a statement. It might be a colourful front door, a smile-prompting welcome mat, a beautiful piece of art, an eye-catching mural or a feature wallpaper.
Whatever you choose, give your guests a reason to stop – and not just to take their shoes off.
1. Create a feeling
The entranceway is the space that welcomes you and your guests to your home and sets the scene for how the rest of your home is experienced. Ask yourself how you want to feel when you arrive home, and how you want your guests to feel when they walk in the door. Think about comfort, warmth, relaxation, inspiration, safety and protection from the elements, then think about how you can transform the entrance so it evokes those feelings on arrival.
2. Keep it practical
An entranceway is often the least thought-about space in a home, but it’s a high-traffic area that needs to work hard so it’s important to consider the practical essentials. The exterior doorstep needs to be covered from the elements in case of wet weather – it should be a dry space to stand in while you find your keys if it’s raining or where guests can wait, sheltered, until you open the door. Make sure there’s adequate cover for multiple people. Once inside, storage space is required for shoes, jackets, bags and umbrellas. If you don’t have a coat cupboard, think about how you can create storage for these items. I’d recommend multiple hooks or a coat stand. Also consider a bench seat – they’re handy not only for sitting on while you put on your shoes, but as a place to leave your bag and create shoe storage with baskets placed beneath. A mirror at an entrance is a good addition – it reflects light into the room and also allows for a last-minute lippie or outfit check before you leave the house for the day.
3. Make more space by decluttering
Entranceways are busy places, and with so much activity going on there you will want to keep it clear of unnecessary items. Stick to the essentials and make sure what is there is working hard to meet your needs. It’s handy to have a hallway table as a place to drop your keys and other debris, but if you’re short on space think about installing a wall-hung shelf instead – this could be hung below a mirror, which will tick all the practicality boxes without cluttering the floor space with bulky furniture. Using this option might also allow you the space to add a bench seat.
4. Set the scene with materials
In terms of the look and design of the entranceway, it should set the scene for the rest of the house and give your guests a hint at what they can expect as they venture further inside. You can achieve this by introducing a lighter or darker version of paint colours you’ve used in the living areas, so the entrance has its own feeling but ties in with the other spaces. Or it might feature the same tiles that are in the kitchen, but in a different shape or colour. You want your entrance to feel like its own room, but also to mirror or allude to what’s happening in the rest of the house.
5. Add personality
Lastly, add your own personal touch. Try a bold artwork or feature light, for example. You don’t need to go overboard in a small space but it’s nice to add something to help with that first impression.