How to make a stylish Entryway?

First impressions matter. A stylish entryway is the quickest way to show your guests (or the UPS person) that you’ve got great taste, convincing them that just beyond the threshold is your magazine-ready, perfectly styled pad—where there’s minimal clutter, carefully fluffed pillows, and great art. A well-organized entry might say “There is definitely not a load of laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer for three days.” Or another one, outfitted in a bold, tropical wallpaper, could say “Look at what a fun, adventurous person I am!”

Can we rethink that approach, though?

When I say “first impressions,” the only person your entryway should impress is you. This is the portal from the outside world to your personal sanctuary. An entry welcomes you back after a joyful dinner with friends, a painful trip to the dentist, or spring break at the beach with the entire family. It’s the spot your kids come tumbling into after school, and the place where you kick off your heels at the end of a big presentation. It needs to be functional and suit all the needs of your lifestyle, but more importantly, it needs to welcome you home.

Go down any Pinterest rabbit hole, and you’ll find hundreds of solutions to make an entryway organized: cubbies, hooks, and shoe racks galore! But for me, it’s all about style. When your eye lands on something beautiful, it can trigger a release of dopamine to the brain. Scientists usually point to this phenomenon to describe romantic attraction, but it works in your home too. Create a space that you find truly beautiful, and you’ll always feel joy when you walk in the front door. That really gives new meaning to “home is your happy place,” doesn’t it?

A handmade Croft House credenza adds a sophisticated statement to this entryway. Crafted of nearly a hundred individual oak strips and industrial steel casing, it’s truly a work of art. A mirror above reflects the shimmering accents of the wall art, bouncing light into the space.

This is a small space just off of the front door, about 7-feet by 7-feet. “Too tight for any functional space,” designer Lada Webster explains. The previous owners had it as a small office—talk about feeling stressed right when you walk in the door! Webster outfitted it with a custom 11-foot bookshelf and a sleek bench to sit and take off your shoes.

The ombre wall treatment (hand painted by Bay Area artist Caroline Lizarraga) is calming, which is exactly what interior designer Kristen Peña had in mind. “We wanted the entry wall to almost feel as if you were at the shoreline,” she explains. I can’t think of anything else that would make me feel more relaxed!

When the front door opens right up to the living space, you may be inclined to leave the space bare. However, a few petite picks can help define the space and create a sense of flow from the exterior to the interior. A mirror will reflect light (and allow you to see if you’ve got lipstick on your teeth before running out the door), while the slim base of the table doesn’t take up too much visual real estate; the area still feels open and breezy.

Another angle of this entry by Toronto’s Two Fold Interiors reveals a tiled mudroom, complete with a cityscape wallpaper. The playful pattern lets you leave the chaos of the city behind for the comforts of home.

Natural wood adds warmth to this glossy, mid-century foyer, while bold pop art adds a dose of SoCal charm. (And if you’ve got an MTV Moon Person, definitely use it as a doorstop. Why not?)

Designer Kate Lester is a pro when it comes to a Modern Coastal vibe. Behind the seagrass-wrapped doors are shelves; each family member can have their own space to put a purse, wallet, keys, or even a pair of grab-and-go shoes.

“I’m a firm believer in Frank Lloyd Wright’s approach to foyers,” designer Lauren Svenstrup says. “Going dark and impactful in the entry is a great way to make a first impression, but it also helps to trick the eye to make the rest of the home seem brighter and more open.” Here, she used an amazing floral wallpaper with a black background to create that sense of drama, but the colors introduce you to the palette that you’ll see throughout the rest of the home.

Though this lake house is in Wisconsin, Renee DiSanto of Park and Oak Interior Design says her clients were inspired by the signature style of the East Coast. “In the entry, we started with vertical wood board, ceiling detail, and a stained wood door that gives a warm welcome and sets the tone for the rest of the space,” she explains.

Open-concept homes can still have a proper entryway moment. A carved table creates division between two spaces and is a great gathering place for keys and other small essentials.

Use what you’ve got! India Hicks, who lives on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, pays homage to her locale with fresh-cut palm fronds. Though most of us don’t live on a tropical island, we can still look to our own yards for inspiration; magnolia or olive branches would also make a great display.

A glass stairwell is wrapped in 3M Dichroic Glass Film, which casts colorful shadows in this art-forward Portland home. Designer Stewart Horner of Penny Black Interiors used it to push a few boundaries. “Boundaries are set by dictators,” he said in the first issue of Rue. “I love to design environments for adventurous, discerning clients.”

While I love this console (it’s an old church lectern!), I’m actually most excited about what’s behind it. The deep blue railing blends into the wall behind it, so hanging hooks in the stairwell doesn’t feel cluttered in the slightest.

Portland designer Donna DuFresne worked with a local artisan to create a custom metal screen for this entry. It physically separates the living area from the front door but still allows ample light through—key in the often-cloudy Pacific Northwest.

Here’s an easy upgrade for less than a hundred dollars! You can find unique door knockers at retailers like Pottery Barn, West Elm, or Rejuvenation. For something vintage, flea markets or websites like Chairish and 1st Dibs have a plethora of one-of-a-kind options.

In this Venice Beach home, by Jette Creative, the front door opens to a wide hallway that leads directly to the kitchen. The ceilings are quite high, so a bench that is tonally similar to the beams helps to ground the room, making the otherwise spare space feel more intimate and welcoming. Two hooks are at the ready for bags, coats, and keys!

A row of hooks can still be accessorized. I love how a few mementos are leaned against the top, and a frame is hung with some twine. Your purse will look like a piece of art when slung here!