Your entry foyer is your home’s welcome hug to guests. These sensible style suggestions are intended to help you make this important space warm, friendly, low-maintenance and accessible during this busy entertaining season.
Doorknobs are such a common element in our lives that we seldom think much about them. Yet, they create one of your home’s first impressions — and can be a barrier to entry for some. A traditional round doorknob is hard for someone with arthritis or Parkinson’s to operate. It’s also harder for someone with an armful of holiday gifts to operate. A lever-style door handle — both at your entry and from a powder room off that entry — will treat your holiday guests much more kindly.
Coat hooks are always helpful, but they become foyer MVPs when you lack a coat closet or need overflow space for a large crowd.
If your foyer doesn’t have a mirror, holiday time is an ideal time to add one. It will reflect your holiday décor and add light to the space. It will also give your guests a discreet opportunity to touch up their hair or makeup while you’re hanging up their coats.
A bench for removing and storing shoes during the soggy, busy holiday season will make your entry foyer better organized and protect your floors against the elements.
A foyer table is always helpful, but it’s especially welcoming to holiday guests juggling gifts, food carriers, wine bottles and flowers. Your well-coordinated table adds style to your entry and convenience for your company.
Art work sets the tone for your foyer. While it may only be seen in passing most of the year as you rush through your home, it’s likelier to be lingered over more as hellos and goodbyes are exchanged. You might consider rotating pieces in and out of your foyer — even collecting holiday-themed art work — for a cheerful gallery experience at home.
Let your foyer reflect the holiday season, too. Fragrant decorations in keeping with your home’s style will warmly welcome your guests. Be sure, though, that there’s still space on the table for them to set down bags while removing their coats or putting them back on.
A well-designed entry helps propel you out the door in the morning, keeps you organized and gives visitors a hint at your personal sense of style. It’s a lot to ask from what’s often the smallest room in the house! Let these five examples of stylish and feature-packed entryways inspire you. Plus, get how-to tips to help achieve these looks at home and ideas for keeping this hardworking space tidy.
1. Playful modern. Set a lighthearted tone at the front door with a bold splash of citrusy colors, from lemon and lime to tangerine. The round mirror is a welcome touch, while a trio of woven pendants makes the most of a double-height ceiling.
Tidy tip: A half-console table is a smart space saver. Tuck one into even the narrowest of entry halls, and gain a spot to set your keys, mail and more.
Get the look:
Colors: lemon yellow, lime green, tangerine
Bright and bold front door
Painted console table
Woven pendant lights
Flat-weave dhurrie rug
2. Botanical charm. With its botanical wallpaper and simple furnishings, this entry radiates nature-inspired calm. And don’t think of a look like this only in the country — why not infuse your city apartment with relaxing rural pleasures?
Tidy tip: Hidden storage inside the bench seat and a row of pegs provide ample space to stash your belongings.
Get the look:
Colors: mossy green, white, natural woods
Botanical wallpaper or art
Vase of cut ferns or a potted plant
Shaker-style peg rail
3. Farmhouse eclectic. With barn-style sliding doors made from reclaimed wood, a kilim rug underfoot and a modern George Nelson pendant light overhead, this entry covers a lot of ground designwise while managing to look utterly simple and comfy. The secret? It’s the power of three: The light is the most modern element, the barn door the most rustic, and the warm rug ties it all together.
Tidy tip: A closet for coats plus a credenza tucked in a nook make for ample storage in this entryway (luckies!), but if your entry lacks a closet, you can make a rustic-industrial coat rack with pipe fittings mounted on the wall.
Get the look:
Colors: cream, white, spice red, natural wood
Reclaimed wood barn doors
Modern Bubble light
4. Midcentury pop. A cherry-red door, pottery horse and oversize midcentury pool photo by Slim Aarons set a playful, party-ready tone in this entry.
Tidy tip: A low credenza is a great piece for the entryway since it offers ample hidden storage for quickly stashing items (the dog’s leash, paperwork), as well as a surface for holding keys and a bag (or a drinks tray at a party).
Get the look:
Colors: cherry red, black, white, a dash of yellow
High-gloss front door
Oversize pool or beach photography
Shiny chrome light fixture
Lacquer accessories in bright hues
Handmade pottery or sculpture
5. Art gallery chic. Create a minimal oasis with smooth floors, putty-colored walls and a sleek bench — it’s all the better to draw eyes toward a special piece of art on the wall.
Tidy tip: If you love this look but need more storage, swap out the bench for a version with hidden storage inside or a low credenza.
A few months ago I saw a quote from a designer espousing the beauty of black doors. I had never thought about painting my doors black before. But then, up until a few months ago, I had never considered painting my ceilings black, either. Then I wrote a piece for Houzz called 11 Reasons to Paint Your Ceilings Black, and I was an instant convert.
Black doors don’t seem quite as radical to me. But the results can be transformative. Take a look at the photos that follow, and see if you become a convert as well.
1. They’re classy. OK, let’s state the obvious right from the start: Black doors are elegant. A white door would have looked charming and cottage-y in this entry hall. But splash on a bit of ebony paint, and you have instant, drop-dead sophistication.
I love the way the black door is framed by the black walls in the foreground. Which leads me to reason No. 2 …
2. They’re wonderful at picking up other black accents in the room. If you’ve got black elsewhere in the room, a black door will repeat the color and make the space feel more cohesive.
I love the way the black door echoes the color of the bed frame in this room, giving the space a rich, masculine feeling.
Notice how in all these examples, the door casing was left white.
3. They’re good at making things disappear. Got a door you want to downplay? Black is great at disguising shortcomings (like a large slab door, if that’s not your style) so you don’t notice them.
Black doors work well in an open space like this, but avoid using them in a confined area with a confluence of doorways, as they can look chaotic.
4. They frame views. Just as a piece of art looks better if it’s framed, a view is enhanced if there is something in the foreground to set it off.
5. They’re good to a void. Notice I didn’t say “avoid,” I said “a void.” As in, if you’ve got a big fireplace that’s unlit 99.9 percent of the time, and a dark painting or flat-panel TV above it, a black door will help mitigate the impact of those big, black voids, so they don’t look as noticeable in the room.
This room looks fine now, but when the TV is turned off, there’s a big black hole in a fairly small space. The black door balances the void so the blank screen isn’t the only dark expanse in the room.
6. They make a stock door look special. Slap on some black paint, and a typical paneled door takes on an air of swanky elegance.
7. They don’t show fingerprints. How many times have you had to clean dark smudges around a doorknob? Black doors won’t repel dirt — but they won’t show it as readily, either.
8. They mark a destination. This black door is like a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence — it marks the end of the long hallway and provides a clear destination.
9. They look great with dark floors. White doors would have been fine in this space. But I love the way the black doors extend that sultry, dramatic mood.
They also send a subtle message, suggesting that the spaces beyond are special. This would be a great way to keep out prying eyes if there’s not a clear distinction between public and private areas in your home.
10. They add shine to a room. Every room could use a touch of reflection, especially if the other elements are textured or neutral. A mirror is one solution. A shiny black door is another.
Use a satin finish for minimal sheen. Or go for broke and apply a clear polyurethane topcoat for maximum shine and protection.
11. They make a ceiling look taller. Contrast draws the eye, so a narrow black door draws the eye up, making a low ceiling look higher. This makes black doors especially useful in basements or other low-ceilinged spaces.
If you live in a home without an entryway in the traditional sense (that is, a nice, wide hall or an open foyer), I can feel your pain. Perhaps someday I will be lucky enough to have a formal entry with room for a full-size table, lamps, benches and all the works, but for now I must make do with what I have: a door that opens onto a sliver of wall, smack in the middle of my living room/dining room/office. Thankfully, smart solutions do exist for remedying a number of entryway challenges — so whether you have a very narrow hall or no hall at all, there are ways to make your space work efficiently and beautifully. Let’s get started.
Dilemma: An Open Entryway
This is such a common scenario, especially in smaller homes: The front door opens directly into the main living space, with no defined foyer or hall. In this situation the challenge is creating a transition from outside to inside without breaking the flow of the rest of the space.
One smart solution is to use a console table behind a sofa positioned near the entry door. This creates the enclosed feeling of a hall and provides a place for mail, keys and bags.
If you prefer to keep the space open, try setting up a wall-mounted system near the door instead. A mirror hung above a floating cabinet is a foolproof combination. Having a few drawers is great for keeping messy piles of paper and other odds and ends out of sight.
Another sleek and efficient option is to hang a row of hooks on the wall and place a boot tray on the floor below. If your space is small, don’t worry about not being able to accommodate tons of guests’ coats — those can go in another room (or on a rented rolling coatrack). A few hooks for daily use is all you really need. A market basket on one of the hooks can hold odds and ends.
If you have children, two rows of hooks are wonderful for corralling everyone’s gear. Having child-height pegs or hooks helps little ones gain independence, as they can reach to put their own coat away.
Dilemma: An Extremely Narrow Hall
With an entryway this narrow, a table (or even floating shelf) is out of the question. Use what little floor space is available to wrangle umbrellas in a chic holder, and attach a few small hooks to the wall to hold keys.
Design details:In a tiny hall, you can use the surfaces to bring in color and pattern. Here, the patterned tile floor, pendant light and glossy black door paint dress up the space, and even the narrow radiator cover is used to hold a vase of flowers.
If your hall is a smidgen wider than the space above, you may have room for a full-length mirror or chalkboard propped against the wall. And if a full-width console table is too wide, look for a half table that attaches to the wall. If you are handy, you could even attempt your own DIY version with a wooden table.
Dilemma: The Door Opens Onto a Stairway
Many older homes have a formal entrance that opens directly onto the stairway, with no real space for a table. In this case you may want to redirect to a wider spot in the next room with a full table. Otherwise it’s time to put every little sliver of wall space to work.
If the stairs are very close by and you have little wall to work with, consider installing a wall bracket or a few decorative hooks on the stairway wall to hold essentials.
A wall-mounted coat tree is a smart idea for those with a bit more space beside the door — it adds personality and performs a necessary task, yet hardly takes up any space at all.
Tell us: What has been the biggest challenge in designing your entryway?
Painting the exterior of a home’s front door a distinctive color is one of the fastest ways to add character and enhance curb appeal. But too often that’s where the color stops, resulting in a missed opportunity to carry the improvement into the entry by painting the other side of the door as well. If this is the case at your home, consider extending the exterior door color inside — or select another hue that both coordinates with the exterior while setting the design tone for the entry.
Here’s an entry that’s simply bursting with happy personality, thanks in large part to the color of the door. Just imagine if the door was white — much of the impact and charm would be lost.
Source: Built by Highland Custom Homes
When deciding where to stop the color, there’s no right answer. Paint just the door, the door and sidelights, or go all out and paint the door, sidelights and trim. Such is the case here, with Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Blue making a dramatic statement in this entry.
Source: Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design
Red is another top choice: From apple red to the brighter shade of ripe tomato here, it’s a color that brings a sense of excitement and energy.
Source: Ramona d’Viola – ilumus photography
Here, Al Green by C2 Paint, a sophisticated yet edgy muted lime, stands out among the pale gray walls and white trim.
Source: Feldman Architecture, Inc.
Is there a favorite color you’d like to see enhancing the inside of your front door? Painting a door is a fairly simple one-day or weekend DIY job, depending on experience level. Here are the supplies and steps to get you on your way to a more colorful entry:
(Note: The steps will vary slightly depending on the door material and any previous paint, varnish or stain used on the door.)
Step 1. Begin by gathering your supplies: medium- and fine-grit sandpaper, tack cloth, painters tape, brush, adhesion primer and semigloss paint. Step 2. Lightly sand the door to remove the top layer of varnish, paint or stain and give the surface a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Start with medium-grit sandpaper and finish with fine-grit; wipe clean with tack cloth. Step 3. Tape the door edges and any hardware, leaving only the surfaces to be painted exposed. Step 4. Paint a layer of primer. Consider KILZ Adhesion Primer, designed to bond to a variety of tough-to-paint surfaces. Step 5. Let the primer dry, then very lightly sand with fine-grit sandpaper. Step 6. Wipe clean with tack cloth. Step 7. Apply the first coat of paint. This may be enough in many cases, or, depending on the color used, a second coat may be required for optimal results. If so, repeat steps 5 and 6, followed by the second coat.
Don’t let your home blend into the background — even if you’re not in the market for changing your exterior color scheme, a new coat of paint on your front door could be just the makeover your home needs.
Use our color guides to each color to learn which hue, from unexpected orange to bright yellow to elegant black, will work well on your exterior door.
Yellow. Welcome visitors with a cheerful yellow front door. Often identified with happiness, high energy and warmth, a lively yellow can brighten otherwise gloomy exteriors.
Deep red. If bright red feels too audacious for your home, deepen the hue for a more crimson tone. More refined and sophisticated than brighter reds, certain shades of this deep red can work almost as neutrals.
Green. Play off your surrounding landscape or introduce a new, refreshing color by painting your front door green. Whether olive, mint or lime, there’s bound to be a shade of green that can fit into your exterior palette.
In the snowy suburbs of West Chicago lies the Masonite Innovation Center (MIC) – one of the world’s largest, private research and development facilities in the door industry.
A team of 60 scientists, industrial designers, mechanical engineers and lovers of all things Star Wars and llamas (among other things) work tirelessly to keep this behemoth 144,000 square foot facility running like a well-oiled machine. Collectively, these individuals bring a wide variety of experience to the table, ranging from expertise in tech and design, to careers of over 40 years in the building products industry. Although they come from different backgrounds and experiences, there’s one thing they all have in common – a passion and constant curiosity for imagining, designing and executing a better door.
In February, Sherry Winchester Schultz, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Greater Chicagoland, joined other members of the Chicago chapter of NARI for a tour of the MIC.
“Masonite has been around a very long time. Yet, many of us in the trades know next to nothing about the company. Tradespeople are always looking for a product that provides appealing form and superior function at a great price, and is made in the US,” says Schultz.
Masonite recognizes its responsibility to arm remodelers and builders with product knowledge and tools that help position them as resources to their customers. While the DIY revolution helped bolster the homebuilding category, making it fun and trendy to personalize a home, it also resulted in a severe lack of trust from homeowners towards trade professionals—why would I hire someone to do this for me when I can just watch a video on YouTube and do it myself? Remodelers and builders need the support of manufacturers like Masonite now more than ever to help build back that trust and reinforce themselves as the experts.
When a trade professional is making a product recommendation to a homeowner, what sets one apart from a competitor is being able to communicate the quality behind the brand and the story behind the product. Having a valid reason for choosing one brand over another makes all the difference in the world to a customer. Masonite wants every trade professional who uses their doors to understand the forward-thinking design, rigorous testing, high-quality craftsmanship, and attention to detail that goes into each and every one of its products, which is a story well-told when taking the tour of the MIC.
“The majority of NARI’s members understand that the integrity of a door is important to their work, so that they don’t get call-backs. But to see the depth and breadth of testing and craftsmanship that goes into creating each door would help them to make their clients understand why they need to consider more than just price when selecting their interior and exterior doors,” says Schultz.
Kayleen McCabe, licensed contractor, former TV host of DIY’s Rescue Renovation, and NARI brand ambassador, also joined the tour in February and was both impressed and surprised by the level of science and testing a door goes through at the MIC.
“Using quality products makes all the difference. Having that level of research and care from Masonite in these doors makes it well worth the investment,” says McCabe.
For McCabe, Masonite communicating the science that goes into building a better door not only helps professionals see the bigger picture, but it also helps the next generation get excited about the trades.
“We’re up against a perception that working in the trades is very unskilled and blue collar. I want to communicate that you can be a part of building a home in a variety of ways – it’s creating art. If we don’t encourage this next generation, we won’t have people to support our infrastructure, which is why it’s so important to encourage a mind shift of the trades.”
McCabe feels that exposing the younger generation to facilities, such as the MIC, will reinforce the message that working in the trades doesn’t always equate to swinging a hammer – you can be an industrial designer, a mechanical engineer or a material scientist with a doctorate degree and all work collaboratively under the same roof.
“Visibility is the first step toward introducing students to vocational careers. In addition to putting the onus on school districts to take vocational training more seriously, real-life examples of vocational success can help students realize that real, relatable, and successful adults work with their hands,” says McCabe.
Fifty percent of the employees at the MIC have over 10 years of experience in their field of expertise, while the other half are comprised of new talent from outside the door industry and the next generation, bringing a set of unique and targeted skills to the table.
With this bimodal distribution of experience, the MIC has stacked the deck with the best and brightest, holding true to Masonite’s blueprint—a company rooted in knowledge leadership, design integrity, and cutting-edge technology and innovation at its core.
With its message and mission being spread throughout influential organizations like NARI, the MIC plans to continue to innovate and grow alongside the ever-changing landscape of the building products industry, providing trade professionals with well-designed, high quality products for many years to come.
See for yourself. Take a walk through the Masonite Innovation Center in the latest video below.
By Jennifer Ott, Houzz contributor, principal designer, Jennifer Ott Design
Nothing welcomes guests to your home better than a bold, beautiful color on the front door. Many people have no trouble picking out a fun color to paint the door, but don’t know what to do with the rest of the exterior. And what about the trim?
The key to working with bold colors is to limit them to elements you really want to stand out, which makes the front door the ideal place to feature a vibrant color. Then select supporting hues for the rest of the house that don’t try to compete for attention.
Check out these Houzz homes with delightfully colorful front doors, along with potential palettes that incorporate a bold front door hue with other exterior hues.
This acid yellow-green front door shouts “Come on in!” and works nicely with the natural wood siding. If you have no choice but to paint your siding, you could go with a cooler brown/taupe shade to set off the brighter hue of the door.
Example palette. Get a similar look with these colors (clockwise from top left, all fromGlidden): Lime Sorbet GLG12 for the front door, Bronzed Ivy GLN23 for trim and Khaki Green ICI830 for the main house color.
Red doors look fantastic on just about every house style, from traditional to contemporary. Let the door remain the star by keeping the main house color neutral, ranging from white to cooler taupes or to gray. The cooler neutrals won’t compete with the red, but instead will offer a nice, contrasting background.
Virtual design tools are a terrific way for homeowners, designers, architects, builders and more to unleash their creativity and consider all the options. That’s why Masonite is excited to introduce the new Masonite Xpress (MAX) ConfiguratorSM, a web-based door design and pricing resource that’s easily accessible from most any computer or tablet.
The breakthrough technology of MAXSM allows dealers and their customers to virtually design doors while keeping an eye on the overall costs. Now dealers, builders, remodelers and interior designers can provide their customers with an instant quote while accelerating the design process. Continue reading →
GET HOOKED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
When you’re out of ideas, a must-try tactic is to follow your favorite interior designers, magazines and retail stores on Facebook, where your news feed will routinely fill with stupendous ideas for styling your entryway. Payne, for that matter, is quickly becoming an addict of Pinterest, the site that’s created a craze of creative new folks. “With Pinterest, everybody has the opportunity to be creative. There’s a wealth of information and images that had not been at our fingertips before,” she says. The designer’s been seeing a ton of fabulous tricks for door decorating from the friends and media outlets she follows there, from oversize monograms, to contemporary square wreaths, to a hodge podge of picture frames painted in the prevailing color palette. For fall, use a few yard sale frames painted yellow, orange and brown. Come Christmas, shake up the spray cans and lacquer them again shades of green, gold and crimson. It’s a clever way for, say, college students in apartment building or homeowners in subdivisions to make their homes stand apart from lookalike neighbors.
TRY SOME RETAIL THERAPY
You can source a surplus of ready-made wreaths, faux leaves and pliable ribbons at craft and decor stores. Even some retailers’ garden sections offer an array of seasonal items to quickly spruce up your door. Need a little more design inspiration? Try Pottery Barn, suggests Payne. “From the moment you walk in the store, you’ll see new ways to put things together. It’s classy, it’s classic and the seasonal decorating classes to teach you how to create those looks at home. It’s definitely worth checking out the class calendar.”
KEEP IT UNIQUE WITH MASONITE
For a Masonite wood entry door, all you need is a nail and wire or a door hanger. But many Masonite doors are made of high-quality fiberglass or steel, so you’d never deign to drill a permanent hole in them. Yet this shouldn’t stop you from festooning the front with festive trinkets. “One of the things I like to do with Masonite doors is use fasteners or hooks. They leave no marks and they have a clean look,” Payne says. And in lieu of the typical hangers that hang on a door, there are magnet hangers that can be purchased at big-box retailers. If you do opt for the old-school door hanger, take measures to make it chic. “When I use a normal door hanger, I always paint it to match my door,” explains Payne. “Some people use fabric to cover them, but I don’t love that look. Use a little spray paint, and it doesn’t stand out. People pay more attention to what you’ve got hanging instead.”