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.

If a foyer is lucky enough to have an excess of natural light, warm the space with pops of color and fun wall coverings. Image: The Lee. W. Robinson Company

We’re in love with this chandelier and the contrast it creates with the floor pattern. Though chic and artistic, this foyer is still a welcoming space with bench seating, flowers and a fabulous console table. Image: The Lee W. Robinson Company

“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.

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“I always look to nature for inspiration,” says Lee W. Robinson. “If you have lots of windows, French doors or just natural light, bring in greens, cozy browns and neutrals.” Image: The Lee W. Robinson Company

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.

Dana Wolter says she always tries to add some type of seating to the foyers she designs, like this one. A chair or bench provides a welcoming space for guests. Image: Graham Yelton/Dana Wolter Interiors

Floor coverings can go traditional, with fabulous Oriental rugs, to more modern, with pieces like this hide. Image: Graham Yelton/Dana Wolter Interiors

Foyers are great, unexpected places to display lovely knickknacks and keepsakes on console tables and dressers. Image: Graham Yelton/Dana Wolter Interiors

“Foyers are important as they set the tone for what’s to come in your home,” says Dana. “The make the first impression for the guest walking through the door, so you want it to be a good one.” Dana Wolter definitely practices what she preaches as she shows off her own foyer, pictured here. Image: Graham Yelton/Dana Wolter Interiors

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.”

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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.

We love the geometric patterns of this foyer, designed by Steve McKenzie. The square architectural cutouts repeat in the framed art running along the hallway and even with the stacked books sitting atop the table. Image: Sarah Dorio/Steve McKenzie

“If space allows, I feel a vignette is important that sets the tone of what the guests are about to encounter,” says Steve McKenzie. Image: Anthony Masterson Photography/Steve McKenzie

Fresh flowers and plants provide an organic element that brings the outside in, perfect placement in any foyer. Image: The Lee W. Robinson Company


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