When you come home after a long day, the last thing you want, is to open your front door and be greeted by a mess. Making the effort to turn your entryway in to a functional and beautiful space will mean that you always leave from and return to a space that is calm and clutter-free. It will also mean that you won’t spend precious time hunting for those keys or that scarf or that matching shoe.
Making your entry hall highly functional is most important but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. My own interior style belief is that everything in my home should have both form and function. Put another way, everything should be beautiful and practical. And my other key philosophy is that no matter how big or small a room, leave space empty. Don’t fill every inch of it because this will make a small room look smaller and can even make a big room look small.
Below are my top tips on how to organise your entryway with style and breathing space, that sets the tone for the rest of your home. And then there’s lots of ideas on how to store your entryway essentials. And all this is achievable no matter how small an entrance you have.
How to organise your entryway
The key to an organised entryway is to look at exactly what you need to store in relation to the space you have available. Simply put, the clutter and chaos comes when you have too much stuff and not enough appropriate storage for it. This might mean getting rid of some stuff or keeping it elsewhere or it might mean being more creative with your storage. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you get that gorgeous, functional and welcoming hallway.
1. An entry hall is the first place you see when you come back home. It’s also the first place your guests see. For better or worse, this is the room that sets the tone for the rest of your home. So keep the colours consistent and complementary with the rest of your home, especially with rooms that can be seen from the entryway. This creates a natural flow from one room to the next and can help a small space feel larger.
2. Consider the shape and size of your space, including things like ceiling height because sometimes it makes sense to use the height rather than the floor space. Do you have any recesses that can be turned in to a closet, open or closed? Do you have an awkward angle that you can turn into storage by putting up some custom made shelves there?
3. Look at how many doors or doorways are off your entryway. Our (not very big entrance) has 3 doors and 2 doorways which limits wall space so we’ve had to plan around this.
4. All your hallway storage doesn’t have to be together on one wall. Break it up if that works better for your space – the mirror doesn’t always have to be above the table or bench, the hooks can be on a different wall and perhaps a console table spills in to the next room. Work with the flow of your space rather than against it.
5. Ease of getting to and putting away stuff is key. If it’s not easy to put away, it’s not going to get done. And if you’ve got kids, unless you make it really easy, their stuff is going to be dumped on the floor.
6. Multifunctional furniture is always a good idea but even more so when space is limited. Things like a bench with storage or a shelf with hooks under it or a mirror with a shelf all help to create more storage without taking more space.
7. Functional is key but so are little details that reflect you and your style. A favourite piece of art or a meaningful family photo plus a few objects like plants, a vase or some books will make your space feel warm, welcoming and personal to you and your home.
8. A designated place for everything and being disciplined about putting it back in it’s place is the secret to an organised, functional and beautiful entryway.
Keeping the above tips in mind, here are lots of ideas on how to store your entrance hall essentials like coats, shoes, furniture, keys and more.
How to organise your entryway – coat & accessory storage ideas
If you can accommodate a coat closet, that is the best solution because not only do they hold a lot of stuff but you can also close the door and it’s out of sight. I love this because it takes the pressure off having to be neat all the time! Also, guest coats don’t need to be hanging around the living room or thrown on an entryway bench. But before you buy or make a coat closet, consider your space, the shape of the room and how much stuff you need the closet to hold. You don’t want to end up with a closet that doesn’t hold much but ends up taking a lot precious square footage in your entry hall.
Here are some other ideas for storing coats and accessories in an entryway:
Go for a rail hung from the ceiling which can hold coats, scarves, umbrellas and more – this looks stylish and can work in even the smallest entryways. This entrance is tiny, it is literally the space you can see in the picture – a tiny corner. Yet, a coat rail hung from the ceiling leaves floor space for shoes and bags under and a tall mirror makes good use of the other narrow wall. In addition, you could add a corner stool or a small shelf for bits and pieces.
Another option is a wall full of hooks placed at different heights. You can go for either individual hooks which can look pretty funky or a long rail or even several rails at different heights. This is especially handy with young kids as it requires absolutely no effort to hang up stuff (which would otherwise be left on the floor in the exact spot that it was removed). Lots of wall hooks are perfect for all manner of stuff like handbags, school bags, scarves, hats and so much more.
In a small or dark entrance, a closed coat closet can look bulky, even if there is enough physical space. My favourite alternative is a simple, open hanging unit, like an open wardrobe rail. These look much lighter and often have shelves and shoe rack as well. The addition of a beautiful basket or two is perfect to keep your scarves and gloves in.
How to organise your entryway – shoe storage ideas
Shoe storage is a biggie for me as we are a ‘strictly no shoes in the house’ family. Are you the same? Either way shoes need a home in the entryway so you can grab and go!
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), first get rid of the shoes you no longer wear because the chances are that you wear just 2-3 pairs on a daily basis and possibly 2-3 pairs on a night out. Also get rid of all those shoes your kids have outgrown. If space in your entryway is limited, keep your occasional wear shoes elsewhere. Do the same with seasonal shoes – flip flops, sandals etc can all be piled in to a box or a suitcase and kept away during the winter months.
Once you’ve gotten shoe organised, there are some pretty neat ways to store shoes in an entryway. Here are some of my favourite ideas to get you inspired:
This is a simple DIY shoe storage solution – stacking a few wooden crates in the entrance to hold shoes. This ensures that the shoes aren’t strewn all over the place and are instead placed neatly in to a box. I love that you can even stack some crates vertically for boots and others can be left horizontal for regular shoes. Add a few plants and accessories in and around the crates and the whole arrangement will look stylish too.
Shoe racks are of course an obvious solution but I’m not a huge fan as most tend to look quite functional without the beauty – except if they can be tucked away in a closet and out of sight. Otherwise, if you’ve got plenty of length in your hallway, simply placing shoes in a line on a rug works well. Or else having a low shelf along the wall where shoes can be placed above and below is a very simple and functional solution. This can work not only in a long narrow space but also in a squarer space with a shelf placed in an ‘L’ shape as above. The wall above the shelf is then free for hooks, shelves, mirrors and everything else.
With a little imagination, a few shelves and a curtain, a small recess can be turned in to a big shoe storage area that holds all your shoes. But if not a recess, think about using the frame of an old chest of drawers instead. Simply by removing the drawers, adding a few shelves and finishing with a curtain, you could have some handy shoe storage.
Yet another way is to repurpose some basic kitchen units by laying them on their side and using them as shoe storage. I’ve done this for my living room storage unit but one of my readers contacted me when she saw my DIY and said she was going to use it for shoes. And I have to agree – these units would be very handy for shoes.
There are lots and lots of ways to store shoes in an entryway in a manner where they don’t look unsightly, even if they are visible. I’ve just picked a few different ways here to get you inspired.
How to organise your entryway – mirrors
Mirrors can make any room look larger and an entryway is no exception. And of course we all want that last look in the mirror before we leave the house or greet a guest, so a mirror is a must in my book. A small entryway will benefit the most from a big mirror as it will make the space seem bigger.
Thankfully mirrors come in all shapes and sizes and often you can find ones with a shelf attached or some hooks or a mirror fronted cupboard, which can be handy as extra storage. If you don’t have much wall space or you have an irregular shaped entryway, consider the best shape and size of mirror for your space – will a round mirror work or a narrow floor standing mirror? Or maybe a wall mounted rectangular one that goes the breadth of the wall? The main thing to remember is that you want to have a bit of distance from the mirror so you can see yourself. But if space isn’t an issue, just go with your favourite kind of mirror.
Here are some ideas for styles of mirror for different sizes and shapes of entryways:
In a narrow entryway, whether long or short, tall mirrors tend to work really well especially if you can place them at one end of the corridor like space. Apart from the mirror, this entryway has so much going for it. It’s a neat, functional and stylish entrance created in a tiny space.
I’m a sucker for round mirrors – I would choose them over any other shape if the room allowed it. I think they work exceptionally well for small entrance halls where perhaps you don’t have a room to call an entrance, but just a sliver of wall. This entrance is small and not much more than a wall but has all the essentials including a seat placed under the table so it doesn’t take up extra room.
How to organise your entryway – seating
It’s a good idea to have some kind of seating in your entrance. Walking in after a crazy, hectic day, you can use it to collapse on, even for a brief moment or two. It’s also offers a place to sit down and put on or take off shoes or drop your bags as you enter. Seating can be as simple as a bench that doubles up as storage or a casually placed chair or stool, depending on the space available.
Here are some entrance seating ideas for various sized entryways:
If space allowed, I would go for a bench in the hallway, every time. A bench gives you a place to sit, it serves as a table top (getting rid of the need for a shelf or any other kind of table) and it allows you to store shoes or other stuff underneath. You can also line up some beautiful seagrass baskets under the bench and keep accessories and other bits in there. Add a plant and perhaps a favourite piece of art and it all comes together to create a beautiful hallway. The addition of a long rail above the bench is also very handy for all sorts of thing.
Seating doesn’t require much thinking, it’s just a question of what you can make work for your space and what works with the other storage you have in your hallway. Sometimes a simple chair or stool placed in the entrance is all you need – it’s also a good way of storing extra seating like a spare dining chair. If you do have a console table, a small stool placed under it like in one of the pictures above is another idea. And this doesn’t take any extra floor space.
You could also combine storage and seating by having a low storage cabinet with cushions above. This way you can opt for closed or open storage, depending on what you prefer and how tidy you are! Open storage usually allows a room to feel more spacious as it tends to look less bulky and gives the room breathing space, but only if you can be neat. If you can’t, go for closed storage.
How to organise your entryway – keys & post
Creating a specific spot for your keys and post is essential for a tidy entrance but also for your sanity! How many times have you searched for those keys to the back door or your car keys? Or that important piece of mail that goes missing somewhere in your home. We’ve all been there. This can easily be avoided by simply having a space to put it all.
When it comes to post, we get much less paper than we used to. If you haven’t already, go paperless wherever you can. Then there’s junk mail which can be binned the minute it comes through the door. And finally there are store catalogues and magazines that we subscribe to. These can have a place to be kept for a day or so, until you can move them to the living room or wherever you’re going to read them. But if you’re not going to even look at them, then bin immediately and unsubscribe.
This tiny bit of wall has all the storage you need if your space is very limited. The little wall hooks are perfect for keys and I especially like the idea of using a magnetic strip for your mail. This helps to ensures that your mail won’t become a massive pile because you’ll see it every time you walk past and the limited space forces you to stay tidy.
Pegboards can get you organised in any room, but they are especially handy for entrances. You can customise them to work for your needs – hooks for keys and accessories, a shelf or basket for mail, box shelves for displaying stuff etc. This is a DIY pegboard which means that you can even make it smaller or bigger to suit your space.
Mail and keys can also be kept away in drawers but you risk the mail piling up – out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. So I prefer to keep mail out in the open as it forces me to not let it pile up. For keys, if you do keep them in a drawer, there is a good chance of forgetting to put them back in the drawer especially when you’re in a hurry. But a hook makes it almost impossible to forget to hang it up. Keep things as convenient as you can is my motto, so that everything can go back in it’s place without any thinking required.
How to organise your entryway – flooring & rugs
One of the biggest mistakes I made when we renovated our place was to not put a rug in the entrance. Our light wooden floor around the front door is badly dirt stained and no amount of scrubbing gets it clean. It bugs me every time I leave my house and come back in. I’m now on the hunt for a dark rug to lay over that part of the floor so I don’t have to see it everyday. Don’t make the same mistake as me.
The floor around your front door will get dirty especially if it’s light in colour, so unless you have flooring that is super easy to keep clean (tiles, vinyl or similar), I suggest a dark, hard wearing rug. If the rug is washable in the washing machine, even better. Beyond saving your floors, rugs add warmth and look inviting which is exactly the feeling you want from an entryway.
For something a little different, you could go with mixing tiles and wood. Having the area around the front door tiled means it will be easy to keep clean and your wooden floors won’t get dirty either. This idea particularly appeals to me because it’s super practical and looks so striking too.
If your entryway feels like chaos and you are constantly searching for essentials, it’s really worth taking a step back and re-planning it from scratch. It’s not expensive or time consuming to make an entryway work for the needs of your home and your family. The secret is to have a space for everything you use daily and being disciplined about putting it back in it’s place everyday. With a little planning and a very small budget – or possibly no budget as you may already have everything you need and it’s just a question of re-organising – you can turn this room around in less than a day.
Do you have an organised entrance hall or one that needs a little love? Leave me a comment and let me know.