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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!