36 Different Types of Home Entries (Foyers, Mudrooms, etc.)

View of 2-story entrance foyer from landing with arched staircase

Most people take an entrance foyer for granted unless they’ve lived without one.

In our last home, the main entrance to our home was our kitchen.  And I’m talking directly into the kitchen.  Our son was born in that home which meant whenever we brought the stroller into our home, we wheeled it right on through our kitchen.  Then there’s the lack of shoe and coat space which can quickly clutter the entire space.

Our new home has a large entry foyer where we have space for a coat wardrobe, shelves, hooks and seating.  It’s a feature we really appreciate having lived without it.  Even a smaller entryway, such as a mudroom, can add that extra convenience.

Update… our current home now has a dedicated foyer area with closet.  It’s great to have but a foyer space, but one problem is that we live in a split level home and so there’s a short staircase leading into the foyer area which limits the space.  When we see guests off, it gets crowded if we go into the space with them.  We stand above seeing them off which is kind of weird.  Nevertheless we’re very happy to have a dedicated entry area at the front door.  FYI, we also a mudroom through the garage door, which is very handy.

Interestingly, we aren’t alone.  One of the most common complaints home owners have with their existing homes is a lack of a dedicated foyer space.  We love watching renovation and home-buying TV shows and the foyer is often in issue… such as requires more than one or when house hunting, dazzling prospective buyers with a grand one.

While a large foyer may seem excessive, and perhaps some of the grand foyers below are excessive, they serve a great purpose for any home.  Below is an extensive gallery of 44 pictures of foyer designs of contemporary homes.

Photo Gallery

Click here for our full foyer photo gallery.

Keep reading to learn about the different types of foyers.

 

2 Main Types of Home Entry Rooms

There are 2 main types of home entry rooms.  They are:

  1. Foyer; and
  2. Mudroom.

Some homes have neither and enter into the living room or some other space.  This isn’t ideal.  It’s much better to have a dedicated entry space.

The foyer is usually a home’s main entrance via the front door.  It may be grand or modest.  It’s a place where people can be welcomed and place their outer wear and bags.

The mudroom is a common entry via an attached garage or a rear door.  It’s the entry most used by kids and the household generally.  It’s often too small given the amount of stuff that it must store, especially a household with kids.

This article focuses on foyers.  You can read all about the types of mudrooms here.

Foyer Features

1. Shape

Foyers come in all shapes, including hexagon, round, octagon, rectangle and square.  In open concept home designs, the foyer may not seem to be a dedicated space, but instead opens directly into a living space such as living room and/or kitchen.  This doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a foyer.  As long as there is some space upon entry, that can be deemed a foyer space.

Examples of a round foyer:

 

Circular entry way to luxury home. Small windows above the arched wooden door. Arched staircase with iron and wood railing descends to the front door. Small sitting area on the side opposite the stairs.

Round Foyer

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

2. Height

If I had to choose one room to have a taller ceiling it would be the living room.  However, the foyer is a close second.  Foyers with tall ceilings create a grand entrance.  Uusually these foyers have a staircase with upper landing.

However, a great foyer need not be 2 stories.  It can have a basic 8 or 9 foot ceiling.

Here are some examples of foyers of varying heights:

 

Foyer in older mansion with exposed wood beams, arched wooden staircase with carpet runner.

1 Story

 

Open foyer with straight staircase descending from small upper landing. Unfortunately the home is empty so we don't get to see the full effect with furniture and that "lived in" look.

2-Story

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

3. Style

Foyer style will typically mimic that of the home overall. For instance, you wouldn’t want a rustic foyer in a modern home unless you’re really into an eclectic look.

There are several interior design styles which means there are several foyer styles. The following illustrates some basic foyer styles… please keep in mind that while the following provides examples of some foyer styles, the potential style and decor is limitless.

There are modern, contemporary, traditional, rustic, cottage, mid-century modern, tropical, Asian, art deco, craftsman, Mediterranean and country to name a few of the predominant styles.  And then there are designs that incorporate two or more of these.

Examples of different foyer styles:

Moderately sized one-story foyer in white designed in a hallway layout leading to various rooms of the home.

Contemporary

This breezy entrance features a floating stairway to make a striking statement. All the glass and open space is warmed by the exotic wood used in the door to the left and again in the stairs.

Modern

The subtle lines on the walls and columns add visual interest to the light taupe paint. The entryway opens directly into the main living room, with accents of orange. A small table, sconces on the inside of the columns, and the chandelier just above the doorway define the entry space.

Open Concept

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

4. Size

When planning a home, you might think it a waste to dedicate any serious square footage to an entry way, but in my experience allocated at least 25 to 50 square feet is well worth the cost. In fact, it’s not terribly expensive square feet (not like a kitchen for example) and so you might be inclined to bump that up to 80 to 100 square feet. We currently have about a 40 square foot foyer, which is pretty small. Another 30 square feet would be fabulous.

For instance, in our 30 square feet, all we can fit is a small bench for sitting on or placing objects on. It would be nice to have more space for a larger bench and perhaps a foyer console table. Yes, you definitely want to consider furnishings for your entry way as well. However, furnish sparsely. You don’t want a cramped entry way. The furnishings should be functional, but also enhance the look of the space. A cramped foyer, no matter how nice the furnishings, will not look good.

That said, you don’t want your entire house to be a foyer. There are definitely diminishing returns to foyer size (for any room size for that matter). At some point it’s just wasted space unless you have an art gallery in your home and so your your entry way is a showpiece. Another consideration is the overall size of your home. If you have a 5,000 square foot home, it should have a larger foyer. The foyer, within a size range such as 30 to 300 square feet, should be commensurate to your home’s overall size.

2 ways to give the impression of a larger foyer is to incorporate some mirrors and/or have taller ceilings.

Here are some examples of different sizes:

 

This lovely foyer utilizes dark wood to ground the small space. A built-in bench and shelf area is a smart use of functional space in such a small area.

Small(ish)

 

This soaring foyer houses a gorgeous geometric chandelier and a lovely staircase. Leaving the second floor open to the space below allows the room to remain feeling large and airy.

Medium

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

5. Foyer Cost

As a person considering building a home, I’m constantly looking into the cost per square foot. It’s a frustrating practice because the range is huge, which should be obvious. Therefore, it follows that the range in cost for a foyer can be huge. You can spend a ridiculous amount or keep it bare-bones.

That said, you’re typically looking at $125 to $200 per square foot depending on flooring, windows, the staircase, walls and height.

At $150 per square foot, a 75 square foot foyer will cost $11,250.  Obviously you can adjust the cost numbers yourself… but a decent foyer won’t cost too much more than $10,000 and in many cases less.

6. The Staircase

The staircase is so important to home design, we dedicated an entire post to it. Needless to say, the staircase, if there is one, is usually a focal point of the foyer. In my view, it’s important to give your staircase serious design consideration. It really can enhance your home’s interior design.  We deem the staircase so important that we have a dedicated gallery and article for staircases here.

7. The Floor

The most common flooring materials for foyers are:

  • Hardwood
  • Tile
  • Laminate
  • Carpet
  • Vinyl
  • Marble

My favorite, like many other people, is hardwood. In fact, hardwood is ideal for an entry way because you don’t need the muting/warming benefits of carpet. Tile can be great in humid climates though.

If possible avoid laminate. It’s simply not as nice as hardwood or even quality tile for that matter. Vinyl is durable and less expensive but won’t offer the “wow” factor you might want in your home’s main entrance.

Here are examples of foyers with different types of floors:

One-story foyer with brown tile floor opening up to the left and right of the home. Built in benches lie under the windows framing the front door and entrance hall.

Tile

 

Entrance way framed by staircase wrapping around the space.

Wood

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

8. The Walls

Wall decor in foyers can follow the rules of the living room. It can be simply white or be more elaborate. Obviously one wall will contian the front door, which is also an important choice for your home – both on the inside and outside.

Wall options include:

  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Brick
  • Wainscoting/Beadboard
  • Wood paneling
  • Glass
  • Concrete

There really isn’t one best wall option. It really depends on the rest of your home.

Here are examples of foyers with different types of walls:

 This lovely, warm entryway has a main living area to the right, a staircase to the left, and the short hallway straight ahead leads to the backyard. The entryway is a combination of warm wood and neutral stone tiles.

Brick

 

This contemporary foyer has floors with a distinctive wood grain, polished cherry wood stair treads, and a bold patterned wall treatment. A large circular landing overlooks the foyer from the second floor.

Wallpaper

 

=> Jump to our entire foyer gallery (100’s of photos)

9. Foyer Furnishing and Storage

Our foyer has a closet which is fabulous for storing our coats and guests’ coats. It’s very handy. I recommend installing a closet if you have the space and budget.

Other furnishing options for a foyer include:

Upscale home with large entry foyer. Half-landing stairs are to the left when facing indoors. Stairs are white and natural wood. Round table is placed in the center of the space. Foyer opens up to other rooms in the home.

Center table

Table: This could be a table placed in the center of a large foyer or if a smaller foyer, butted up against wall (console table). Both look great. Whatever you do, avoid creating a cramped space. A table isn’t worth it.

Chair(s): If large enough, you can place a chair or two in the foyer. This is a nice touch, perhaps nicer than a bench. I like chairs flanking a console table if there’s space. However, I think most foyers opt for some form of a bench.

Mirror(s): The foyer is a great place for a tall mirror so you can check yourself before heading out. It also adds a nice decorative touch if you get a nice mirror. Since it doesn’t take up much space, most foyer designs can accommodate this. However, you want to be careful that the mirror is placed so that people won’t bump into it when getting ready to leave.

Spacious foyer with multiple entry points to the home

Chair

Bench: If you get only one furniture item for your foyer, a bench of some sort is probably your best bet. There are many styles and designs you can choose from. We have a simple 2-level bench that does the job nicely. However, you can certainly buy a more elaborate bench that includes storage and built-in coat rack above.

Shoe Storage: If you don’t have a closet and you prefer not having shoes strewn all over the foyer, some place for shoes is a necessity. A simple shoe rack will do the job or a nice mat.

Umbrella stand: I live in a place where it rains a LOT. While we don’t have an umbrella stand for lack of foyer space, it would be handy for us and guests.

Coat rack: If you’re without a closet, a solid coat rack, if you have the space, is great to have. Nobody wants to dump their coats on a bench or worse, the floor. A sturdy coat rack can accommodate several coats and doesn’t take up too much space.

10. Lighting

One of the hardest home features to choose for any room is lighting. You must choose the type of light and decide on the fixture from literally thousands of fixtures.

However, if you have the height and space, foyer lighting is a no-brainer. It screams CHANDELIER. A chandelier is perfect for the foyer. It creates a dramatic and well lit entrance for guests. It’s a feature you may be able to see from other parts of the home.

Keep in mind there are many smaller chandeliers you can choose from. It need not be some massive grandiose chandelier.

If a chandelier isn’t a viable options, you can consider the following:

  • Floor lamps;
  • Recessed ceiling lighting:
  • Wall lights; or
  • Skylights (obviously you need artificial lighting as well for the night time).

Here are some foyers showcasing the different lighting options:

 

Pale paneled walls and a stunning crystal chandelier balance the dappled tones of the beautiful wood flooring and the deep wood of the front door. Gorgeous stained glass windows stand sentry around the broad front door.

Chandelier

Wall Lights

 

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