red front doorIf you opened this door… the pretty red one on the yellow house in the picture, what would you expect to see?

What would make it a welcoming home entryway, and what would make it something, well, far less than welcoming?

The space right inside of our door, whether it’s a grand foyer or a small area between the door and the front room, speaks volumes to everyone who comes into our homes. And that includes our own families.

Look down

The impact starts just as you step inside, with the interior door mat. You do have a door mat just inside, right? These tiny bits of course carpet not only clean our muddy shoes, the offer an insight into the people who live there. Is it clean and in good repair? Is it in place or pushed off to one side? If there’s a message on it, is it welcoming… or off-putting?

Shine brightly

The next element of your entryway that captures people’s attention is the light. Is the space bright and well illuminated or is it dim and rather foreboding? Those who are blessed with large foyers and many windows are lucky. These spaces are typically bright and airy. But even if your home’s entrance way in small and closed off, you can still make the most of it with a pretty overhead light, an attractive table lamp on a small surface, or if floor space is very limited, a pair of wall sconces, with a mirror opposite to reflect the light.

Tidy up

A messy entrance, according to Feng Shui experts, is a hinderance to having helpful people in ones life. But even if you don’t ascribe to Feng Shui, it’s easy to see that a cluttered foyer wouldn’t provide warm and fuzzy feelings for guests or family members. If your entrance hall is a maze of tossed off shoes, tossed down backpacks and tossed-to-the-side jackets, coats and mail, it’s time to tidy up.

Install coat hooks on the walls or start using that coat closet for coats… you know, the one that’s become a catch-all. Get a shallow shelf or a large basket for shoes and boots. (And if you ask visitors to remove their shoes, add a basket or shelf of clean socks or slipper for them to wear while they’re in the house). Make a sorting station for mail, with a couple of wall mounted pretty baskets, and a waste basket for dropping recycling into before it piles up.

Have a seat

If people remove and put on shoes in the entry way, see if there’s a way to add a chair or small bench. Where space is at a premium, a fold down wooden bench is a great option for seating that doesn’t get in the way when it’s not in use.

Your color’s a bit off

With all the opening and closing and fingerprints and wet jackets, your entrance way’s paint can get pretty grungy, pretty quickly, especially with kids or dogs in the mix. During the daytime, open the front door and turn on the hallway lights. How does your paint look? Could it use a facelift… or maybe a whole new color? Don’t forget the trim either. A bright glossy white on the trim can instantly add a fresh face to any entry way, so consider that as a simple way to refresh if a full paint job isn’t in the cards.

What’s that smell?

Between shoes, wet dogs and damp wool, your foyer can smell a bit riper than you might like. And as the commercial says, those living in a house can go “nose-blind” to the odors. That’s why keeping it smelling fresh is so important to making the space welcoming. You can use plug in air fresheners, candles, or oil diffusers to keep smells under control, but don’t forget to deal with the source, too. Check local shops for little sachets that go into shoes and get your family in the habit of putting them into shoes and boots as they take them off. Keep floors and other surfaces clean to prevent mold or dust buildup from wet items. And regularly air out those wool coats, gloves and hats to keep them smelling clean.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make an entrance way welcoming. But the payoff in how your family and guests feel is priceless.

by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman