One of the most overlooked spaces in homes and apartments is the entryway. People often find themselves stumped for low-cost, high-impact ideas to make this area sing. Whether your entry is long and narrow, open and undefined, or just plain small, there are terrific design options that will allow you to make a real change and can (often) be done over a long weekend. So, what are some of our favorite DIY entryway ideas?
Dazzle with Entryway Color Blocks
There are few spaces that won’t benefit from a fresh coat of paint. This is especially true of your entryway, which sees a lot of traffic. Whether your door opens into your main room or a long hall, it might benefit from a dash (or more) of color. Adding a brilliant yellow, soothing blue, or moody green color to your door will transform your entryway instantly. It’s an easy DIY project that has big results for renters or owners. Yes, renters will have to return the door to its original state before moving out, but that is an easy fix, and the joy you feel whenever you look at your new door will be worth it.
Geometric design is taking over interiors, and painted shapes are being used to create visually appealing zones even in homes with open-concept living. Picture a colorful oval that extends above your doorway and onto the walls around it or a gentle arch that incorporates the door. Both techniques will draw the eye upward, making your ceilings look higher.
Is your entryway particularly small or short? Dramatic colors can transform the space into an experience. Dark, moody colors can feel like an embrace when coming from outside. Is your entry a tricky shape? Consider adding a freehand (or stenciled) mural as one of your renovation ideas. Depending on your design inspiration, this DIY project could require very little paint, keeping the cost of your renovation low.
Introduce a Drop Zone
Are you frustrated that you don’t have an easy place to drop your purse, keys, wallet, masks, mail, or other paraphernalia when you walk in the door? One of the most popular DIY entryway ideas in the last two years has been the introduction of a front door drop zone. Do you have an older console table, bench, or bar cart that isn’t getting as much use as it once did? A coat of paint, a new stain, or a good polish can make your older furniture like new again. The upcycled piece placed near the door can help keep your stuff organized and easily located when you add bins, baskets, or trays to collect small, easily misplaced items and mail.
If you are particularly handy, consider bringing some extra style to some unfinished wood cabinets and turning something uninspiring into the perfect entryway console table. The experts at Martha Stewart Living took two unfinished IKEA “Ivar” Cabinets and made them into a functional and fabulous console unit. You can make this idea your own by painting the units your favorite shade using low VOC or vegan paint, adding wood legs to raise the units to a more comfortable drop zone height, and installing hooks inside the doors to add even more storage. If you are short on space in your entryway, you could choose to stack the cabinets or even mount them to the wall.
Install Wall Hooks
Wall hooks or pegs are a terrific option for improving organization in an open-concept or small space. They offer a place to hang your coats, umbrellas, masks, and keys that is easily accessible and neatly contained. Real Simple loves small-space organizers like the Parker Mirror and Hook Rack because “it has a mirror, comes with hooks for holding keys and scarves, and includes a shelf for that hand sanitizer you need to slather on when you get home.” You can also install design-forward hooks directly into the drywall or get crafty by screwing hooks into a rustic piece of wood that you can stain or paint to complement your décor.
According to Real Simple, “one element every functional entryway should have: a spot to sit down and take off your shoes (and coat, and scarf).” We agree! Is your entryway tiny? Look for a small bench or footstool at your local flea market that can be restored. If you are handy with a staple gun, you can grab some of your favorite leftover fabric and foam to create a cushion that will make your entry seating look beautifully customized without spending a lot of money.
Of course, if you have a long entryway, your renovations could include a refurbished Deacon’s Bench or a narrow settee. Like Martha Stewart Living’s editor Lorna Aragon, your next great DIY idea might start with a vintage church pew you find at auction. Aragon thought “the curved arms reminded her of Swedish antiques” and painted it Scandi blue. But rather than stopping there, she added a “ticking-striped cushion made with two-inch-thick foam.” The piece’s final look included a slightly weathered-looking finish that also protected it from snowy hats and spring rain-dampened coats.
Incorporate Useful Storage
Once you’ve added your upcycled seating and space-saving wall hooks, ponder the best places to incorporate helpful storage. For small entryways already boasting wall hooks, Real Simple loves the idea of placing “a sturdy … hamper, or cubby shelf to corral shoes.”
Is there space below your door-side bench? You can add organic cloth or sustainable bamboo baskets under the bench to house hats, gloves, shoes, and more. Even if your entryway is tiny, you could incorporate something like the Container Store’s eco-friendly Lotus Bamboo Storage Bench. It’s only 20 inches wide, but it opens at the front to reveal hidden shoe storage that will instantly organize and tidy the shoes you use each day. While the cushion it comes with is lovely, you can easily detach the top and recover it in your favorite leftover fabric (or latest find) for a DIY renovation project that will take only a couple of hours.
Welcome the Weather
Do you live in a region that sees abundant rainfall? While you can always hang umbrellas from the pegs or hooks, you will need to place a tray or mat below that space to capture falling water droplets or mud. Martha Stewart Living is a big fan of the shiny copper boot tray from Williams Sonoma. The Magazine explains: “It’s long enough to hold the entire family’s footwear, and so great-looking, you’ll want to keep it out ….”
As for your umbrellas, a simple DIY idea also comes from Martha Stewart Living. They detail a DIY project that transforms “an inexpensive flower bucket into a nice-looking umbrella stand by painting the bottom of the bucket with glossy oil-based enamel paint.” It does take 24 hours to dry, but the basics can be accomplished with only a few supplies (including sample size paint) and at a minimum of expense.
Create a Welcoming Landing
Whether you have a split-level home with a landing, an extended foyer, or a tiny apartment, a quality, high-traffic rug can bring warmth and welcome to your entryway. Southern Living recommends decorating the space with a sustainable, flat-woven rug or cowhide. Why? The Magazine reveals: “Both rugs are incredibly easy to maintain and are available in a variety of sizes and colors.” If you are searching for eco-friendly ideas, consider organic jute options. You can also search for reversible rugs, like the Hebe cotton area rug that Southern Living favors. Not only is this black/off-white geometric gem beautiful, washable, and made from recycled cotton, but it can be flipped for more use between cleanings.
Dress the Space
You will be amazed at how quickly the addition of a mirror or engaging artwork can dress your space. Much like the idea of an entire wall mural, a dramatic, soothing, or whimsical art piece will set the tone for guests as they enter your home. Whether you place a large, vertical photograph on a wall opposite the door or at the end of a long foyer, or a horizontal masterpiece that seems visually to flow towards the inner rooms of your home, you can make an impressive statement. You can even upgrade the frame with a little bit of paint, gold leaf, or polish.
Mirrors are also a terrific option near the door. Not only are they great for “last looks” as you leave the house, but they bounce light in ways that can make even tiny entryways feel inviting. Real Simple agrees. The Magazine reveals that “designer Robin Henry brought plenty of character into the home’s primary point of access with two large pieces of art—a gorgeous four-foot-wide mirror.”
Martha Stewart Living is also a fan of brightening your entryway by “[creating] a ‘window’ using basic bevel-edged mirrors” over a floating shelf. In fact, it’s one of their favorite DIY entryway ideas. Once the floating shelf is installed and painted to match your walls (visually hiding the piece), they recommend: “[Adding] a grid of mirrors above, leaving about an inch around each to mimic windowpanes. For a flush, bracket-free look, attach the mirrors to the wall with construction adhesive made for mirrors.” And voila! You’ve created a focal point that will wow in just hours.