An entryway can tell you a lot about someone. Do they toss their keys in a catchall bowl or tuck them away in a drawer? Do they use the front hall as a dumping ground for daily gear or is their coatrack next-level tidy? These are the details that shape our first impressions.
What no one tells you about designing a great entry is that there’s more to it than topping a console with a few trinkets and a vase. And while there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, we’ve noticed that all our favorite entryways share a handful of key characteristics. Here are seven things you’ll always find.
A High-Contrast Mirror
Bordering on the avant-garde, Ben and Aja Blanc’s signature Half Moon mirror makes an immediate statement. In designer Shannon Wollack’s Los Angeles home, the borderless mirror is surrounded by translucent accents, including a pair of elongated sconces and a vintage glass chandelier.
A Vintage Runner
Of all the reasons you should be buying your rugs vintage, it’s for the simple fact that they promise instant character. A bold Turkish option, like the one in this Manhattan apartment, designed by Lori Paranjape, lays a solid foundation for furniture. Given the piece has already proved it can stand the test of time, you won’t have to worry about it taking a beating from shoes or pets.
Art instantly makes an entryway feel personal. If you are short on wall space or afraid of losing your security deposit, skip the hardware and casually lean your favorite prints. Holli Zollinger landed on a laid-back, nail-free look for her minimal entry by letting the plaster walls and rad credenza shine.
The two best words that can come out of a guest’s mouth the moment they walk through the front door are warm and inviting. George Nelson’s bubble lamp is both of those things. Seemingly made with sun-drenched hallways in mind, his iconic lanterns deliver a sense of lightness that high-traffic spaces often lack. In this restored mid-century home by Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs, the airy fixture provides a point of contrast for the saturated runner and rich woods.
Round Coat Hooks
Never mind curb appeal, Barnaby Lane founder Rae Maxwell’s soulful entryway has serious curve appeal. Whether used to catch jackets or house hats, these knobby accessories will one-up the front-hall closet any day.
A Cool Stool
We have a lot of respect for Consuelo Pierrepont Spitler’s “buy only what you love” ethos, and the designer’s Austin entry is a testament to the power of tossing out the rule book. Blurring the lines between a desk and a vanity, the unconventional arrangement defies all norms by inviting you to pull up a seat and stay a while. Unlike a full-size bench, a short-and-sweet stool can be tucked away beneath a table or pushed to the side when not in use.
Fussing over a fancy flower arrangement with a short life span isn’t just time-consuming—it can get expensive. Take your greenery game to new heights by committing to a long-term solution. Clara Jung’s tiny pink Victorian home is a shining example of what can happen when you elevate a vignette with a wispy bundle of branches.
This story was originally published on April 28, 2019. It has been updated.