Creating a Welcoming Foyer

A foyer is the spot to put down your purse, your jacket, and your keys. But it’s also the place where you transition both physically and emotionally from outside in the world to inside your personal sanctuary.


I believe that what’s going on in your home’s entry has a huge impact on you and your guests (what's just outside the door is really important, too, but for our purposes here, we’ll skip the porch and focus on the interior entry area). Everyone's home is different in terms of what kind of entry space is available. In the home where I grew up, the door opened right into the dining room! But whether you have a huge foyer that’s a room unto itself or a barely-there space like my childhood home, it’s about making your reentry into your home from being out in the world feel inviting, comfortable, and enjoyable.


What is the entrance to your home like? Do you see the mail you haven't gone through yet and the kids' backpacks? Or maybe you just see an empty space with no signs of life or personality. Neither of those really say “Welcome home!” and they certainly don’t make you feel happy to be home. Your home’s entry should create a moment that makes you feel happy as you walk in (or out, for that matter).So how can you achieve that? When I design the entries of my clients’ homes, I make sure to pay attention to a handful of important considerations in order to create the inviting entryway they’re looking for.


A modern home’s welcoming foyer with checkered flooring, large-scale abstract art, and a leather upholstered bench.
Image via Instagram @annette_english (designer unknown)

1. Feel-good flooring

Often, the first thing you notice when you step into an entryway is the floor. Think about walking into your favorite fancy hotel. What’s on the floor? It’s usually some kind of gorgeous stone and/or a thick, luxe rug that feels like walking on a cloud.


In your own home, having something underfoot in the entry that feels just as good as it looks makes the space you’re stepping into feel inviting and comfortable while also defining it as separate and distinct from other nearby spaces.


2. Art that delights you

The art you hang on your foyer’s walls sets the tone for the entire home. While people sometimes shy away from incorporating strong design elements here, I think foyers should make a statement about the personality of the home and the people who live in it.


Hanging a fabulous piece of art there that you love—even if it’s literally the only thing you have room to do in your foyer—is going to have a positive impact on how you experience entering your home. Because it’s a transition area, even a bold art piece won’t feel overwhelming because people are only passing through rather than sitting and looking at it for hours at a time.

A spacious, modern, welcoming foyer with curved benches, live plants, and layered lighting
Image via Instagram @andreabenedettini

3. A comfortable seat

Having a spot to remove and put on shoes is always a good idea in a foyer. Even just a low, backless stool you can place your foot on while you change shoes can elevate the experience of entering and exiting your home.


If you have a little more room, add a small bench or chair. This can be a modern wood bench or something upholstered. I personally love mid-century slatted wood designs as well as many of the bent wood styles we're seeing lately.


4. A plant or two

It’s possible that there is no better addition to any entry as plants. Adding something green enlivens any space and makes things feel cheery. Not to mention, organic elements such as plants have been scientifically proven to be relaxing and grounding for us as humans. They actually help our well-being!


If you’re not great with plants, don't be afraid to treat plants more like cut flowers and simply change them out if they don’t make it. Alternatively, choose low-maintenance succulents or as a last resort, look for realistic-looking faux plants (they’re few and far between, but they do exist).


Warm wood walls, black and white photography, statement lighting, console table, and stool like those in this small entry are perfect welcoming entryway ideas when you have limited space.
Image via Instagram @wolfdesigngroup

5. Handy storage

Foyers are often the ‘junk drawer’ of our homes. We tend to set down whatever we’re holding as we walk in the door and forget that we’ve left a mess. Having a designated station for items like your keys, garage door opener, and phone charger will help curb clutter and keep your space tidy. If you have room for a piece of storage furniture, have a drawer for this (it’s SO satisfying to drop them in and shut them away!).


If you don’t have that kind of space, use a tray, basket, or bowl. Whatever you pick, it should be fabulous AND functional. I want you to even love the daily experience of tossing your keys in there! I think it’s fine if the receptacle gets a bit banged up, but if you don’t like a lived-in look, you can hide those items away in a pretty box or lidded basket instead.



6. Layered lighting

A big part of creating a welcoming foyer is to light the way beautifully. I’m always a fan of layered lighting and the foyer is no exception. It’s warmer and more welcoming, beckoning those approaching to come inside. And the best part is that you’re able to set the mood as you turn the lights up or down.

An inviting entryway with modern waterfall table, upholstered benches, and a bold black and white photograph
Image via settlingsouthern.com

In the foyer, layered lighting can be any combination of wall sconces (ideally, flanking artwork or a beautiful mirror), an intriguing ceiling fixture, and lamps. If you have to choose just one, choose something fabulous and statement-making to bring in personality and style.


Conclusion

And there you have it! Creating a beautiful, welcoming foyer doesn’t have to mean a grand entrance complete with dual staircases and a table overflowing with flowers (although it certainly can!). Even small additions can go a long way if you bring in items that truly make you happy.


Everyone’s entry space is different but I believe there’s always an opportunity to create a ‘moment’ that makes you feel supported and celebrated every time you walk in the door! Would you like support designing your dream home, complete with an inviting entryway? If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, reach out to us. We love creating beautifully inspired spaces that enhance your quality of life.