Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Wonderful Entryway

The first impression that your family and friends have of your home is your entryway. Whether your front door opens into a wide hall, a small foyer, or into your living space, why not make the first glimpse that people see cozy and inviting?

Of course, the entryway begins outside of the front door. Step outside and jot down what you see. Is your front porch or walkway neat? Is there a welcome mat, where people can wipe their feet? Does your front door need cleaning or painting? Do you need to replace loose, worn doorknobs or door handles? Do you want to need to update a door-wreath or other seaonal decoration?

Come back inside and take stock of what you see as you actually enter your home. Remember, your entryway needs an inside mat, as well as an outside one. Such a mat will further keep famiy, guests, and pets from tracking in dirt, pollen, and debris on your floors or carpeting. In fact, profesional cleaning expert Don Aslett states that we would all cut down on our cleaning time by putting commercial grade mats inside all doors through which people and animals may come inside of our home. While this is the ultimate in practicality, you may prefer to have a prettier or a more formal entryway rug. If your door opens abruptly into your living areas, a rug just inside of your door can help define your entryway space.

Another practical consideration is a pretty and functional umbrella stand. You also need some place to hang coats, as well. Coat racks are handy and are often attractively made. Some people find that it's hard for them to keep a coatrack looking neat, particularly if everyone in the family piles at least one jacket or coat on it. If your deocrating style is country casual, hanging purses and coats on a long Shaker-type peg rail may be a neater option. The ideal would be to have a large enough coat closet to hold coats for family and guests. We do have an entryway closet, but it fills up with our own coats and leaves little room for guests. One creative family in our neighborhood keeps a rolling clothing rack -- the kind you see in garment districts -- hidden away in storage. When they have a gathering, they roll the rack down to their office to hold the overflow of coats. Other people place coats and purses on a bed in a downstairs guest room. Sometimes, you can assign an older child to be in charge of taking the coats back to the room and fetching them when the guests leave.

Similarly, family and guests will appreciate an entryway mirror, where they can quickly check their apperance on their way out or way in. A table for mail, keys, and a notepad is nice, as long as you don't let the mail sit or accumulate in a messy pile. Another nice feature is to place a guestbook on a small table. That way, whenever new guests come over, you can ask them to sign. If they are willing to write down the information, you'll have a handy record of their phone numbers and addresses. You can jot a few notes about the occasion, too, so you can thumb bacl trough the book and enjoy lovely memories of events in your home. A place to sit to slip on shoes or galoshes or to wait for someone else is handy, too.

Plants -- silk or green -- are a lovely touch in any nook of your home. This is particularly true in a foyer or a large entry hall.

Lighting is essential. If you have a foyer or entryway hall, you'll likely already have overhead lighting. Whether you do or don't have an overhead light, also think about placing a small light on a pretty table or chest. Family and guests will enjoy being beckoned into your home by soft, gentle lighting.

Consider the colors of your entryway. Does it blend with the other colors of your home? Many people use colors near an entryway that mimic the colors of the outdoors -- such as green or yellow or blue. This can give family and guests that they are bringing a bit of fresh air and sunshine with them as they enter the home. Light colors and small patterns can make a small entry way feel larger.

Often guests come through the front door, but family and close friends enter through other doors. Take some time to make the spaces inside and outside of these doors inviting as well. These areas won't be as elaborate as the space you create around your front door, but they can still be cheerful. This is also a good place to provide attractive but functional storage areas for shoes, raingear, etc.

In the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslett movie of Sense and Sensibility, the front entryway to the sisters' home had a rack with lovely gardening and household aprons on it. The girls grabbed one of the aprons when they went outside to plant flowers or if they needed to do some houshold chore. They quickly hung the aprons on these pegs whenever they saw that company was nearing.

I would love to have a railing of pretty aprons displayed openly near the kitchen doors, where my family enter the house. But, I haven't figured out a way to make that work with the space I have. Don't you think, though, that such a rack would be a lovely, inspiring, homey touch to a family entryway?


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