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.
Table of Content
2 Main Types of Home Entry Rooms
There are 2 main types of home entry rooms. They are:
- Foyer; and
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 Photo Gallery
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:
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 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
- Wood paneling
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:
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:
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.
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.
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: