Almost everyone loves watching a good movie, but it’s the trailer that really catches the viewer’s eye. Think of a foyer as the mega-packed preview for your home — a delectable taste of the stunning architecture and design yet to come. (Usually offered without popcorn.)
Foyers and entrance hallways offer guests the first impression of a home. This inviting space, as people enter from the front door, creates the opportunity to set the tone, welcome visitors and show off a specific aesthetic. These spaces offer the initial identity of a home and let guests know what kind of “movie” they’re about to experience.
“Foyers should be warm and authentic,” says interior designer Lee W. Robinson of Louisville, Kentucky-based Lee W. Robinson Company. “Foyers used to be very outdoorsy spaces, as a nice segue from outside to inside.”
Lee suggests that a foyer can be both practical and pretty – a place to throw your keys and mail as well as honor every person who steps through the door. He focuses on the five senses (one of his cardinal rules when it comes to any design job) by making sure every sense is engaged and enticed. Again, think of it as the movie trailer to the residential blockbuster. Lee starts with fresh, fragrant flowers, adds stunning reflective surfaces (silver and metallic accessories), tactile rugs and hides, and modern staircase runners to mute echoes – saving the “taste” sense for guests entering the kitchen. Mirrors elevate the look of the space, giving depth, and serve a purpose of one last look before you walk through the front door. They can appear traditional, like hanged and framed, or artistic, perhaps as mirrored sconces.
When it comes to a warm and welcoming foyer, perhaps the biggest design mistake homeowners can make is doing nothing at all. Extremes, whether a sparse void or design overkill, can make visitors feel uncomfortable, unappreciated or just plain stressed. In addition to thinking of the five senses, there are some other helpful ways to create a magazine-worthy foyer.
“Paint is a great way to change the feel of a foyer,” says designer Dana Wolter of Birmingham, Alabama-based Dana Wolter Interiors. “It can create a multitude of emotions, depending on the color and hue you select. I often try to keep a foyer light and use fabrics on chairs, pillows and throws to draw a person into the space.” She always adds some type of seating to the area, as well, to add softness with a practical purpose.
Another interior design expert, Steve McKenzie of Atlanta-based McKenzie Design, reiterates that having a beautiful foyer should also do its intended job. “If the foyer is the main entry point, think about a landing place, a bowl or a tray, for keys so they aren’t just strewn about and look contained.”
Lee also suggests antique wicker baskets or console tables as a way to stylishly organize. And, thinking outside the box can be a cool and cost-effective way to accessorize the foyer. For example, skip the traditional brass umbrella stand and try a large pottery jar or an olive vessel that’d usually go in the garden as a fabulous way to update the area.
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