Utilizing Unusual Space: the Entryway

Ah, the entryway. It can be anything from crossing the threshold directly into the living room to a cavernous, echoing foyer with a spiral staircase going up and up…

Wherever you fall on the scale (threshold--1; echoing foyer--10), you want your entryway to be inviting. It’s where you welcome guests into your home, as well as the portal for all the family comings and goings. Whatever its size, you want it to serve in grand style.

Even a 1 (threshold only) can host an attractive rug to wipe feet, a decorative coatrack off to one side, and a mirror or picture on the wall for ambiance. Voilà! Stylish entryway with very little effort.

As we move toward center scale, 3 through 7 where most of us live, there’s more room to work with and more expectation for the space to be highly functional. Your lifestyle and the size of your family will dictate how much functionality you need from your entryway.

Who Goes There?

Research (mine) has proven there are various entryway personalities.

  • The drop everything on the floor as soon as you step inside the door and go on your merry way.
  • The wrestler who elbows in with loaded arms and staggers into the main house before dumping everything in a pile on a couch or kitchen counter.
  • The neatnik (also known as “angel” to mom) who strides through the door, straight to their own room or home office, putting everything they are carrying precisely in place.
  • The ”I-know-I-forgot-something” who always leaves under a cloud of apprehension.
  • The multi-leaver who returns at least twice to get forgotten items.

Surprisingly, there are no age or gender barriers to these behaviors (maturity doesn’t factor in); kids to grandparents can exhibit any one of these personality types. A single family can have one or all of these, which makes a thoughtfully planned entryway even more important. The more you can accommodate (or combat) these propensities, the happier you and your family will be.

The Working Entryway

Entryways take many forms, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  Entryways can be narrow hallways, alongside a staircase, a small room or an undefined open area. A Tailored Living® designer can help you maximize your entryway space with creative design ideas that bring function and fashion to your space, no matter its size or configuration.

Using cabinets, shelves, drawers, bins and hooks, you’ll find unlimited design potential in styles, finishes, colors and decorative hardware that will match any home décor.

  • Custom cabinets with doors keep clutter out of sight, providing hanging space for outerwear, or shelves to corral school and sports equipment.
  • Open shelves can hold shoes, purses, books or a tray for smaller items (see photo above).
  • A bench can provide seating, storage inside or underneath depending on the style, and a quick place for groceries or other items to be unloaded before they reach their final destination.
  • An accent table or a narrow bookcase can provide a place to deposit keys, books or mail, with a basket close by for junk mail so you don’t have to handle it again.
  • A chair or two instead of a bench provides seating as well as extra drop-off surfaces.
  • Decorative hooks utilize wall space without encroaching on floor space in tight quarters.
  • A cubby or bin for each family member (including the dog) keeps personal things close at hand so they don’t get lost. (Gloves, hats, keys, lanyards, phones, iPods, leashes, poop bags and doggie sweaters.)

If you’re working with a very narrow space, sliding doors on a cabinet take less space than conventional swing out-doors, and recessing a custom cabinet or shelves into the wall, such as under a staircase, can capture unused space. Tailored Living’s custom designs will accommodate any challenges of tight spaces, sloped ceilings, windows or doors, and with our unique 3D D’Vinci design software you can see your design in progress, and know when it’s perfect!

The Enchanting Entryway

Just as with every other area of your home, you will want to decorate your entryway. Have some fun with it; it’s an area everyone will see again and again. Space is always an issue with what can and can’t be incorporated into design, so here are some ways to enhance your entryway that don’t take up much, if any, space.


  • Stencil a favorite quote on the wall in a fabulous font: Bless All Who Gather Here
  • Paint a vibrant colored accent wall
  • Paint stair risers a bold color
  • Paint a floor runner to give the space an illusion of length
  • Paint a section of wall with blackboard paint and frame it as a message center
  • Stencil faux crown molding or wainscoting on the walls.


  • Hang a chandelier that demands attention as a focal point in the entryway
  • Use a mirror or grouping of mirrors to intensify the lighting
  • Place a chic lamp on a table or bookcase
  • Install stylish wall sconces

Decorative Touches

  • Crown molding can dress up and define your entryway
  • A colorful rug or runner warms up the space
  • Framed art work, quotes or family pictures create interest
  • Wainscoting with decorative hooks adds a touch of class
  • Natural fiber baskets in cubbies or as an umbrella stand add texture
  • Seasonal decorations keep your entryway fresh

Don’t let your home’s first impression be a sorry one. Our designers can help you transform your entryway into both fabulous and functional, a fitting introduction to your home. Call 866-712-3404 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation.

We also offer custom organization solutions for any other area of your home such as closet storage systems, garage cabinets and flooring, home office design, pantry, laundry room and more.