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Functional can come in all sizes

WE EXPECT A LOT from the foyer. It is one of the hardest working spaces in the home. In we come; arms full, drop the keys, mail and bags, kick off our salty boots and wiggle out of our winter layers. And still, we want to greet the next person who comes through the door in a foyer that is clean, welcoming and well organized; or at least has a spot to hang their coat and put their dripping boots. After all, you know what they say about first impressions.

With a little planning you can create a highly functional area by the door that reflects your style and makes your guests feel welcomed. Regardless of the size of your space (grand or tiny) your foyer can be fab in four easy steps. Really!


Step 1: Create storage zones

Assigning a place for everything is particularly important in a foyer. Here in the Atlantic Provinces, entryways must be able to handle flip-flops and umbrellas as easily as boots and winter coats. To maximize every inch of space, keep out-of-season items in a different spot. Use a box, for example, in an out-of-the-way closet to store your flip-flops in the winter and your hats and mitts in the summer. This keeps every inch of the space in your foyer open for items that you use regularly. Then, it’s easy to create storage zones by choosing décor pieces that fit in with your lifestyle.

Footwear zone

The boots, sneakers, soccer cleats and dress shoes in a typical family can overwhelm even the largest entry. A tiered shelf in a closet, or even against a wall, can certainly help contain them. Whether you have a closet or not, a boot tray is an important tool for keeping the salt and slush to a minimum in the winter. A simple black one will do, but there are some very creative options online for you crafty people. A basket, like the one shown in the inspiration board (page 64), tucked into a corner works remarkably well to round up flip-flops in the summer.

Coat zone

If you have a lovely large closet and some empty hangers, then this is the spot for all your heavy winter outer layers. If, on the other hand, you don’t have a massive closet, but you do have some extra floor space consider a coat rack or even an armoire. If your foyer is more the “modest type” and space is a little tighter, try some hooks like the ones pictured on page 64. You can even install a few at a low height so that the kiddos can hang up their own coats.

Pet zone

If you have a dog, it’s handy to have a basket or a drawer just for pup paraphernalia. Keeping a leash, waste bags and treats gathered by the door also helps you get out the door quickly at walk time.

Drop zone

Invariably, when we come into our homes we have stuff to offload. A well-placed shelf, cabinet or table, as shown above, is a great spot to toss your keys and mail. Use a drawer or basket to hold mitts, scarves and hats. If space allows, a pretty bin can catch kids’ backpacks and bags as they come through the door.

With careful planning and functional storage options your foyer can work hard and look great at the same time.

Step 2: Implement weather controls

Mud, dirt, snow and slush; we have it all here on the East Coast. This step will help stop the mess in its tracks. Coupled with your boot tray from above, a large durable rug like the one in our inspiration board is a must. There are plenty of decorative rugs available that can stand up to the elements. In the last few years, eye-catching outdoor rugs have hit the market. These are particularly resilient and pretty enough to use indoors. A slip resistant rug liner will prevent it from sliding around.

With all the rain we see in the spring and autumn months, an umbrella stand is practical if you have a spacious foyer. The stand will catch drips and keep your umbrellas at the ready for a quick dash outside.

Step 3: Install a prep area

A seat can be really helpful when you are pulling on boots and tying laces, especially for the younger and older crowd.

Benches are roomy enough for two, and often have space underneath to tuck your boot trays or mitt baskets. Small stools, like the fabric ottoman shown above, work wonders in tighter quarters and can be slipped under a console table when not in use.

If you are lucky enough to have a roomy entryway, you might consider an upholstered occasional chair or two.

A generously sized mirror, like the one shown in the inspiration board, can make a tiny space look bigger and brighter. Besides, it’s nice to be able to check your look before you hurry out the door.

Step 4: Personalize

Now that we have all the functional aspects of your foyer addressed, it’s time for the fun part; making it “yours.” Your entrance is a preview of the rest of your home, for that reason it should reflect the mood of your entire interior. If you have a rustic feel to your décor, you should echo that in your foyer. On the other hand, if you live in an elegantly formal house, your foyer should also be so.

Make a plan. Decide on a style and colour scheme, and carry those through in each item that you choose, whether it’s paint for the walls, rug or stool. Don’t forget art. A big piece can add “wow” but even a smaller piece, like the colourful one in the inspiration board, can add a lot of character to the space and pull the whole look together. Create a small vignette on the shelf or table; use decorative items like a vase to hold some fresh blooms and a small dish to corral keys.

Now your foyer can work even harder and look good doing it.

Kimberley Eddy owns Evolve Interior Decorating.

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