Entryway Design Tips: 6 Ways to Make an Entrance in Your Home

While often overlooked, the entryway might be one of the most important spaces in your home. After all, it’s the place that welcomes people into your home and, in some cases, might be the only part that visitors see. So why treat your entryway like a total afterthought? You can use clever design features to get organized, brighten the space and make the best first impression possible. Go beyond the welcome mat and make sure your entryway says exactly what you want. Follow these design tips to really make an entrance with your front entryway.

Everything in its place

Front entrance with bench

Cut the clutter with smart storage solutions. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

If you’re like most homeowners, your entryway can get a little cluttered. As the landing place for kids, guests and even pets, it’s all too easy to let piles stack up. The best design tip for your entry is to make sure that everything has a place. Be realistic when planning out your foyer: if you tend to drop your mail when you walk in the door, make sure it has a place to go. Sure, in a perfect world your kids would hang their backpacks in their room, but a couple of hooks in the entry can keep them off of the floor. Even a place to stash shoes out of the way means you’re not tripping over boots and flip flops–and a shoe bin doesn’t need to be perfectly organized. Think about how you and your family uses the entryway and get organized.

Offer a seat

Front foyer with bench and table

A bench makes a comfortable place to take off shoes. Image: Svet_Feo/Shutterstock

One thing that most entryways tend to miss is a place to sit. Naturally, you’re not going to invite people to pull up a chair in your front foyer. Still, a place to sit gives a convenient place to slip on shoes or sort through the mail when coming and going. What’s more, a bench can double as a clever storage solution for shoes and jackets to help cut down on clutter. Look for a bench with shelving or one that hinges open to make your entryway comfortable and convenient.

Look up

Wood accent front entrance

Use wall space to set the tone for your house. Image: Vadym Andrushchenko/Shutterstock

Your entryway is the perfect place to define your style. While it might be a tighter area, you can capitalize on wall and ceiling space to bring in some extra style. A statement chandelier, for example, can give guests an idea of your home’s style. Or, a grouping of picture frames can add some interest to the walls. Travel much? Your foyer walls are the perfect place to display shadow boxes, mementos, and souvenirs so visitors get an idea of what’s important to you.

Define the space

Front entrance with rug and furniture

Use a rug to define the space. Image: Ambient Ideas/Shutterstock

If you live in an open concept home, a front entryway can be tricky. Without a clear definition between the foyer area and the rest of the home, you could be left scratching your head. Defining the space with color and furniture lets visitors know where the entry ends and the home begins. Stage your entry with furniture so there’s a clear delineation between it and the rest of your home. A well-placed bookcase or table gives a place to set keys or a bench and locker set shows guests where to stash their stuff. Entryway too small for furniture? Utilize a bold color or even wallpaper to bring attention to the foyer without clutter.

Reflect light

Front entrance with large mirror

Use mirrors to open up a tight space. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Entryways are notoriously tight in some homes and others can suffer from a lack of light. Bounce some brightness into the entry by utilizing mirrors to reflect light. This works especially well if your front door features windows. By angling a mirror directly across the source of light, you can essentially double down on whatever natural brightness you have to make your entry feel larger and airier.

Invite guests

Front entry with bench and storage entryway

Give visitors a place to stash their stuff. Image:
Michael Higginson/Shutterstock

Remember that your entryway should serve as a way to welcome guests into your home. Make sure that it gives the right impression and help your guests always feel comfortable. Offer a defined place to put things so that guests aren’t left holding coats and shoes. Diffusing essential oils or lighting a candle ensures your home smells as great as it looks. Keeping necessities like phone chargers, ice scrapers and umbrellas at the ready means you always have what visitors need on hand.

Take a look around your entryway and ask yourself: does this foyer say what I want it to? When you start thinking of your entryway as a personal space (and not just a place to drop your stuff) you can start to see how visitors feel when they walk through your front door. Focus on comfort and style to make sure your entryway really makes an entrance.

The post Entryway Design Tips: 6 Ways to Make an Entrance in Your Home appeared first on Freshome.com.

Add Architectural Detail with Wainscoting

Wainscoting can transform a boring space into a work of art. It can involve raised panels, recessed flat panels and bead board combined with various types of rail and molding. These add interest, style and, above all, a focal point to almost any room. Below are just some of the ways you can use it to create architectural detail in your home.

The history (and pronunciation) of wainscoting

Wainscoting beauty

Wainscoting brings out this home’s natural beauty. Image: Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

“Wainscoting was originally used to beef up construction in wet areas of homes and businesses,” according to Justin Riordan, founder of Portland-based Spade and Archer Design Agency. He says it was most often used in areas like kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms and servant corridors. “With the invention of green ‘hardy’ board – which is a water-resistant type of gypsum board, wainscot is purely decorative at this point.”

If you plan to use it, Riodan also believes you should know how to correctly pronounce the word.  “It’s pronounced ‘Wayne’s cot-ing’ not ‘Wayne’s coat-ing,’ he explains.

Materials and types

Wainscoting texture

Wainscoting adds texture and interest. Image: Sisoje/Getty Images

While previously made of wood, Riordan says it is now available in almost any type of material, ranging from tile to wallpaper. “There are many different types of wainscot — the least expensive and more pervasive would be beadboard,” he says.  “It’s not my first choice, but when a room requires a tough finish and a low cost, beadboard can certainly make sense.” Raised and recessed panels are typically the most popular types of wainscoting.

Wainscoting painted white

Painted white, wainscoting provides a clean contrast. Image: ExperienceInteriors/Getty Images

It appears that some people have a liberal definition of wainscoting (myself included). “Wainscoting is often transitioned at the top with a chair rail and with a base board at the bottom,” Riordan says. “When applied correctly, wainscoting should run from the baseboard to the chair rail  and it should not be any higher than 32 inches.” Riodan explains that if it’s higher than that it’s paneling, not wainscoting.

Wainscoting bathroom

In the bathroom, wainscoting should be waterproof. Image: projects3d/Getty Image

Brian Moloney, owner of The Finishing Company in Richmond, VA, says he commonly installs shadow box wainscoting, bead board wainscoting and board and batten wainscoting. Shadow box, though, is the most popular among his customers. “The shadow wainscoting consists of either a one- or two-piece chair railing with a ‘base cap’ or panel molding.” Moloney says all of the moldings can be purchased at a local big box store or millwork shop.

Wainscoting ideas


Wainscoting image

Use wainscoting to create a dramatic entrance. Image: alabn/Getty Images

You can install wainscoting in any room. However, Moloney says his customers tend to like it in the foyer. “Homeowners like to make an impression at the main entrance to their home, especially along the staircase,” he says. Also, while many people don’t think they need a formal living room, wainscoting can create a sophisticated and elegant formal entertaining area.

Dining room

Wainscoting elegance

Wainscoting can help to create an elegant dining room. Image: akurtz/Getty Images.

Dining rooms are another popular place to install wainscoting. “Some homeowners choose to continue the wainscoting to the ceiling with crown molding for a more formal look,” Moloney explains. “From a functional aspect, the chair railing/wainscot forms a physical barrier between the wall and furniture.”
Also, when used in breakfast nooks, he says it helps to define the space.


Wainscoting style

Wainscoting works in many house styles. Image: hikesterson/Getty Images

Wainscoting is also popular in kitchens. George Markoutsas, Executive Vice President at The ABL Group in Highland Park, IL, says his company uses it in a variety of ways. “Traditionally, wainscoting has been used with beadboard and chair rail, but it extends far beyond that stylistically and can be used in a variety of settings.” Markoutsas says it works in styles ranging from craftsman to contemporary. “There really is no limit to how wainscoting can be used, and it truly elevates the space that it’s used in to a new level,” he adds.


Wainscoting Getty Images

 Create a headboard and focal wall in the bedroom. Image: ArchiViz/Getty Images

Used in the bedroom, wainscoting also creates a clean and elegant look, especially when used as a headboard. “We have used wainscoting as an accent wall in a bedroom, eliminating the need for a headboard,” Markoutsas says.You can add it to create separation and frame artwork.



Beadboard is a popular bathroom choice. Image: phillipspears/Getty Images

Bathrooms have long been a favorite place for installing wainscoting. “With the popularity of shiplap growing exponentially, we have been replacing traditional beadboard applications in wainscoting to shiplap, giving the space a unique look not traditionally seen,” Markoutsas says.

Living room/family room

Wainscoting large rooms

Wainscoting also works well in large rooms. Image: hikesterson/Getty Images

“Height is another aspect of wainscoting that we have seen tweaked with our installations,” Markoutsas says. “It is not uncommon to see it being used on ¾ of the wall, especially in spaces that have 9’ plus ceiling heights.” He says this elevates the space and livens up bare walls that are otherwise dull and boring.

If you have large rooms and spaces, wainscoting can also make them more intimate in appearance. “It can help scale down a large room, and visually lower the ceiling in a very tall room,” according to Josie Abate at Ambience Design Group.  “Besides the beauty it adds, wainscoting can help protect your walls from markings, and also cover up existing damage to a wall,” Abate says.

What are your thoughts on wainscoting? Would you include it in your home? Let us know in the comments.

The post Add Architectural Detail with Wainscoting appeared first on Freshome.com.

Interior Designer Inspiration for Styling Your Coffee Table

Styled Coffee Table

Styling your coffee table sets the vibe for your entire living room. Image: Pottery Barn

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

We love the look of a styled coffee table to give your living room a pulled-together feel. When you think of your coffee table as more than just a surface for setting drinks and a book or two, you can create a stylish addition to your decor. When styling your coffee table, you’ll want to keep functionality in mind. A beautiful display of books and accessories is wonderful, but be sure you leave room for the essentials (like coasters and space for snacks and drinks). Once you have assessed how you actually use your coffee table, get inspired by these clever styling ideas from top interior designers:

Coffee Table Styling Made Simple

Styled coffee table

Flowers and a glass lantern brighten up a simple coffee table. Image: Hoskings Interiors

Jill Hoskings-Cartland of Hoskings Interiors finds several opportunities to transform a simple coffee table into a focal point. Using her tips, styling a coffee table that is both attractive and functional is easy.

  • Glass instantly adds sophistication to a vignette. A glass cloche, or a collection of this traditional bell-shaped jar in varying heights, can feature everything from greens and florals to sculptures and collectibles. Display them on a tray to present them as a curated grouping.   
  • Coffee tables should be functional, so as you plan out your centerpiece or vignette, incorporate enough room for your guests to put down a drink when you’re entertaining. Use 1/3 of the overall length/diameter of the table as the approximate space you’ll need to style a centerpiece.
  • It’s the successful mix of color, texture and various heights that take a coffee table centerpiece to the next level. Books, vases, greens and metal elements carefully styled in one cohesive arrangement can create a perfectly balanced, magazine-worthy vignette.
  • Repeat your wall color, couch color or a color in nearby artwork on your coffee table. This makes that all-important aesthetic connection and creates a repetition of color.
  • Change your coffee table vignette seasonally. It will keep you from getting bored and help you celebrate the season without having to wait for the December holidays. Since fall is approaching, think silver pumpkins and a fall floral arrangement in a silver vase as an alternative to the standard “basket of pinecones.”

Be Open to New Ideas

beach house decor

An eclectic group of small tables offers flexibility in a comfortable beach home. Image: Mark Cutler Design

Mark Cutler is a dynamic LA-based interior designer. Mark’s approach is to rethink the traditional idea of what a coffee table can be. Customizing the configuration of your furniture and accessories can create a totally unique look when styling your coffee table.

Mark asks, “Why just one table? Depending on the situation, a cluster of small tables may be the best solution. In the featured photo, it was a large room so a cluster of tables allowed the grouping to expand and contract as needed, whether you need a place to put a cocktail or somewhere to put your feet up. Also, since it was a beach house, we were trying to tell a story about location and I thought that the group told a cool story about flotsam and jetsam that may wash up on the beach.” 

“I like to use a variety of objects on a table. Boxes are great for holding a collection of remotes, books add a bit of flavor and tell the story of your interests and even a few pieces of art glass or sculpture add some variety of color and scale that can capture the eye.  My general rule of thumb is to use collections in odd numbers so you will often see in my work groupings of 3, 5 or 7. This always seems more harmonious.”

Keep Your Coffee Table Style Simple

contemporary coffee table

A glass and metal coffee table highlights simple accessories. Image: Wayfair

Alice Chiu of Miss Alice Designs shares her inspiration for creating a relaxing and organized coffee table design. “I like to keep the coffee table very simple without a lot of clutter, so I usually just style with one or two books (in different sizes and stacked) and flowers, or a pile of design magazines and small decorative objects on top.  I also like to vary the scale of each item to add visual interest to the table. Organizing a few items in a larger tray keeps the coffee table simple and tidy.”

Style Your Coffee Table With Meaning

A coffee table styled with favorite accessories is a stylish accent for this comfortable space. Image: Chad James Group

Interior designer Chad James shared his favorite (and simple) tips for styling your coffee table with special items you may already have at home. “I love to arrange items as if they’re in a museum. Consider them as collected special items.” Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Choose a beautiful, unique box to hold items that aren’t so pretty, like remotes, matches or lighters for candles, a set of coasters, etc.
  • Choose eight to ten of your all-time favorite, most beautiful largescale hardback coffee table books.
  • Add your favorite scented candle in a glass hurricane vase.
  • Display something that’s alive, like simple flowers or a hearty spot of green foliage.
  • When arranging these items on the table, make sure to consider size and scale. For example, stack the largest books on the bottom towering to the smallest on top.

“Finally, make sure to add something that tells your story.  Something that’s collected or something that holds great meaning to you… like a bowl of rocks that you and your grandfather collected on walks in the country or a small pewter cup that has feathers that you’ve found on your outdoor journey.”

Think Outside the Box When Styling Your Coffee Table

natural coffee table styling

Natural elements fill this warm and inviting living room. Image: Catherine Macfee Interior Design

Mother and daughter Catherine & Justine Macfee are the creative force behind Catherine Macfee Interior Design. Their collaboration gives them a unique perspective on creating beautiful and fresh interior spaces.

Creative Director Justine Macfee suggests making your coffee table just as unique as your accessories. “As the centerpiece for any living room or entertainment space, the coffee table can always be a special anchor to set the tone for the environment. We like to use coffee tables that are unique and represent the strength of the entire home. We have created custom tables using steel, wood or glass to create these versatile and usable tables. In addition to the traditional ‘coffee table book,’ we always try to bring in something unique.”

To bring a natural style to your coffee table, Justine brings inspiration from the outside. ”One of my favorite things to do is bring a piece from the outdoors,” she says. “For example, for a beach house, we like to bring in polished driftwood and set it on a small stand. For a city home, we like to bring a piece of modern sculpture in miniature. In a casual mountain retreat or a home in a wine region, we always try to find that unique piece of art that is representative of its outdoor surroundings and culture.”

These tips should make styling your coffee table much less of a mystery. Let us know how you style yours in the comments!

The post Interior Designer Inspiration for Styling Your Coffee Table appeared first on Freshome.com.