Think of the entryway as the HOV lane in your house. Its primary purpose is function. Really, it's useless if the space doesn't work efficiently. But you don't have to surrender personal expression in the name of smooth operation. Depending on the architecture (and your sensibility), the entryway can give you an opportunity to exercise underused decorating muscles.
The spare look and neutral palette of my foyer make a perfect salve for my busy life in a hectic city. And because my place is designed to entertain, the entryway includes a bench to sit on when removing shoes, since the entire place is a no-shoe zone. (Guests are asked to line up their footwear along one wall.) 1. Infinity mirror, in Stainless Steel, roomand board.com. 2. Stainless steel cube, 8", and stainless steel tray, 10"; jamaligarden.com. 3, Floating shelf (custom). 4. Houndstooth fabric leash, by Martha Stewart Pets, from petsmart.com. 5. Slim umbrella stand, chiasso.com. Wall paint, in Heath interior latex flat finish, and shelf paint, in Heath interior high-gloss finish, by Martha Stewart Living Paint, homedepot.com/marthastewart.
An attractive mirror plus smart and stylish storage are key to getting in and out with elegance and ease.
Mirrors: I'd put a floor-length mirror in my entryway if I had the option. Who doesn't want to check himself out before leaving the house? A front-hall mirror can be as over-the-top as you want, but avoid antiqued surfaces that blur your reflection. And choose a frame scaled to the size of the space. Iron and Rope Mirror, restorationhardware.com
I'm drawn to the simplest rectilinear shapes when it comes to tables for the foyer, but some entryways, especially tighter ones, benefit from the rounded elegance of a demilune. Clean lines keep the area from looking cluttered, but don't let me stop you from choosing an ornate chest if that makes you smile. From left New Country demilune sofa table, in Cotton, ethanallen.com.
I love to put shiny silver trays all over my apartment, and a rimmed one is perfect for corralling my keys and cell phone. But this is an accessory that can, and really should, change on a whim. Think of trays as you do serving dishes -- sometimes the occasion suggests a specific style -- and make a habit of switching them for a party, a new season, or a big event. Remember, it's the easiest element to change: A different texture or color can give your entryway a totally fresh look. Nantucket In-Box basket, basketville.com
When I got my first umbrella stand, I finally felt like I was living in an adult apartment. From ornate to understated, there are all kinds of options, many of which are not even designed to hold umbrellas ( just use a little imagination). I love the minimal one in my foyer, but at some point, when I'm ready to mix things up, I'll swap it out for a huge and colorful piece of Chinese porcelain or a cylindrical glass vase. Wide-lip vase, in Persimmon, larsbolander.com.
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