Designing a Fabulous Foyer
The foyer is the first impression of the home where you invite guests in to your space. It should be a hint of what’s to come and reflect your unique style. Whether you have a large grand foyer or an itsy bitsy walkway to call your own, these quirky square feet can be hard to navigate. With many years of experience in the design industry, I’m going to let you in on some trade secrets so you can build the perfect entrance to your own home. We’ll discuss the “must have” design elements for the foyer so you can seize its full potential!
Look up – take advantage of ceilings with height and replace a flush mount fixture with an elegant chandelier or pendant. Your guests will take notice immediately and it will look lovely when seen through a window from the street. Sconces and lamps are a great way to bring ambient light to the space. Tip: Adding a pair of sconces or lamps will provide a sense of design symmetry. And remember not just any lamp will work – a large foyer requires taller lamps (32” tall and up) while a smaller area will use skinny buffet lamps, that have smaller diameter shades. A good rule of thumb is this: If there is no room on the table for anything besides the lamp, then the lamp does not fit. Perhaps a charming pair of candlesticks would be just right.
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The mirror is a quintessential piece to the foyer for several reasons. First of all, it is neutral and easily paired with other design items. Secondly, it is an excellent way to reflect light in an otherwise small (and often dim lit) space. Next, the frame is of utmost importance because it will characterize the style. A modern metallic frame may say chic and modern while a rustic wood finish may add a traditional touch. In addition, consider the type of glass used in the mirror itself (clean beveled to antique glass). This is another factor that will contribute to the style of the space.
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The foyer is an ideal area to display your favorite artwork. If you don’t have a large statement piece, why not try a collage of smaller items? You could show off a gallery of black and white photography or bold prints. This will add instant interest to your space without breaking the bank. Tip: Before purchasing artwork, try using painter’s tape to map out the collage on the wall. You’ll get a feel for what arrangement looks best and avoid having to return excess items.
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Nothing says ‘welcome’ like a beautiful bench, settee, or cozy chair by the entry. Not only does it look inviting but it’s also a practical place for your guests to slip off their shoes or set down their jacket or purse. Although this seating won’t get a ton of use in the traditional sense, you should still consider using durable fabric. Resilient upholstery material will insure that the items being dropped off won’t create an undesirable lasting impression! Tip: Most households have extra dining chairs that are used when the table is extended. Why not use them to flank a foyer console table? The chairs will look lovely and you’ll gain a little extra space in your dining room!
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5 Area rug
A foyer rug is essential in creating a luxurious space. Rather than using a small 2’ x 3’ rug near the door, (used to catch dirt on guest’s shoes) try positioning a larger statement rug that will fill the space. Choose a rectangular, round, or elongated runner depending on the shape of the foyer – don’t skimp on size and take advantage of WOWing your guests from the ground up! Tip: Just because a foyer may be small doesn’t mean you can’t have an area rug with a large bold pattern. If you decide to do so, be sure the other fabrics are smaller patterns or solids (so they don’t fight with your rug) and you’re good to go!
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6 Tabletop surfaces
A console table or chest helps to ’ground’ the foyer and gives infinite opportunities for decorating all year round. Lamps, a stack of decorative books, small tray/covered container (to toss keys or mail inside), photo frames, and floral arrangements are the perfect additions. Don’t be afraid to mix it up once and a while – it should change with the seasons and it’s the perfect design vignette for holiday looks! Tip: When space is limited; a narrow yet hefty shelf can create the same visual effect as a console table and help ground the space.
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Floral arrangements and greenery are a foolproof way to add life to your foyer. While fresh displays are always ideal, there are beautiful faux arrangements on the market that will last for years. Just make sure you select something to keep your guests guessing if it’s real! Tip: The container/pot is as important as what is inside. The contents can be transformed into numerous styles depending on what material, color, season, or design is chosen.
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The foyer should be inviting, well styled, and most importantly clutter free. To ensure clutter doesn’t collect as you enter, use the proper storage pieces for your purse, shoes, keys, etc. A chest with completely enclosed drawers and doors are the most practical for holding everything you need but don’t want to display. A leggy table with shelves can certainly be used for decorative display space or can be transformed into a storage solution with baskets and lidded boxes on the floor and/or shelves.
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9 Wow factor
The foyer may be small but who ever said it couldn’t be mighty?! It’s the perfect location to give your home a pop of pizazz and make a BIG statement. Try adding an unexpected daring fabric to your upholstery, or painting your console a snazzy new color. Elegant wood molding/trim can also punch it up a notch in your small space without depleting your wallet. Tip: Wallpaper is back and better than ever! Gone are the days of ducks and floral borders – stick to something simple, striking, and geometric and it will be a success!
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Here are a few of my current rug picks for the foyer – all big on style, function, size options, and design: