MAKING YOUR ENTRY WELCOMING + FUNCTIONAL

I am currently working on updating our foyer/entry (check out phase one here), so I thought I’d use today’s post to give some ideas on how to make your entry more welcoming and functional.

An entryway in a home is unique in that it is the first space guests usually see. Therefore, they often make their first impression of your home when entering this space. Your entry should reflect you and feel warm and inviting; it should be a space that makes visitors want to come on in and explore more of your home.

An entry is also the last space we exit when leaving our home to go somewhere and the first place we enter when returning home. Therefore, it needs to be a very functional and organized room. This is the place we gather the last few items needed before we leave—like an umbrella or the dog’s leash. And it is the first place we drop things when we return home—like our keys or shoes.

It doesn’t matter how grand or how cramped your entry is, these are some easy things you can do to make it more welcoming and functional.

CREATE A FOCAL POINT

Find a unique item and display it in a prominent place in your entry. For instance, it could be a bold wall painting, an antique table, a gorgeous light fixture or a handmade rug. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive to be interesting. When entering your home it’s nice to have something that immediately draws your eye and leaves a positive impression.

Below are some interesting ways to create a focal point…

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A simple and small entryway becomes anything but boring due to this bold painting that creates a major focal point.

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Upon entering this foyer your eye is drawn to the graphic wallpaper which adds pattern and interest.

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A grand staircase like this is sure to leave an impression once you step foot in this home.

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These vintage theater seats will surely grab your attention when you enter this home… And they are very functional too!

STORAGE IS IMPORTANT

Think about everything you like to store in your entryway, then look for decorative storage options that are not only functional but also attractive. Choose storage that is easy to access and just the right amount for the items you use. Focus on furniture with drawers or baskets so everything is neatly tucked away from plain sight. If floor space is limited, look for wall shelves or hooks.

A place to sit may be important too. If you can’t fit a large bench in the room then opt for a small stool you can slide under a console table when you aren’t using it.

Here are some of my favorite stylish entryway storage pieces…

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The family’s shoes stay organized and hidden by these crates which also add character to the room.

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You can easily grab your accessories from this coat rail on your way out the door.

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This bench is not only functional for sitting, but it also holds a basket for storage and a few decorative pieces. It’s a great multi-functional piece of furniture for a small space.

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A large console table like this provides plenty of hidden and open storage.

MY FOYER/HALLWAY MAKEOVER: PHASE ONE

I have two new things to share today!!

First, I have given my website a new look!! I’d been wanting to do this for awhile and am grateful that I was finally able to squeeze some time out of my busy schedule to make the changes. I do all of the design and maintenance of my blog myself… which is crazy because I knew nothing about setting up or maintaining blogs when I started. I’m still learning so much each day!

I feel like this new website design better reflects my own personal style and is also more user-friendly. Check out my updated ‘About’ page and my new ‘Projects’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Design Advice’ sections for easy access to all of my DIY projects, makeovers and design tips. Hope you enjoy the new layout!

But the blog isn’t the only new thing I’m sharing with you today, I have also started a new makeover project! For this project I’ve divided all the changes I’ll be making into phases, and I’ll be sharing the reveal of each phase as I go. So today I’ll share phase one!

I am excited to finally be getting to alter one space in my home that has been bugging me for years—our foyer! I’ve had a plan to redo this area for a long time, but it kept getting bumped by more pressing projects and responsibilities. I’m so grateful to finally be able to tackle this outdated space!!

When you enter our home you come into our foyer or entry or whatever you want to call it…

this is the view from our front door

our dog says hello

This space opens to my home office…

And also opens into our dining room…

I have already given my home office and our dining room a makeover, and I’m happy with how both of those rooms turned out. However, sandwiched between these two newly updated rooms is my very outdated entryway! Right now when you walk between my dining room and my foyer it almost feels like you’re stepping into two completely different homes! So I’m very excited to finally bring some cohesion to this area of our house!

However, this makeover goes beyond just this area of our house. I’ll show you…

THE DESKER (MULTIFUNCTIONAL FURNITURE)

I recently finished a complete bedroom makeover for my teenage daughter. As I mentioned in that post, I created a special piece of furniture to fit her needs in the room. 

She had requested a desk to do her homework and a vanity to do her hair/makeup, plus she needed a small dresser for storage. But her room is not huge so there wasn’t enough space to put three separate pieces of furniture. My solution was to combine all three pieces into one. I unintentionally started calling it ‘the desker’ (desk + dresser) for lack of a better name.

This single piece of furniture allows her to do her homework, do her hair/makeup (she has a tabletop vanity mirror she uses) and store clothes as well as desk supplies, all while taking up a small amount of space in her room. Now please don’t think I’m claiming to have invented this piece of furniture. I have seen similar pieces in hotels before. This is just my own take on it.

My plan was to purchase an affordable used dresser and then add a wood top and side leg creating a waterfall effect. This would give the piece a clean modern look which would work well with the style I was going for in her room.

My first step was to find an affordable used dresser, but it had to have certain features…

  1. It needed to be about the same height as a desk (about 28″-30″).
  2. It needed to not be too large (30″-40″ long was ideal) so that proportionally it would look right and there would be enough space to fit the desk area on the side.
  3. It needed to have a minimal modern style.

Turns out it was harder than I thought to find a used dresser that matched that criteria. The few pieces I found were either way too expensive or very cheaply made and not very attractive. I literally looked for a dresser at various places off and on for a YEAR!!!!

Finally, last fall I came across this baby:

This is a Conant Ball mid century modern, solid wood dresser that I was able to snag for $80. I liked the clean lines and it generally fit all the dimensions I was looking for. I wasn’t expecting to find such a nice piece of MCM furniture and was actually a little hesitant to alter such a great dresser. There was a part of me that wanted to restore it to its original glory and use it somewhere else in my home. But it was not in the best condition plus I’d waited so long for a dresser that would work for my ‘desker’ project, so I moved forward with my original plan.

top of dresser

The dresser had an unattractive eggplant colored paint job that was not in good condition so I couldn’t just paint over it. Instead, I had to sand the whole thing down which took awhile because there were multiple layers of paint on there. Then I primed it and painted it white.

already looking better

EASY DIY BUILT-IN STORAGE

So for my daughter’s bedroom makeover I wanted to add a built-in storage piece, but I wanted to keep it simple. I have seen built-in shelving installed between the studs in the wall in bathrooms, but I have never noticed it in a bedroom before. That’s probably because there’s typically only about 4 inches of depth between walls, meaning the built-in shelves can’t be very deep. In a bathroom, there are a lot of small things to store that can easily fit on a 4” shelf. In a bedroom, you often think of wanting deeper shelves to store larger items. But as I thought about it I realized a built-in bookshelf that is only 4” deep can actually store a lot of things in a teen girl’s bedroom.

You can easily store framed photos, art or inspiration. You could also display trophies and award ribbons. Small storage boxes, trinkets, piggy banks, candles, perfume bottles and decorative pieces also fit well on a 4” deep shelf. Really it was quite easy to fill her shelves with items we were already planning to put somewhere in her room anyway.

I think it would be cool to add a small ledge to the front of each shelf and use it to store picture books in a young child’s room. So really there are a lot of ways to use between the studs built-in shelving in a bedroom.

I built and installed this project all on my own and surprisingly, it went faster than I expected!

I started by using a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall and marked them with a pencil. I knew generally where I wanted the shelving to be along the wall, but it looked like there wasn’t a stud in both locations I was hoping for.

the large rectangle I drew on the wall is the desired overall size of my built-in

So I cut open the wall with a test hole. I didn’t want to cut a massive hole in the wall in case my plans for this built-in were not going to work. But opening up a hole allowed me to verify that there were no electrical wires behind the wall where I was going to be working. The stud finder indicated there were no electrical lines back there, but I wanted to be sure before I moved forward because if there were that would instantly nix the whole project.

I also got to see exactly where each stud was located and realized that the left stud was in a good place but the right stud was too far to the right in the corner. There is a way I could fix this, but it was info I wanted to know at the beginning of the project.

Also if you look at the photo above, you can see little nails sticking through the wall from the other side. That’s because the other side of this wall is the pallet wall that I made for our bonus room. I knew they would be there, but I wasn’t sure how many there would be or how easy they would be to trim down. So with the wall now open, I tested to see if my plan to get the nails out of my way would work and it did.

Which means I now had all the info I needed to move forward with the project and I expected it all to work out… All systems go!!

I measured out the overall opening I wanted in the wall: 4’ high x about 18” wide. Then I cut open the larger hole. I used a box cutter and drywall saw to cut through the wall.

With the wall fully opened up to the size I wanted, I went ahead and took care of all the nails sticking through the wall. I cut them mostly off with wire cutters and then hammered any remaining tips down against the drywall. Honestly, this is something no one else is likely to encounter. It was just my luck that the one wall that had nails through it was on the other side of the one wall I wanted to open up.

Since the distance between my studs was about 23” and I wanted it to be only about 18”, I needed to build out the studs. The left stud was right where I wanted it to be, but the right stud was too close to the corner of the wall so I added 2x4s to the right stud. I cut three 4’ long pieces (since that’s how tall my built-in will be) of 2x4s and slid them behind the drywall to attach them to the right stud one at a time using wood screws. I then ended up with a distance of about 18.5” between the studs. That was more like it.

Now it was time to build a simple wooden box that fit in the opening. I started by cutting a piece of plywood for the back. I cut it 4’x18.5”.