Every time a visitor steps through your home’s front door, worlds meet as they enter the portal to your unique space. At the centre of this melodrama is the portal itself, the first thing they see at this meeting – the entryway.
To charm, you could channel rustic cottagecore with a cozy, warm look, exude an elegant contemporary feel (classic in the UAE), or even an elaborate ornamented art installation space.
A functional portal to home
“It is the perfect place to establish a welcoming feel to your home,” says Antara Roy, a Dubai-based interior designer. “It’s also about functionality, the things you grab on your way out or leave on your way in – keys, wallets and in today’s times, even trays of sanitisers and masks.”
It is the all-round multipurpose space that aims to allure, with space being at the foundation. Roy says, “It is one place that needs ample space to move about. There should be a clear path from the door to the inside of the space – you don’t want to walk through it and feel suffocated.”
It is the perfect place to establish a welcoming feel for your home. It’s also about functionality, the things you grab on your way out or leave on your way in – keys, wallets and in today’s times, even trays of sanitisers and masks.
Moreover, the entryway is just as crucial as the living room and dining areas, according to Hafsa Davis, founder and interior designer at Dubai-based interior design studio, Davis Interiors. She says, “It sets a mood and rhythm for the rest of the space.”
Entrance yourself (pun intended) and your visitors with this guide to designing a beloved home entryway, even with minimal space.
11 tips from UAE interior designers
Essentials? At the very base, storage solutions for keys, wallets, mail as well as shoes and bags. Whether to leisurely lace office shoes or heave off hiking boots, seating options are also important.
1. A foolproof formula
“The easiest way is to style a statement mirror or artwork above a console. Add nice lampshades or wall lights, decorative coffee table books, floral arrangements, a keychain holder or a simple tray, or even a sculpture – something that makes it feel inviting and nice,” says Roy.
2. The secret – balanced flooring, walls and lights
Depending on the shape and space of your entryway, you may need to design the furniture in different locations. Roy says, “We tend to stick to the walls, but there’s a lot of cases where the entry is in the centre of the room – and you’d see a floating round table, beautiful foliage.”
“It’s about setting the mood - even if the entryway is left with no furniture and is a small space, as long as the flooring speaks, the walls and lighting, that should be enough. For example, wall lights (sconces) that can reflect the lovely wallpaper,” says Davis.
3. Decorative, hidden storage
Have limited space, but need storage in your entryway? “You can do an entire unit with storage, instead of being a console. It could be a closed shoe shelf, credenza or bench, for example, and you can still add the mirror or artwork above it,” says Roy.
Even better, custom design your space-saving storage so that it flows seamlessly with your entrance. Davis says, ‘If small, we can add decorative cladding so it blends into the wall, and is not just a bulky piece.”
Your console or storage can also be your star statement piece – just pick one with a stand-out, unusual design to grace your home’s entrance.
4. Invite with poufy, tuck-in seating, armchairs or benches
If your home has an open plan design, Davis recommends going for two armchairs or a bench. She says, “Maybe just a beautiful bench with a subtle colour and print, and then we can use a splash of colour that we’re using for the artwork on the pillow. Just to bounce that colour off the wall.”
With enough space, your bench can go next to your console, but a good option is pull-out seating tucked neatly under it. Invest in little stools or comfy poufs for light, flexible seating and even accent pops of colour. Roy says, “That way you save on floor space, and is very good when you have a smaller entryway.”
5. Captivate with a striking statement artwork or mirror
Adorn the wall with an eye-catching, bold artwork or statement mirror – think sunbursts, fun shapes and your favourite painting. For this, abstract, contemporary artwork is quite popular, says Roy.
Mirrors, of course, are also perfect for that quick outfit recon, or make-up touches before leaving home. Roy says, “I am very fond of round, large mirrors. Irregular shapes are also very nice - maybe a combination of irregular shaped mirrors, which also enhances the space and gives a little playful mood to the entryway.” If your entryway is in a certain shape, it can also accentuate or offset that shape.
6. Add a generous dose of your personal tastes and memories
“You should feel that you are entering your comfort zone,” says Roy. “Find something personal to you and your family, something that you’ve collected over the years, that also makes it feel like it’s your space.”
This could be a décor item for your console, the artwork itself, or even custom storage units for family members or your pet’s things. Stuck with only a small hallway? Davis says, “A gallery wall, with pictures and family images can give a homely feel to whoever’s walking in.”
7. Go bold with an accent wall in your colour palette
“It would be easiest to use colour palettes that are neutral, but now people are going a bit bolder with their choice and adding colour to their walls – blues, grays, statement colour,” says Roy. Her favourite? “I like a nice deep green or teal.”
“I would suggest something mellow, warm and welcoming – maybe an olive, burgundy, a tinge of maroon. Nothing too neon or bright,” adds Davis. If you’d like to avoid colour on the walls, you can bring it in with an artwork as well.
When you have a darker floor, Davis advises opting for a light wall – or the opposite, a lighter floor with a dark wall colour. The same with narrow entryways – use lighter colours for a more airy feel. She says, “Even for wood, a lighter oak for example. I wouldn’t go for a darker flooring like walnut.”
For more on the one rule for choosing and finding the perfect balance of colours for your home, read more here.
8. Create drama with textures
“It’s very important to use a lot of textures when designing an entryway - it could be texture in artwork, accessories such as glass décor or lampshades. Even the light and shadow from the lamps add texture,” says Roy.
Rugs or small woven baskets under your console are also a simple option, and instantly gives a warm, cozy feeling to your entryway.
9. Light it up with a statement chandelier, lampshade
“It has to be very well-lit. In rentals, we may be stuck with a certain type of light, but a nice table lamp is great, and a chic chandelier or pendant light can transform the space,” says Roy. Wall lights on each side of the console can also bring an understated elegance to your entryway.
10. Want to refresh your entryway? Bring on the plants (even dried)
“Plants are also a bonus anywhere – adding foliage or green. You could put a large, oversized plant in a vase on the floor,” says Roy. They can even be dried – for example, pampas grass, dried flowers and dried leaves in a vase, which work perfectly for a rustic look as well.
11. A mural can make your walls magical
You could place a statement artwork on your wall, but what if your wall was the statement artwork? A beautiful landscape mural, perhaps trompe l’oeil (an art technique that gives the impression that the work is 3D) or pretty chinoiserie patterns of trees and flowers can be mesmerising as first thing in the house. When paired with understated furniture, be prepared to sweep your guests off their feet immediately on entry.
If you’d like to browse some styles you can pick for your entryway – from bohemian, contemporary to old Hollywood glam, read more here.