We all know first impressions matter. Well, my friends, the same holds true for our homes. Walking into an entrance hall should be a warm and inviting experience, a preamble to the rest of the home's decor. However, entrance halls are frequently seen as merely functional spaces and are forgotten or relegated to lackluster design.
In theory, designing the interior should be rather simple because rarely is this space ample enough to contain a lot of furnishings. Most entry halls are small -- not much larger than the hallways they lead to.
If space allows, an entry hall should contain seating -- such as a chair or a stool -- a mirror and a console or table to hold letters, keys and cellphones.
Ideally, the walls of an entrance hall are painted in one color to create unity. The color should be chosen based on either the predominant color of the house or an accent color within the decorating scheme. For example, the color could be inspired by an accent color found on drapes in an adjoining room or chosen to reinforce the color of the sofa and chairs. This weaving of colors from one room to another creates a visual link and ensures a nice flow from one room to another.
An entry hall endures a lot of wear and tear as people enter and exit a home. So avoid selecting light or pale colors for the walls. Wallpaper is an advisable finish for this area, as long as the paper is thick; paper with a vinyl base is appropriate, too. Selecting wallpaper with a small or overall print will help conceal any scuffs that occur in daily use.
Flooring material for an entry hall should be durable and easy to clean. Depending on where your home is located, keep in mind that outside elements will make their way inside: snow, mud, sand, dust. Most entry halls require an area rug to help soften the impact of foot traffic on the flooring. Here, too, select an area rug with an overall pattern and a multicolor background to avoid footprints and inevitable marks.
Depending on ceiling height, your room may be able to carry a chandelier or lantern or a close-to-the-ceiling light fixture. However you do it, this room should be well-lit.
The final touches are the decorations and furnishings selected for this space. Tablescapes are important and should provide hints of the style and decor of the rest of the home. Some entry halls are wide enough to accommodate a round table as a centerpiece. This always looks better when topped by a floral arrangement, a piece of sculpture or stacks and stacks of books. Entry halls that are tighter on space should at the very least feature a console topped by a mirror or significant work of art.
Ultimately, entry halls and hallways are the perfect places to express your personality. Because they are small spaces, you can decorate them over and over again without breaking the bank. And the regular makeovers will keep your home looking fresh.
Joseph Pubillones' weekly column, "The Art of Design," can be found at creators.com.