How to create a beautiful entryway

A foyer creates a gracious entry to a home. The trouble in a tiny house, apartment or condo is that there is rarely enough spare square footage available to create such a nicety.

In most ranch-style homes built in the 1950s, for example, the front door opened right into the living room. There might have been a half-wall between the living room and the front door to signify an entryway. In a condo built in the 1980s, a mere change of flooring was sometimes all that an owner would get.

What space do you have to work with, and is it enough to create an entryway?

In the wildly popular tiny house community, the idea of a reception area is laughable. The same is true for micro-units. Other design tricks must be utilized in order to give off the idea of some sort of separate entry area. Here are a few ways to create an entry.

This example in the photograph is one of my favorites because it combines the traditional design of an entry mirror with the functionality of a hall table. This design comes in three different sizes and four different woods. The simple lines will work with a variety of furniture styles, and the 4.5-inch depth is what makes it valuable in a tight space.

A famous actress once said, “imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” That is surely true when working with a small space.

Another way to signify an entryway is to hang an important piece of art on the wall nearest the front door. Underneath the frame, you might put a narrow bench, which will serve as a visual aesthetic more than a place to actually sit down, although it could hold keys or a tiny, collapsible umbrella.

Most modern narrow benches will be based on the classic Chinese ones that are about 7 inches in depth and about 48 inches long. You can still find authentic ones, and there are reproductions of older rustic and refined designs.

Maybe you'd like to add a plant stand by the door. The type of stand and what you plant depends on how much you want to spend (how valuable the plant is) and whether or not you have a rambunctious dog or little kids running around.

I have kept a tall plant stand with a mirror in my entryway for years, and I learned the hard way not to display a ceramic pot or vase. I also created a flower arrangement in a wooden container after losing a lovely glass piece. Nevertheless, this combo will work very well in very little space: The stand and mirror can be as small as 12 inches square.

Think of an area rug as a clever way to separate an entry space. Be sure to check the clearance of the front door before making a costly purchase. It's easy to lay an accent area rug if you have hardwood or tile floors, although you may be able to use one with carpet, too.

A more intensive approach to creating a floor accent is to install a different tile pattern or tile size near the entryway.

If you are remodeling your house, see if there's any possibility to change the size of your entryway. It can be worthwhile to extend the front wall out to the roofline, or even create a new roofline.

Reworking this area can enhance the look of your entire home. After all, the front porch, front door and entryway are a guest's first impression of your home.

• Christine Brun is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of “Small Space Living.” Send questions and comments to her by email at

© 2018, Creators Syndicate

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