I’m in the process of moving into my dream home, and the biggest struggle I’m facing is what to do with the front entryway. It opens immediately on a staircase and a narrow hallway – a common feature of both older and smaller homes – without much room at all for furniture. Now, in my book, there are two must-haves for an entryway: surface space and seating. But if you’re also stuck with a space that only has room for one or the other, I found a perfect solution: an entry table with two matching stools.
Add Functionality To Your Entry Table
This is a look I’ve been seeing more and more often as homeowners gravitate towards multi-purpose furniture, and it’s one that’s almost tailor-made for a cramped front entryway. A tall, console style table offers plenty of surface space to set down keys, mail, or your travel mug… as well as whatever obligatory decorations you want to put on or around it to make the space feel a little more welcoming. Then, the small stools underneath pull out easily so you can sit down and slip off your shoes, or just drop your coat or purse for a moment on your way in or out of the house.
Storing Ottomans In Your Entryway Is Good For Your Whole House
Depending on the style of the table and stool pair, you can end up with seating that’s more stool-like or more ottoman-like. In either case, they aren’t actually attached to the table, and are often sold separately (more on this in a bit). That means that if your home is on the small side overall and not just in the entryway, it’s also a great way to stock and store a little extra emergency seating. I find small, soft ottomans are particularly versatile when you’re hosting a crowd, as they’re the perfect size to act as a seat, a side table, or even a footrest.
Make It Multi-Function (Not Just “Space Saving”)
Now to be fair, “cram some ottomans under your entry table” isn’t exactly the most breathtaking advice. After all, if you live in a small space, you’re probably used to squeezing as much stuff in as you can… and being frustrated when things end up looking overcrowded. But this type of entryway table-slash-seating is designed not just to save space, but to look good doing it. Two ottomans will fit comfortably under a table (with enough space left that it looks on purpose), and they come in such a wide range of shapes and fabrics that you really can get a look that will accentuate your space without making it look overstuffed.
Pre-Assembled Or Mix-And-Match?
The downside of your ability to choose just the right ottomans to pair with your table is that often you’ll actually need to choose all the parts and pieces yourself, and purchase them individually. It’s really really important when you’re looking for this kind of entry table to pay attention to exactly what’s included. While some come as pre-formed sets of a table and two matching stools, others (like in the image above) are sold as a table, a stool, and a second stool. This is great for your ability to get the exact look you want, and even to control how much you want to spend on it – as long as you’re sure to read the fine print!
Don’t See One You Like? Make Your Own!
All that said, while many companies are now pushing their ottomans, stools, and console tables for use in your entryway in this way, if you don’t see a combo you like, there’s no reason not to make your own from whatever parts and pieces you like. There are just a few things you want to keep in mind. You want to do a good amount of measuring to make sure any stools you choose will fit without being crowded. You also want them to be easily and comfortably grabbable. Whether they’re soft ottoman style stools or ceramic garden stools, they won’t be much use if you can’t get them out from under the table. And if your space is REALLY small? A narrow table and a single ottoman will work just as well!
Beyond The Entryway: Doubling Down On Seating
Combining a tall table with a pair of stools is ideal for an entrance shared by family and guests – where you want a place to dump your mail and take off your boots, but also enough decoration to make a nice impression on visitors. But if you find yourself less in need of surface space but really hurting for seating, look for this setup, but with a small twist: a standard bench with two small square ottomans underneath. This is perfect either for a mudroom or for running alongside the staircase in a small entryway, and offers an always-there bench for seating plus lightweight add-on ottomans you can grab and use anywhere in your home.
Decorating a small home can often feel like a losing proposition, but furniture that does double duty (and looks good doing it) is increasingly available… and a great way to stylishly maximize even the smallest of spaces.