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June 01, 2019

First impressions

A stylish, welcoming foyer sets the stage for the home

Christina Loc

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There is only one chance to make a first impression and intentionally or not, we are wired to know whether we like what we see within a matter of seconds. Quickly following that decision, we then assume how much we will enjoy the rest of our experience based on those very first impressions.


When it comes to your home, it is no different. How many times have you walked in to a show suite or viewed homes with your realtor and without barely a few strides in, had positive or negative vibes about the whole property without seeing the rest of it?

An entryway is literally the gateway to the rest of your home. It is that small window during which first impressions of your style become known the second your guests walk through the door.

For feel-good first impressions, consider implementing some of or all of these ideas in to your entryway:

Have adequate and stylish lighting. Who possibly likes to walk in to a dark and dingy space? Ensure your entryway is well-lit to reveal what's more to come with a fixture that radiates your personality.

A simple utilitarian light above does not suffice anymore. There is no excuse. Even for low ceilings, there are beautiful flush-mount options that aren't your boring builder's grade domes.

Other options for lighting up your entryway is to include one or two table lamps on a console table setting. If you're tight for space, consider wall sconces. The efforts you put in to decorating your front entrance can only be appreciated if it is bright enough to be seen.

Define your space with a rug. Regardless the size of your entryway, having a rug at the entrance door makes your guests feel welcomed and at ease when stepping in to your home.

Choose a decorative and functional rug that is indoor/outdoor rated to compliment your style with a sufficiently busy pattern to hide dirt and stains. Even with a small entryway, a decorative 2-foot-by-3-foot rug adds detail to your space and is
enough for your guests to know where to wipe their shoes before taking them off. For a grand foyer, consider layering rugs of different materials, colours and patterns to make it that much more interesting.

Be sure to use an anti-slip rug pad underneath to prevent the rug from sliding. This minimizes damage to the rug itself and your floor.

Treat your walls. Give life to your walls by adding wainscoting or wall trim moulding. Take it almost half-way or all the way to the top. Add metallic, geometric, abstract or textured wallpaper to compliment your style. Splash paint on the walls or on your front door as an accent. Use one or all of these mediums to create impact.

Squeeze in surface space. Console tables look stunning in entryways. They add true elegance and are very functional. Opt for one with drawers or go for a chest if you need extra storage space. Console tables come in various lengths and depths, but if you are really tight for space, floating shelves are a great alternative.

Please have a seat. With so many benches and seating varying in size, style and material, surely you will find one that your guests would appreciate using to take off and put on their shoes.

I love tucking benches or ottomans underneath console tables to really maximize space and create impact.

A bench is also great for extra surface space especially for those big shopping days where you really need to set stuff down.

For unique and one-of-a-kind benches, visit Wu & McHugh for their collection of antique and vintage furniture that has been handpicked and salvaged from the Chinese countryside. You will love how rustic some of their pieces are and how they have weathered beautifully over time.

Mount wall hooks. What once was just for function, wall hooks have become a category unto themselves, as the choices go on and on. It's great when items can serve as both function and beauty.

A Canadian company, Umbra, has been around for a long time and are world-renowned for their stylish, affordable and functional designs. They offer a variety of wall hooks, found at local retail shops like Twisted Goods.

Mirror, mirror on the wall. An absolute must-have in an entryway. Not only are they good for the final once-over before leaving, but mirrors make a space appear bigger and brighter. Choose a full length, wide or skinny, mirror to lean against or hang on the wall. Place a round, square or rectangular mirror above your console table or bench. Build a collage with smaller mirrors or pick one bold statement piece. You can't go wrong with a beautiful mirror.

There is no such thing as too much storage. Baskets to hold extra blankets, storage ottomans for seasonal items, bowls for keys and shoe racks are just some essential ways to make your space more functional and clutter-free. Remember, every item in your home needs to serve a purpose. After a long day, at work or being out, coming home should feel relaxing, unencumbered and free of any objects, that can leave you feeling frazzled.

Love plants. There is nothing like plants to liven up a space. From floor to wall-mount to macrame and ceiling planters, your options are endless to the type of vessel that can hold your plants. Even if you have little to no lighting, plants like
Mother-In-Law Tongues (also known as Snake Plants or Sansevieria), Bromeliads, Dracaena, Philodendron, Hawarthia or Air Plants will still thrive.

Give it personality. Alright, now that you have everything you need, pull it all together with additional personal touches. Add artwork, vases and decor objects to give your space a final polished look.

As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover, but it is only natural to have first impressions of everything we embark on. And just like first impressions, your guests will also depart through that same door with a lasting impression, doubling the reason to spruce up your entryway worthy of the beauty and effort put in the rest of your home.

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