How To Create An Entry Hall…Out Of A Hallway


SONY DSC

My little house does not really have an “entry hall.”  It has, well, just a hall…where you enter the house from the front door. I have always called it an “Entry Hall” – and that is what it is now.  See how nice it is to be Queen?

When you have an bold intention – such as creating an Entry Hall in your humble 1400 square-foot house – every detail matters.

Working with, rather than against, the limitations of this space has been key to making this area function well and look good.  I keep the concepts listed below in mind whenever I am working on a decorating project in my own home or in a client’s home.

Here is the nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty explanation of how all of this works together.  I hope you can use these concepts and tricks to make your own home-decorating projects look and feel great as well!

CONCEPT #1:  FORM MUST FOLLOW FUNCTION

People walk through this area all the time, so it has to be functional, as well as look good. When a living space looks good, but doesn’t work for the humans who use it, the area can feel inexplicably unsettled and uncomfortable.  No one wants to feel that way in their home.

SONY DSC

A very shallow demi-lune table was my only option in this narrow space.  The table had to be curved, or it would have blocked the walkway too much. The legs of this particular table keep it from looking too heavy and they camouflage the radiator behind, while providing necessary air flow.

SONY DSC

The wooden chair next to the table has strong vertical lines and interesting details, with an inviting and useful upholstered seat.

TRICK:  The chair sticks out a little more than the table so it is positioned across from the archway into the living room, to create more space to walk around it comfortably.

SONY DSC

A tall floral arrangement works well to fill the vertical visual space created by the rising staircase and vertical balusters (which is yet another grand word for the posts between the stair treads and the top handrail) and doesn’t get knocked over by the kids and dog running by.

I chose to use a Seagrass runner in my Entry Hall because it stands up to lots of traffic and does not show dirt – in fact, it sort of acts like a doormat inside my house collecting all some of the debris my kids and dog track in.  I love recommending Seagrass because it is good-looking, creates natural texture, and is a hard-worker in your home – it is your friend.  Look for binding with mitered corners for a more finished look.  Sisal, on the other hand, has lots of little fibers that can create (rather than collect!) dirt on your floor and stains very easily.  Water even stains Sisal, so stay away from it! It is not your friend.

CONCEPT #2:  CONTRAST

Yes, there are a lot of elements in this very small grouping but they all play nicely together.  I picked contrasting textures, materials, finishes, and heights – partly because nothing in my house is a part of a “set” anyway – and because contrasts are more interesting.

TRICK: There is a consistent theme of circles holding this whole grouping together. Did you notice?

SONY DSC

Throughout this small space, I have created contrast by pairing opposites such as:

light (crisp white trim) and dark (black demi-lune table)

hard (wooden chair) with soft (upholstered seat of wooden chair)

polished (crystal sphere) with rough (“vintage” chair)

modern (boxes, sphere) with traditional (pleated window treatment)

rounded (bold circles in the fabric, demi-lune table) with squared (framed photos on stairway wall)

natural (Seagrass runner) with modern (black and white framed photos)

CONCEPT #3:  REPETITION

I have repeated the circle theme in various ways in this grouping and throughout the rest of my house as well. The circular patterned fabric used in the upholstered seat of the chair works to add interest and softness to this area and it is repeated in the adjacent window treatment, which further expands the space.

SONY DSC

There are also circle cut-outs in the apron (a fancy word for the part below the table top and between the table legs) of the table, circles in the carved chair legs, a circular wooden box and, one of my favorites – a big circular crystal sphere right in the middle anchoring the space with a little sparkle.

SONY DSC

The scalloped edges of the circles in the fabric of the chair’s upholstered seat and the window valance  are also repeated in the scalloped cut-out in the apron of the table.

CONCEPT #4:  LIMITED COLOR PALETTE

I pulled the accent colors in this area from the colors in my adjacent living room and kitchen.  The color scheme is limited to a few colors because this is a small space and adding in another color would make the arrangement seem a little too chaotic for my taste. (There is enough chaos in my house already, thank you very much.)

TRICK: A limited color palette allows the surrounding contrasting textures and materials to stand out more.

The blues and greens I picked are soothing and provide a good transition between all of the rooms adjoining this space. The tan wall color (Cream Fleece by Benjamin Moore) provides a warm, neutral background.

SONY DSC

I could have looked at this space and decided that nothing would fit here, but finding the right pieces to create an Entry Hall has made me like my house more. Working within limitations is sometimes easier because many options are eliminated right from the start – which makes the decision-making process very efficient!

12 Comments

  1. Kris Reply

    Ooh, I like! Thank you for your listing of contrasts–I tend toward owning traditional furniture as I can’t afford to shell out money for trendy items. The contrast list is helpful to keep my “traditional” decorating from being too dull. I think people appreciate that you live in a moderately sized home–we can relate to you. I don’t relate to people with huge homes or budgets. But your ideas are classy and do-able. :)

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Kris! I definitely am always trying for classy and do-able! Like you, I tend toward “traditional” for my big furniture because it will stand the test of time. Filling in with found objects that tickle my fancy (like the X-Man, twigs, etc.) has been fun and inexpensive. I try to make sure my lamps and mirrors (usually found at TJMAxx or Homegoods!) have some extra personality to them to balance out the more traditional items.

  2. Sara Tetreault Reply

    Annie,
    This entryway looks great! It’s hard to work with what you have sometimes with small houses. It looks like a closet on the landing…very convenient! We don’t have a hall closet but do have a hall tree – although usually tennis rackets, running shoes and water bottle are just strewn about!
    Pretty house, friend. Can’t wait to see it!

    http://gogingham.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Sara. I actually love having a small house – there are fewer places for my kids to escape to! Having one closet on the first floor is very nice. I have made the hallway/entrance to my back door into a mudroom – which should be the subject of another post! The shoes and sports equipment get strewn about there!

  3. Deb Reply

    You have done the most with your space and it is GOR-GEOUS! Sure wish you lived closer so you could help me with my home! I hope to learn more and more as you post more and more!! just beautiful, just like you, my wonderful and talented friend!!!!!! Have you ever considered writing a book and showcasing your handywork?

    • annie kip Reply

      Oh, Deb – thanks so much. I love when something comes together like this! I just had to share it because I really do think that people can do more with what they’ve got already. I don’t think I have anough material for a book – but I really appreciate the vote of confidence!

  4. Kathryn Stratford Reply

    It looks very unified and pretty. I like that you made an entry hall in the small space. I also like the photos you provided, which show it from different angles. I will keep this information in mind when I want to design a space. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    http://kathrynstratford.hubpages.com/

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Kathryn! I am glad the photo angles were helpful. It is hard to get a sense of a space from just one shot. I actually wish I had included more close-up photos – but live and learn – it’s the plenty perfect way of life! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. stacey child Reply

    LOVE the space… sooo simple and pretty! Thanks for sharing! Stacey

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Stacey!

  6. Rita Reply

    You are so right about the value of limitations. I find that total freedom is a creativity blocker for me. Funny how many options is both too easy and too hard.

    Your entry looks very inviting. I especially like the wall of art going up the stairs. Now you’ve got me thinking about ours again, a project temporarily abandoned, in part because I got stuck in not knowing what to do next.

    http://www.thissortaoldlife.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Rita. I like what you have done in your front entryway – the art you showed in the pics on your blog worked really well together. Maybe you have changed it since then? You have a really good eye and should trust it!

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>