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Cover story: Good impressions start with entryway
Mr. Matus said homeowners with hardwood flooring throughout the main level may want to set off the foyer with different flooring such as porcelain or stone tiles. He said porcelain tiles are harder than ceramic tile and more durable.
“You need something practical for the foyer floor, especially if this is the main entrance everyone uses daily,” Ms. Proxmire said. “You may need a mat outside and one inside, such as an updated patterned rug, for a jolt of color.”
In one foyer, Ms. Proxmire found a coral settee, painted the walls yellow and added a yellow-and-white striped rug. She said you can add splashes of color with a colored lampshade on a table lamp.
One challenge many homeowners face is a lack of natural light in a foyer.
“I think table lamps are welcoming along with overhead lighting,” Ms. Proxmire said. “You can use mirrors to reflect the light. I always think you should go larger than you think with a lamp on a console table or chest. When company comes, you can put votive candles on every surface. Recently, I found these beeswax candles with LED lights inside so they glow like candles but are safer.”
Ms. Stewart replaced a center globe light in one home with a recessed light tilted to focus on an interesting object.
“You have to make sure the foyer has enough light, so if you don’t have enough natural light, you need to add light in as many ways as you can,” Ms. Stewart said.
Another option is to replace your front door with one that is about one-third glass, Mr. Matus said.
“If you have the space and the budget, you can widen the front door and add 1-foot-wide sidelights on each side,” he said. “That could cost as much as $5,000 to $15,000. It might be easier to bump out the foyer and add a portico along with a new front door.”
If your budget doesn’t run to a complete renovation, Mr. Matus suggested adding recessed lighting above the front door and wall sconces.
Homeowners who tend to have too much clutter in their foyers may not want additional natural or artificial light shining on their accumulations of papers, cellphones and keys.
“You need to find a way to organize your foyer to accommodate whatever you need to keep there,” Ms. Stewart said. “I found this great bamboo hall tree for the foyer with the painted faux rug that holds the homeowner’s hats and coats. I’m not a fan of built-in organizers. I think it’s more fun to do something funky, to find something eccentric and yet pleasing to the eye.”
Ms. Proxmire said families who use the front door regularly instead of a garage entrance need to find places for mittens, keys and everything else.
“You may need a chest of drawers instead of a console table,” she said. “You should have baskets for the mail and a tray for your keys and sunglasses so you can find them. If there’s a door nearby, you put hooks on the back for scarves and coats. You need an organizational plan to eliminate clutter because you want your foyer to be welcoming.”
If your budget can accommodate a $4,000 to $12,000 remodeling project, Mr. Matus said, you might want to consider building low walls between the living room and foyer to create a defined entrance space and to incorporate storage. He said an archway or columns can be built to add to the “wow” factor.
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