As I mentioned in our intro to decorating for the senses (see Five Senses), most people tend to consider only how a room should look when they begin decorating a home. And because that is where most people focus their energy, we will just jump right in and start there. Of course, it is by no means the end-all be-all of home decor. In fact, there are many layers that must be considered to have a beautiful home. Each of the senses must be addressed in order to create layers of depth that promote ambience and add a richness to a home. Just like in nature, there are many layers contributing to the overall effect.
First impressions are everything. People form an opinion about you, whether you intend them to or not, the moment they walk up to your house. Now, for some of us, that is a scary thought. It seems so shallow and you can be so easily misunderstood! But, as unfair as it seems, it is a reality. And while we don’t want to obsess about what others think, we do want to have a beautiful home and welcoming environment. If you are stumped about where to begin with home decor, the front entry is an excellent place to start.
An unkempt yard, peeling paint, or last year’s leaves still on your front porch give people the impression that you just don’t have it together. Worst of all is still having your Christmas wreath on the door long after the spring buds begin to bloom! I know we are all busy, but keeping up with your front entry should be a regular part of every week. It will give you a tremendous morale boost to toss the fire hazard from your front door and sweep up the crispy remains from the porch. Even if your family enters through a back door, your front entry must be taken care regularly of as a sign of a gracious and welcoming host to guests and just to be a good neighbor.
Sometimes we get so used to our entry looking as it does that we don’t stop to notice it is long overdue for a little makeover. Simply putting a new wreath on the door or flowers on the step is like putting lipstick on a donkey, it isn’t enough! You need to pay attention to the foundational details of the whole space before you start decorating.
This is a great time of year to paint the front door, the surrounding frame & threshold and even the porch itself. Add or paint your house numbers, hardware, mailbox and start fresh with a new mat. Put up new light fixtures if yours are too small or outdated and don’t make the statement you want them to. Once the basics are addressed, you can have fun with seasonal decor. Put something unexpected, creative, fresh and alive on your front porch. A front porch makeover is fairly easy and inexpensive, but it will make you smile every time you pull up to your house. Make it look special!
Now you are ready to move to the inside. In order to keep this article as concise as possible, we will focus on having a visually appealing foyer. But really, these concepts can apply to any room. Because this is the entrance to your home, this is where you should always begin to set the visual tone for your home.
Declare your entry a clutter-free zone. If this is the main entrance where family enters, address what to do with everyone’s stuff. This is not the place to pile backpacks, briefcases, shoes and junk to trip on when you come in the door. Find baskets (picnic baskets or trunks work wonders!) to stack under an entry table, use a dresser, an organized closet or armoire to hide visual clutter. Or find somewhere else in the house for family to take stuff. No more unattractive stuff in the entry!
With a clean slate, you can focus on making the space visually attractive and comfortable. Not everyone has a separate room for an entry, but try to imagine the area around the front door as your “entry” even if it is just a few feet before you are in a living space. Define the space with a clean and cheery rug, a chair or bench, an entry table or shelf, and warm lighting from a lamp or wall sconces.
Set the stage for style and color scheme in the rest of the house through use of rugs, wallpaper, paint or accessories. Add your personality to a collection of framed prints on a wall, or items gathered for display on the entry table. Add accessories like umbrella stands, hat hooks, and unique lighting or art to give a room personality. Add something alive like a fresh bouquet or plant to make your home burst with life. Add something of whimsy or a fun pattern like bold stripes or a painted chest or chair to lighten everyone’s mood and give a visual punch.
Next, look from your entry to any other rooms or hallways you can see. It is REALLY important that there be a visual connection from your entry to the next rooms. The idea is to draw people in from the entry and welcome them to other parts of the home. This can be achieved through color or well-placed accessories. Creating the connection to other rooms expands the confines of the entry and draws you in to the home.
What can you see from your entry? I have the unfortunate situation of being able to see my bathroom of all things through a hallway from the front door! Never a good thing. But that means my bathroom better look darn cute (better get to work on that one…) and be really clean if we forget to shut the door! I can also see my dining room, a hallway, and a stairway. Each of these form a visual image of the rest of the house right when you enter the front door. Make sure they are pleasing to the eye, draw you in, and coordinate with the entry.
In future posts in this series, we will talk about adding items to the entry and other rooms of the house that will appeal to all of your other senses. Taste, touch, smell and sound. Once you consider each of these important layers, your home will have depth! People won’t necessarily be able to put their finger on why your home feels so great, they will just know it goes beyond a lovely decor. If you just focus on visual beauty, a house can look one-dimensional and predictable.
Without all of the senses being properly addressed, something will always feel “off.”
Stay tuned for more ideas!
Traditional Home magazine, Southern Living, carriage lantern & bird address Smith and Hawken, sea horse planter Horchow, mailbox & house number Rejuvenation, doormat Anthropologie, baskets Basketville, trunks Bellacor, two lamps: Horchow, riding boot umbrella stand and shop display Cielo Home, final photo Homes & Gardens.