Entryway Must Haves

Entryways can be confusing spaces to design.  In the last couple weeks I have been helping many people who have been requesting assistance with their entryways. Whether it’s a front door, back door, mudroom or side door, these spaces are often neglected when considering functionality and décor.  Whatever door is your most used entrance, it needs to perform on a very functional and aesthetic level.

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One of the most challenging elements of the entryway is the amount of walkways that usually flow through the space. Outside doors, connecting rooms, stairways and sometimes closets and power rooms all can connect to the main entryway. Considering traffic flow is important when designing how a space needs to function because you don’t want items blocking walkways. Having multiple walk-throughs also can make a space feel busy. Having a light or neutral colour scheme can assist with keeping things calm and making them feel bigger.

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

When deciding what elements to add to an entryway, make sure you check off my 4 must-haves:

  1. Somewhere to set – when you or a guest walk into a house, you usually have something to set down immediately. Whether it’s a purse, wallet, drink or keys, a space to set things is very useful directly inside a main door.   A console or entry table is the most common choice for foyers. If you’re working with a mudroom sometimes a desk can work. A side or backdoor sometimes have limited space so a thin wall shelf may have to do the trick. If the space is small, don’t add a full piece of furniture, but rather mount something directly to the wall to keep the space from getting cluttered.
  2. Somewhere to hang – you will need somewhere to hang coats, jackets and bags in an entryway. A closet nearby is the best choice as things are easy to hang and kept out of sight. If there is none, consider a coat rack or wall hooks.
  3. Somewhere to gaze – a mirror has dual function in this space. Not only is it functional for allowing you to check your appearance before or upon entering a home, but it also can help enlarge and brighten a dark or busy space. There are many beautiful choices in a variety of sizes so don’t settle on a plain rectangle slab.
  4. Somewhere to sit – chairs and benches are best in long or large spaces. If your entryway is small or narrow, consider a stool or ottoman. If your entryway opens up onto a landing at a stairwell, you may have to forgo the extra furniture and consider the stair your seat.


Something else to consider in an entryway is floor coverings. Generally some sort of tile is best in an entryway to allow easy clean ups for wet or muddy shoes. But whether you have tile, wood or carpet, adding a doormat or rug by your door or main walkways can help soak up wet messes, allow for easy cleanups (pick a washable rug if you can) and allow for some visual interest by adding another texture, colour or pattern to your design.



Here are a few additional things to look at when remodeling or enhancing an entryway:

STAIRS– if you have an old oak stairway, consider painting things out to instantly update the space.

PRIVACY – if you have a lot of windows or a glass door, consider getting your glass frosted or switched to a textured glass to add some privacy.  When windows are present, select coverings if you like.  If you live in a rural location, you might not even need to consider this.

DOORS – sometimes a white interior-side of an outside door can seem blah or prone to dirt and smudges. Consider adding a pop of colour to your space by painting the door. Upgrading your door to a solid wood choice may also serve best in your space.

ART/PHOTOS – you want the first thing you see when you come into your home to be beautiful and welcoming. Sometimes family portraits or beautiful art can be a great choice to enhance a space especially if you have a lot of wall space. Size and groupings should be considered for the size of your space.

WALL-COVERINGS– if you have a massive foyer, consider adding moulding or use paint in a darker colour to enhance the space. Sometimes wallpaper can be a great choice for entryways too. Depending on your style, paneling, shiplap or rails could also be considered.

LIGHTING – ensure your space has adequate lighting, especially for a dark or small space.  This is also a great way to add some interest or update an outdated room. For tall spaces pick an appropriate sized chandelier.   Semi-flush or flushed light fixtures come in a variety of styles for smaller spaces. Wall sconces or recessed lighting can also be considered depending on the needs and size of your space.  Entryways are a great space to take a risk with lighting so try something unexpected and stunning!



To create the most welcoming and functional entrance, be sure to consider adding the 4 must-have elements to any entryway. Main entryways need to function at the highest level for smooth mornings, happy returns and welcoming all guests. Be sure your entryway has been considered or spruce it up using some of the tips above.

Want specific advice for your entryway?  Message me here!

*All photo credits – Pinterest (excluding drawings)


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