A successful entry eases the transition from outdoors to the inside of our homes — and vice versa. A well-designed entry can provide a place to hang coats and store shoes; a designated spot for keys and other little necessities; a place to sit while taking off or slipping on shoes; hooks for hanging bags, backpacks, hats or the dog leash; and a mirror for that final check before leaving the house. The following examples offer ideas and inspiration for making the most of your entry.
Now, here’s an entry that provides nearly every function on the list and more. A chair offers seating, the cabinet features hooks and shelving for storing items, and a chest of drawers with a mirror above becomes the place to keep those things that are frequently in hand when leaving or entering the house.
A custom-made storage unit was built for this smaller entry, providing much of the functionality in the previous example on a pared-down scale: hooks for coats, hats and bags; a bar that holds umbrellas in place; and a recessed area at the base in which to prop shoes.
To assess the best solutions for your entry, notice which items are consistently brought into and carried out of the house during each season of the year. This will help you identify the furniture and accessories that will support the patterns of your household.
Certainly not every entry has to meet every function on our list — merely the ones required by the occupants and perhaps frequent visitors. In this home, an armoire provides a place to hang garments and a drawer for storing items, next to a slipcovered chair for sitting. Slipping a couple of baskets under the armoire would add storage for shoes and other items.
If getting out of the house on time is an issue, consider placing a big clock in the entry as a helpful reminder. (This is particularly smart with kids!) A boot tray set just inside the door is a reminder to take off shoes before entering. Completing the functional design of this space are hooks and a vintage chest for a place to set keys.
In the same home, an armoire tucked around the corner from the door is a smart storage addition, particularly in the winter.
A compact entry calls for compact solutions. Here a slim shoe cabinet can store multiple pairs of shoes while providing a small surface on which to set keys. Another multitasking solution is the mirror with hooks along its edges.
If wall hooks aren’t to your liking, simply place a free-standing coat rack inside the front door. The bench seen here is perfect for an entry, featuring seating for more than one as well as storage drawers and cubbies.
A bench not only looks welcoming but provides function and design to this hardworking area of the home. Here, a long bench allows for baskets to be placed underneath. Hooks line the entire perimeter of the room above the wainscoting, and a charming antique urn for umbrella storage completes the look.
Select a bench that not only supports the various functions of the entry, but also accentuates the style of the home.
It’s amazing what just a few items can do to change how an entry functions. In this home, a smartly chosen bench has a shelf for shoes, while a few hooks above it hold garments and a mirror to the side offers a convenient last check.
Sometimes one well-designed piece can meet all of an entry’s needs.
Built-ins are another solution. This custom closet keeps all the essentials behind closed doors and inside a deep drawer. Facing the closet doors with mirrors is a functional move that also helps the space appear larger.
A well-designed built-in can be highly functional in a smaller entry. This design includes several shelves for storage; a small bench for sitting; and space for hanging coats, bags and other essentials.
Another custom built-in appears as if it’s original to the house.
The entry in this modern beach house in California features a built-in bench with cubbies, wall hooks and additional storage in the half wall at the other side of the entry. This wall is not only functional, but also defines the entry by creating separation between it and the living-dining area.
In creating your well-functioning entry, consider how it will help set or tie into the design of the rest of the house. Rugs, pillows, mirror, paint, wallpaper, lighting and art — each item has an opportunity to be an expression of the people who live in the home.