Many people stick a coat rack and welcome mat in their entryway and call that good enough. However, although you may not linger in the foyer, this is an important part of the house. Guests walk in and get their first taste of your home’s unique style. What’s the first impression that you’re making? How can you elevate that without blowing through your budget?
Upping the appeal of your foyer is a balancing act between working around less desirable features and adding an expensive-looking wow factor. Doing this on a tight budget? That upgrades the challenge from a balance beam to a tightrope. However, if you’ve got creativity and the will, you can pull this off.
Table of Contents
- 5 Tips to Brighten Up the Space
- 4 Tips For Adding Color:
- 7 Tips to Create a Statement:
- 5 Tips to Add Functionality
- 4 Tips to Re-imagine the Space:
5 Tips to Brighten Up the Space
Bring new life to your foyer with this charming, old-fashioned form of illumination. Candles create an exceptionally warm and comfortable atmosphere and are highly affordable. Big tapers make a big impact, while clusters of tiny votives draw the eye like fireflies.
Install Mirrored Walls
A mirrored wall is both beautiful and functional. It adds a cool, creative-modern vibe to your entryway. These features also draw the eye, reflect light, and visually open up the space.
Instead of spending a small fortune on a solid wall of mirrored glass, check out your local home improvement store. It probably carries stick-on tiles that you can arrange into an original piece of wall art.
Does your foyer look like the room above? Although the gold and dark olive tones are complementary and luxurious choices, the space is just too dark. You’ll need to balance this out with more lights or brighter bulb choices. However, don’t go overboard, especially if you opt for halogen bulbs (see below).
Change Up Your Fixtures
What kind of light fixture you have matters at least as much as how much light you’ve got coming in. Lamp shades and fixtures are also affordable and fast to upgrade. In fact, you can even repurpose other items. Just give them a quick coat of heat-resistant paint and attach them. You can create an effect like in the picture above by putting a metal cage around an existing, plain tubular lampshade. Take note of how the shade’s warm amber-gold tone adds to the luxurious feel to the space.
We’ll move on from talking about lamps soon, but it’s worth touching on the different kinds of bulbs available. There is no one size fits all option here, but there will be one option that fits your foyer the best.
Note: when picking up new bulbs to try, make sure they’ll fit into your existing sockets.
Incandescent bulbs. These old school light bulbs use a glowing tungsten filament. They come in a variety of brightnesses and colors and can be used with a dimmer switch.
Compact fluorescent bulbs: These are energy efficient and brighter than incandescents, but they emit a cold, blue-toned light. Many varieties have a coating that creates a warmer light spectrum. The effectiveness of this coating varies. These don’t work with dimmer switches.
Linear fluorescent. You’ve probably seen these long and narrow bulbs in workshops and stores. They sometimes pop up in interior spaces, especially in recessed lighting.
Halogen lights: The halogen in the bulb greatly increases its brightness, which might be a good option for exceptionally dark spaces … or might be complete overkill. Use with caution.
LED bulbs: These are energy efficient, come in various colors, and can even be programed to flash in patterns. They are allegedly as bright as standard bulbs. However, they may appear dimmer because the tiny LEDs are spread out onto a field.
4 Tips For Adding Color:
Try Metallic Accents
‘Luxurious’ may conjure up many different images, from sleek Manhattan apartments to expensive hardwood cabins in Aspen. Where do rich metallics fit in? These are technically neutral shades, so they can work with any decorating style.
People like the Kardashians might experiment with a foyer painted entirely in weathered gold, but you don’t have to. The great thing about metallics is that even a little can create a big effect. What do you already have that could be hit with a quick coat of spray paint? Consider:
- Cabinet handles
- Picture and mirror frames
- Table and chair legs
- High points on crown molding
Bring In Plants
Plants add a pop of vital green to the space. Delicate ferns look effortlessly sophisticated, while lush potted palms bring to mind an expensive spa. You can import a houseplant from elsewhere or get one from a garden supply center. If your hallway tends to be a little dark, look for shade-tolerant varieties.
Display a Bouquet
Not interested in struggling to keep a plant alive? Cut flowers are the solution. These will bring in lively color and infuse the air with pleasant scents. If you’d rather not have to keep replacing them, look for dried arrangements. Many include cotton blooms, eucalyptus, and flowers like rose buds or lavender. Dry arrangements are very low maintenance, only needing the occasional gentle dusting.
Play With Rich Colors
Earth tones and metallics are easy choices for a high-end look, but they aren’t your only option. If your soul is withering at the thought if giving up your signature comfy-neutral home decor, don’t despair. You can still mix up the entryway’s look with a single pop of saturated, eye-catching color. Try grouping a small cluster of objects in that color to create a loose centerpiece or focal point.
7 Tips to Create a Statement:
Up-scale Your Art
Small paintings or photographs on the wall may be charming, but they don’t really create that high-end impact. Look around your home for larger pieces that you can put on display in a prominent part of the foyer. You can also get a favorite art print or family portrait blown up to poster size at a print shop. Pop that into a luxe-looking frame and it’ll be drawing the eye from the moment people walk in.
Try a Statement Mirror
Mirror mosaic walls are appealing but not very functional. What if you want a mirror that guests can use? Make a big splash with a chunky mirror frame. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the thrift store, create your own. One of the easiest ways to do this is with stick-on metallic tiles or spirals of wire attached to the wall.
Throw Down a Rug
What’s the fastest way to refresh the look of your foyer’s flooring? Put away those refinishing supplies; all you need is the right rug. Channel The Dude and look for that one piece that ‘really ties the room together.’
You’re searching for visual balance here. If you have another focal point already in play, get a neutral or solid color rug. If your room badly needs excitement, go a little crazy with pattern.
Note: if you live in a muddy part of the world, spring for a rug that’s easy to clean and stain-resistant.
Change Up the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are one of the most overlooked features in the home. If you live in a hotter area of the country, chances are you have one in your foyer. Those bland wedges of white plastic are just crying out for an upgrade. If leaf-shaped blades aren’t your style, consider ones with a hardwood-emulating finish. This can look very elegant, especially if you match the fan to your floors, door, or furniture.
Create a Centerpiece
Clusters of luxurious looking items in complementary colors can create an expensive looking but less formal centerpiece for the room. The best part about this kind of statement piece is that it’s organic. You add to it as you go along, tweaking it when trends change and upgrading individual components as your finances allow.
Look for Luxe Materials (For Less)
You can create a more convincingly expensive look if you blend high-end items in with the rest of the decor. Pawn shops and estate sales are a great way to score budget-priced accessories made of quality material. Best of all, you really only need one or two showstopper pieces to bring your plan together. Keep an eye out for lower-priced items like:
- Marble statuettes
- Gilt candlesticks
- Hardwood cabinets
- Leather-upholstered ottomans
- A semiprecious stone chess set
- Cut glass decanters
Tip: A little cleaning and polishing can go a long way to refreshing tired-looking and dusty items.
Enhance Your Staircase
If you have a two-story house, your stairs are probably a major design feature. They’re typically placed in the foyer or within clear view of it. Stairs naturally draw the eye, so why not take advantage of this and give your guests something worth looking at?
Stair runners can be a bit of an investment, but the soft carpeting underfoot adds beautiful texture to the experience of your entryway. If that’s a little beyond your budget, you can paint the vertical part of each step to create liven up the room.
5 Tips to Add Functionality
Open Up the Space
You may feel the urge to squeeze into the foyer a place for muddy boots, coat hooks, family portraits, lights, a table, a seat, and more. However, this can quickly cross the line from ‘cozy’ to ‘cramped.’ Guests may react by hurrying through, never noticing that centerpiece you worked so hard on. Paring down what you have in the entranceway will also reduce foot traffic pile-ups and awkward lingering good-byes with the in-laws.
Upgrade Your Coat Rack
One of the first thing that your guests do when they come inside is take off their hat and coat. A sad, utilitarian cubicle for their items brings to mind preschool cubbies and gym lockers, which are the opposite of luxury. You may be able to find a higher caliber of hanger at season’s end sales, or paint and repurpose other items to create a fun and functional coat rack.
Corral Shoes and Boots
In some homes and in some parts of the country, you and your guests wear shoes indoors and out. However, if it’s springtime on a Texas ranch, this will result in mud and much worse being tracked around everywhere. Prevent an unhygienic disaster by giving people an obvious and stylish place to store their footwear. In the example above, the rack doubles as a comfortable bench. This helps you keep the foyer clutter-free.
If you have the space, putting a sofa or chairs in the foyer is a nice touch is both welcoming and functional. It may be good for Grandma’s cardio challenge if she has to hop around on one foot while pulling on her boots, but it’s safer for her to have a place to sit. This also makes a golden opportunity to dig out that old loveseat from the attic and put it to use.
Refresh Your Cabinets
So your budget won’t stretch to getting a whole storage cabinet for the foyer? If the furniture is still in good shape, give it a facelift. In increasing order of DIY difficulty, you can:
- Swap out the drawer pulls
- Throw on a fresh coat of paint
- Install new front-facing doors
- Sand, re-stain, and reseal the unit
- Create your own countertop with marble tiles
4 Tips to Re-imagine the Space:
Define the Foyer
If your foyer is more of a wishful thought than a clear room in your home, you may need to visually carve out that space. This can be done with a number of tricks including:
- Laying down a rug in front of the door
- Refinishing that section of floor with contrasting stain
- Creating visual barriers with furniture
- Using a different light bulb in the foyer than in the next space
Wainscoting visually breaks up a stretch of wall and adds subtle yet elegant texture. It’s also fairly straightforward to install.
Note: This looks best if it’s continuous in the room. If your foyer is part of an open floor plan, you may want to skip this tip to spare your wallet.
If your foyer has a symmetric appearance, chances are that you have a clear visual focal point located opposite the front door. This is particularly true if your front door faces the staircase. Enhance the mansion-like atmosphere of this space by bookending the focal point with identical lamps, plants, end tables, etc. Finally, put something worth looking at in the focal point itself (see the tips on statement pieces above).
What if you don’t have a picture-perfect symmetrical foyer? This has the advantage that it’s much harder for you to make the room look overly posed and stiff. Your challenge becomes figuring out where the natural focal point is.
Every room has one created by the flow of the architecture. Some common focal points might be archways, a picture window, or in the curve of a staircase as in the example above. Just like with symmetrical entryways, you want to put a luxurious showstopper in that line of sight.