Depending on the layout of your home, the main entryway your family uses on a daily basis isn’t always the same door you use to greet guests. That said, if you don’t have the luxury of a separate mudroom, side entrance, or garage-entry, it can be a real challenge to keep clutter from building up near your front door. Stray shoes, coats, and sports equipment probably aren’t the first things you want visiting guests to see, but it can be difficult to strike a balance between a space that’s usable for you and your family everyday, but that still looks stylish and tidy for guests. The trick? Add style to your space without sacrificing storage space.
Get The Look: Most decorative entryways are designed with a table or cabinet that’s primarily there for looks, partly to give you a little surface space but mostly to keep your entryway from feeling barren. The very first way to upgrade the functionality of your space is to swap out that tall table for a long wooden bench, giving you a convenient place to sit to put on your shoes. Attractive, evenly-spaced coat hooks are another must for usability, but you can soften their appearance by topping them with a simple wood shelf decorated with family photos or trinkets. An umbrella stand can easily be dual-purposed as an oversized “vase” for birch or willow branches, masking the functionality of the piece with a nice artsy-earthy feel. Woven or fabric baskets or storage cubes (or even decorative boot trays) help either disguise doorway clutter (shoes, scarves, and so on) or turn it into an attractive part of the decor. To keep your bench from looking too barren, add a few decorative throw pillows and a blanket that match the earthy decor. A natural fiber rug will add a nice homey touch to your space, and can stand up to heavy foot traffic – including dirty shoes. Last but not least, where most entryways feature a big, light-reflecting mirror, for a homier touch, look for a painted or woodcut sign. These are popular enough that you shouldn’t have trouble finding one with a font and phrase you like, and many DIY craft centers will provide the materials you need to make your own, for a truly personalized touch.
Why It Works: Formal entryways that don’t see regular use are incredibly fun to decorate, for the simple reason that they don’t have to be functional. But if you do use that space regularly, keeping it looking nice requires one part organizational skills and one part flair. Making one-to-one changes from the way you’d normally decorate a purely-for-looks entryway is a good start: it’ll help give your space a fun, designer flair while upgrading a few fundamental elements to be more useful. The real trick, though, is threefold: provide plenty of storage for everyday items, make them super easy to use (so your family won’t be tempted to leave their stuff out in the open), and give them a little camouflage so they’re nice to look at, even when your family is rotating through bulky coats and muddy boots.
Having a cute entryway and a functional mudroom don’t have to be mutually exclusive, you just need to get a little clever and give some of the most functional items an appealing, designer flair.