7 examples of how to create a stylish entryway

When guests step into your home, wow them with a hallway that makes a great first impression.

It’s that time of year when we throw open our doors and welcome friends and loved ones into our homes for long-overdue catch-ups. As they step across the threshold, your entryway or hallway should give guests an initial glimpse of your home’s style and the people who live there.

As Justin Bishop of Justin Bishop Interior Design says, “This area can serve a number of practical purposes, from reducing heat loss to the rest of the home to providing a storage space for outdoor clothing. However, for me, a hallway should always make a visual statement; it should be beautiful.” Ensure that your home’s entrance makes a lasting impression by filling it with the right mix of thoughtful, personal and practical touches.

Change up an entranceway by adding a mirror, a feature rug and a vase of beautiful blooms, as in this impressive space by Justin Bishop Interior Design. (Credit: Photography: Alex Reinders)

The best furniture for your entryway

To give your entry area a sense of purpose, just add furniture. A bench seat, armchair or narrow hall table immediately makes the space more functional, providing somewhere to sit and put your shoes on, a drop-off point for keys, wallets, sunglasses, hats and shoes or somewhere to display personal items that will greet you each time you come home.

These pieces also add texture and colour to the space and make it feel more lived in. “I avoid trends as much as possible in a traditional space such as a hall, opting for timeless features that suit the house,” says Justin. “As a little extra, I like to put underfloor heating under the tiles for instant warmth under your feet after walking indoors.”

Be creative with space in narrow hallways. Bespoke slimline joinery is a clever storage solution, and it’s also a nice way to display items too. (Credit: Photography: John Downs)

“The style of your hallways space should always be reflective of the architecture, rather than current trends.”

Christopher Gyzemyter, Interior/building designer

Beautiful entryway flooring

When it comes to flooring, you can stay consistent with the rest of the house or delineate the entrance with a different treatment. “Flooring is a great way to add some visual interest,” says Justin. “A weatherproof material, such as travertine, marble or a patterned encaustic tile, can be applied to both traditional and contemporary settings.”

Emphasise a long hallway with a colourful, durable runner. It adds another layer of warmth and leads the eye down the hall to a focal point – be it a window, artwork, display or a statement piece of furniture. “This is the first point of respite from the outside world and should feel welcoming,” says Christopher Gyzemyter of CG Design Studio.

Wonder walls 

If space is tight, never fear. “Grand is great, but with the right finishes, you can make a small entryway feel special,” Christopher explains. “The introduction of wall panelling certainly adds a stately atmosphere and can also be used to conceal storage,” he says, citing timber battens, wainscoting, shaker style or mirrored panels as gorgeous options. “We also love the use of wallpaper as you can be a bit bolder. These are spaces that you transition through

Create a statement with artworks, plants and detailed furniture that’s both functional and fabulous. Case in point, this divine hallway by Indah Island’s Natalee Bowen. (Credit: Photography: Cat Muscat / Styling: Fiona Gould)

Quick entryway updates

It’s not necessary to make major changes to alter the look and feel of an existing hallway. “Depending on the space, retiling or adding a floating timber floor will add a touch of drama,” Justin says. “Or, the addition of a feature rug will have the same effect and is more cost effective.” Swapping in a new console, artwork or mirror will give the space a refresh, or try wallpaper or a coat of paint. “Whatever you do, make sure the changes you make reflect your personality,” says Christopher.

For art’s sake

Once you’ve decided on furniture for the space, it’s time to add some decorative items. “They’re extremely important for creating a statement,” says Justin. “Just make sure your selections have some commonalities with the rest of the house.” Think artworks, sculptures or large vases of flowers.

A long, wide hallway makes an ideal gallery space for framed family photos or travel snaps. Potted plants are also lovely here, but make your choices based on the available natural light – a dead plant is not a welcoming sight! Justin also likes to use mirrors in his hallway designs. “They’re great for making a small space feel larger and brighter. Also, they’re perfect for a last-minute check before leaving or arriving home!”

Choose lighting that illuminates the space beautifully – and accentuates its features, such as a high ceiling. (Credit: Photography: Kristina Soljo)

Statement entryway lighting ideas

Lighting is great for making a statement while also helping these areas feel warm and welcoming,” says Christopher. For small spaces, discreet wall sconces can distribute the light up and down without obstructing ceiling heights. Multi-directional pendants are good for illuminating long hallways. For a larger area, try an oversized pendant or chandelier for a sense of grandeur. They’ll draw the eye up and accentuate the ceiling height. Add another layer of ambience with a table lamp that doubles as a sculptural piece or use spotlights to highlight artworks or antiques and to illuminate coatracks and consoles.

Detailed finishes, such as wallpaper, in an entranceway can make it look and feel special. (Credit: Photography: Prue Ruscoe)

How to design an entrance

While Christopher notes the rise of open-plan and apartment living has seen the demise of the traditional entryway, he’s happy to report they’re back in vogue. “With people spending more time at home together, the separation of spaces has once again become important,” he explains. Justin agrees: “In new builds, designed in a classic style, where there is plenty of space to play with, entryways are definitely making a comeback.” If you’re building or designing a new home, Justin recommends including a hallway in your plans from the get-go. “This way, everything will flow and work cohesively,” he says.

This entrance by CG Design Studio illustrates how choosing a darker paint colour can help make a hallway seem more spacious. (Credit: CG Design Studio)

The best entryway colour schemes

You can go one of two ways with your colour palette: either use this entry area to set the tone for the rest of the home or make the most of its separate nature and opt for an entirely different shade. “I tend to steer clear of bold colour, unless it links to a colour used throughout the house,” says Justin, who suggests using subtle greens and natural hues to create a smooth transition from outside in. In narrow spaces, he recommends using darker paint colours to “push” the walls back and make the space feel roomier.

Cobalt blue is the hero hue in this entryway. (Credit: Photography: Martina Gemmola)

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