Well Hello There, Come On In

When I lived in an apartment I dreamed of one day being able to afford a house or at least a large enough apartment so I could have a foyer. Now by definition, a foyer in a house is usually a small entry area or room by the front door.

I didn’t demand a grand foyer, just some space between the front door and my living area. Once I finally made my move to my first house I ended up with not one but two foyers, one at the front entrance and the second off the kitchen. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent decorating and redecorating these two spaces.

A foyer tells your guests everything they need to know about your style in one quick glance. Dark walls, mirrored furniture, oversized framed art, it says drama ahead, and best wipe your feet and get ready to be impressed.

A single occasional chair and small table create an inviting foyer.  Hutchens chair by Hancock and Moore.

A single occasional chair and small table create an inviting foyer. Hutchens chair by Hancock and Moore.

A simple white-washed chest with a basket of seashells tucked beneath lets your visitors know this is a casual household. Take off your sweater, hang it on the hook by the door and come on in.

Take a look. What does your foyer say about you and your household? If it’s not portraying the real you then perhaps it’s time to do a little remodeling. Let’s start with the color of the walls. The foyer should set the tone for the rest of the house. It can be a deep rich version of the lighter shades that you’ve use in the other living spaces of the home but definitely not a shocking shade that makes your guests ask “Where did they come up with that color it doesn’t match anything?”

Space is always an issue in the foyer. You may dream of having a beautiful round wooden table sitting right in the middle of the space topped with a giant vase of fresh flowers flowing form a Ming vase but let’s face it, unless you’re living in a mini mansion this look is best left to Cecil B. Demille and his set designers.

For most of us we need to create a foyer that works within our space confinements and provides a temporary storage surface for keys, the daily mail or a purse/briefcase. Notice that I said temporary storage. Don’t let the foyer become cluttered with everyday junk. Remember it’s for guests and your temporary convenience.

I love using a bench in a foyer. If space is issue, an interesting straight-back chair will suffice. Either one provides a great spot for a guest’s jacket. Add a couple of matching baskets tucked under a bench or beside a chair and you’ve got accessible storage for magazines, boots and scarfs.

Soft colors, glass and chrome furniture and grouped artwork establish a calm setting for this transitional foyer.  Larkin benches and Town console by Vanguard Furniture.

Soft colors, glass and chrome furniture and grouped artwork establish a calm setting for this transitional foyer. Larkin benches and Town console by Vanguard Furniture.

Tables and chests work brilliantly in foyers because they’re available in so many different sizes and shapes. Chests are my favorite because of the hidden storage options. Consider recycling a table or chest from another spot in the house. Give it a fresh coat of paint and accessorize with artwork, books or a lamp.

Scale is critical. Don’t select oversized lamps or floral arrangements for the tabletop unless you have the space. Better to go with a smaller, shorter lamp or a tall skinny one to add a warm glow to the foyer. Put the lamp on a timer and you can always come home to a lighted foyer.

Don’t forget the walls. This is the perfect place for a great piece of artwork or a mirror for a handy last minute style check on your way out the door. The right artwork can provide a punch of color or drama while establishing the theme for what’s to come.

Fresh flowers or a living plant deliver the finishing touch. Don’t display artificial flowers in the foyer. Remember the foyer forewarns your guests of what to expect beyond the entryway. Don’t want them to think, “Fake lives here.”

Remember the foyer when decorating for the seasonal holidays. If you can’t find time to do any other decorating at least your foyer will look festive. It can be as simple as a fall pumpkin on the table or a seasonal pillow on the bench. It doesn’t take much to welcome your guest in style.

Vicki Payne
Vicki Payne is a nationally recognized designer, home improvement, gardening and decorating expert. Each week, for over 15 years, millions of viewers both nationally and internationally have tuned in to watch her popular television show, For Your Home.

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