10 Tips for Creating a Pretty, Functional Entryway

This post about creating an entryway was updated in May 2023.

Creating an entryway with this pretty, blue entryway with oak wood cabinetry storage | Ballard Designs

Creating an entryway that’s function, beautiful, and welcoming should be a priority in every home as it’s one of the busiest areas of the homes. There’s traffic in and out, mail, bags, backpacks, umbrellas, and all sorts of items that need a home. We’re walking through all of our best tips for how to create an entryway that functions in this post.


1. Before You Enter

Though you may be focused on creating a beautiful entryway, a beautiful foyer space begins before your guests walk through the door. Check that outdoor lighting is in working order and the path to your door is clear. In warmer climates, a pair of plants flanking your door provides a happy hello to your home.

2. Entryway Organization

You don’t want to be welcomed home by an elusive heap of stuff. Find the best solution for you – a bench with baskets below and hooks above, a vintage trunk for stowing clutter, or a simple tray for your keys. There are many different solutions for an entryway depending on the size of your space, but we generally recommend having the following combination of storage:

  • Closed storage for mess
  • Boxes or Bowls for keys and change
  • An empty surface as a drop zone
  • Durable materials to combat dirt and mud

If you’ve got the room, consider adding a bank of cabinets like we did above that can store sports equipment, coats, bags, boots, and any other necessities out of sight. Our Hampton and Alcott systems are beautiful and tricked out with all sorts of storage solutions.

3. Add a Mirror

A mirror in your entryway will brighten up your space. Not only does it reflect light from a fabulous light fixture or glass door, it will prevent a Bridget Jones lipstick-on-your-face scenario later. A gilded mirror, like the one above, brings an elegant feel to a white-washed console table.

4. Lighten Up

Whether it’s a table lamp, a swoon-worthy sconce, or a perfectly placed pendant – a well-lit entry makes for a welcoming one.

Large entryway with round mirror and storage cabinets

5. Natural Fiber Rugs

To create an entryway that feels welcoming, casual, and can hold up to traffic, incorporate natural elements like natural fiber rugs, greenery, and woven materials. All of these elements bring a lightness to your mudroom or foyer that will give it personality and feeling.

In the room above, we used our hard-wearing Columbia Sisal Rug because of its durability and simple design. This fan-favorite rug stands up to traffic and has over 200 positive reviews!

6. A Spot for a Seat

An upholstered ottoman completes this entryway, just underneath a wall mounted coat rackEvery entryway needs a spot to sit down, place your purse, or tie your shot. Whether it’s a bench, ottoman, or chair, we recommend working a seat into every entryway. For extra points, add a punchy print which will add personality, color, and pattern.

7. Pattern Play

When creating an entryway, bring in wallpaper or a fun patterned fabric. This will give your entrance major wow factor, bring in a lighthearted color, and often make your space feel larger and more complete.

8. Personality and Character

As the first glimpse into your abode, your entry should have a little character. A few framed photos on a console table, a cup of your favorite candy, or a great piece of art add some personal panache. A great entryway should function well and have a beautiful feel. There’s no reason you can’t have both!

9. A Candle or Diffuser

There’s nothing worse than arriving home to a strange or musty smell. Add a diffuser or scented candle right when you walk in the door so you (and your guests) are greeted with a pleasant aroma.

10. Feet First

A runner or entry mat draws people in and defines your entry space. An indoor/outdoor rug is a smart option for durability and easy upkeep, and something patterned will disguise stains and all color. Another great addition, especially if you’ve got kids or live in a snowy location, a boot tray organizes and keeps dirty shoes from tracking all over the house

Browse more decorating inspiration below or on our Entryway Pinterest Board, or find entryway solutions at Ballarddesigns.com:

To stay up to date with all things How to Decorate, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    April 20, 2015

    Hi! I love this site. I never thought to re-do our entry way until I read this article! Boy, does it need a make-over. May I ask where the wall paper is from in the last photo? Do you have any mid-range price wall paper brand suggestions? I’m looking to do a low budget make over, our entry way is very small. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      April 24, 2015

      Hi Alexandria,
      Thank you so much for your comment! Unfortunately, we don’t have information source information for the wallpaper featured in the last photo of this post, but we do offer some really lovely wallpaper options, including some colorful florals that have a similar watercolor effect. You can find all of our wallpaper options here.
      Happy decorating and good luck on your entry makeover!
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    Susan Carlisle

    February 16, 2014

    My foyer is 12×15 with a 9-foot high ceiling, no furniture in the center of the room. What size chandelier should I look for, and how high off the floor should it be installed?

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      March 6, 2014

      Hi Susan,

      Our rule of thumb for selecting the right chandelier size is this: add the length and width measurements of the room together, and your answer equals the right size diameter your chandelier should be! So, for your entryway, we would suggest something around 27 inches in diameter, like our Claire 6-Arm Chandelier or our Cosette 6-Arm Chandelier. As far as how high to hang it. The lowest point in the chandelier shouldn’t be below 7 feet.

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Reply


    January 9, 2014

    Just finished reading your ‘entryway’ article and am looking for further inspiration. I recently renovated my kitchen (which flanks my entryway) and purchased a coat rack from Ballard design to update the entry (which is small and functional and looks on into my kitchen; which is now white, bright and beautiful.) I do love the new coat rack and it served us very well with all the holiday guest, but the rest of the small room needs some help and a welcoming feel now. Can you give me some suggestions on something (smallish) that I can do to make this space more welcoming? Function has been taken care of with the coat rack and a few baskets and boxes, but it seems a bit dark and cold compared to the surrounding space.

  4. Reply


    January 7, 2014

    I need help decorating a small condo in Fl. Want the look of sea side beach.

  5. Reply


    January 7, 2014

    I’ve always wondered about this!