When it comes to your home, first impressions count… so WHY do so many of us leave our entrance halls looking forgotten, dull and neglected. An entrance hall is NOT merely an entry into your principal rooms, but a space that allows for bold creativity and the ability to express design elements you would be to timid to use in your living or family rooms. Entrance halls are actually the perfect area to unleash your creative Design Diva and go bold, brave and creative. The most successfully designed Entrance halls convey a strong design statement while at the same time setting the tone for the rest of your home. Think of your entrance hall as the beautiful and bold punctuation mark to the design of the rest of your home, like the end of a beautiful declarative sentence. Entrance halls are the perfect place in your home to go bold because you don’t spend a huge amount of time in your hallway, hence you can use richer colours or go bolder in your design decisions or more creative in your displays or ornamentation, as it is by nature more of a statement space. In return, you will get a powerfully uplifting feeling every time you enter your home that says, YES, this is me and I deserve it. In effect, you are creating the stage for the life you want. However, don’t get intimidated with this, make the process easy, relaxed and fun. Your home should never stress you out. Find the RIGHT light fixture for the design of your home, the right paint colour (or colours), wallpapers, Art work, flooring, trim details, furnishings, but do it at your own pace and remember to be daring.
When creating the design for your entrance hall, the important thing is to decide where and what will be the focal point of your space. This can be as simple as a rich, darkly coloured wall with a striking array of Art displayed in a gallery style layout across it, or perhaps a Swarovski wallpaper, or a faux wallpaper on a prominent wall, or a lacquered high-gloss ceiling in a rich colour with a stunning chandelier or light sculpture. Whenever possible make sure to use mirrors along one wall to widen the space and give it that sense of Alice in Wonderland mystery. When designing your space remember the other rooms leading off it, you will need to find colours that will either unite or enhance or punctuate your other spaces. Think about the practicalities of the area, meaning, if it is narrow you will need a console table or a ledge/shelf that projects very minimally from the wall. Remember to never impede the flow of traffic in your entrance hall. Do you have a closet where guest coats can go, or do you have the room for an armoire, or do you need to use a series of oversized ornamental coat hooks? If you don’t have a closet or room for an armoire, what about an ottoman or bench with hidden storage?
The entrance hall in this home is spacious and grand to say the least. I adore the usage of the barn style front door to give the modern home a sense of history and visual charm. The stone floor is layered with a sisal carpet and the center antique table gives the space a wonderful balance and eclecticism.
Good lighting is crucial in an entrance hall in all its forms such as ambient, task and accent lighting. Remember to install dimmers on all overhead fixtures and wall sconces so that you can control the mood of your space and set the tone for parties, romantic evenings or simply hunting for that lost key. Divide the lighting between your entry zone and the staircase as the lighting requirements for each vary.
Hallways make brilliant Art galleries, so if you collect Art, antique architectural prints, framed 19th Cent. bank notes, Regency profiles… whatever it may be, DISPLAY them loudly and proudly in your entrance hall. Rather than scattering them about, create a bold unified grouping of what you love and show it off for both you and your guests enjoyment. You can either match modern black or white frames with Art matted simply and graphically OR have a collection of various vintage and antique frames, it totally depends on your home and your personality. Think creatively when it comes to your walls as well… what about using fabric on the walls for either an upholstered (tufted or quilted) wall surface or as in the case above, a more French Napoleonic tent style treatment. The above entrance hall is from the Designer essential ELLE DECOR and their feature on Designer Alex Papachristidis.
Explore the different flooring options for your entrance hall available to you and think about what would best suit your home and your lifestyle (wood, stone, tile …just don’t opt for carpeting). Then comes the question of “to pattern or not to pattern” your flooring. A carpet runner on your stairs is always a lovely way of creating an elegant and updated feeling to your home. Think about the various binding options you can use on your stair runner (black binding, cut up vintage Kilim carpets, leather, coloured PVC, etc.)
Always think about your flooring as you want it to be functional, long lasting AND beautiful. If you have wooden floors, then a doormat at the entrance not only helps distinguish the space, but it also helps preserve the floor underneath. I love the usage of the Dutch style gloss enamel paint in the room above as well as the country charm of the swinging Dutch door… one almost has the sensation that Black Beauty is about to canter up to the front door and peer inside.
Think about the power of using some rustic, natural elements that offer a rougher texture and simplicity.
The above photo is from the BRILLIANT and essential ELLE DECOR magazine and their feature on Entrance halls (March 2013 issue). Brilliant tips and ideas, make sure to pick it up while it’s still on the newsstands I love how the entrance hall is adorned with a group of architectural engravings, antique architectural salvage, wire sculpture and fresh blooms all with a modern Eclectic Layerism effect. The result is effortless, graceful and VERY “the age of Innocence”.
From the same ELLE DECOR magazine feature on Entrance Halls is this STUNNING space by Hoteliers Kit and Tim Kemp in their London townhouse. The paper is by Bennison and literally made me squeal in delight when I saw it. Even non-traditional people can appreciate the glorious visual impact and power of the pattern and colour. Pick up the ELLE DECOR issue for even more room inspirations.
Design by Alexa Hampton … traditional with a modern twist