Small entry ideas are often overlooked despite setting the decorative tone for the rest of your home. Whether it’s the first space guests see when they enter the house, or a circulation zone between rooms, all entrances, hallways and landings in your home require serious design attention.
A hallway not only looks inviting, but it should also set the tone for the rest of your home – and should be considered alongside entry and hallway ideas to ensure a coordinated feel.
So if you’re looking for inspiration for this compact space, think big. Whatever the size, shape or configuration of your interior, these small and narrow entryway ideas show you how to take furnishing to the next level – after all, it’s the space that makes the first impression on your guests.
Small Entryway Ideas – maximize your entryway with smart interior design tricks
From interior details to inventive suggestions for hallway storage, these design-led small entryway ideas will inspire your design, no matter the size.
1. Plan the lighting first
Since small entrances often lack natural light, it is important to consider your artificial lighting.
“Instead of using strong overhead lights that have a poolside effect, we recommend going for wall and table lamp combinations to stack the light levels,” advises Rohan Blacker, founder of Pooky.
Materials used in your lighting choices also require attention. “Narrow hallways can feel cramped, so it’s a good idea to use glass shades to make the most of natural light and create a sense of space,” said Sheena Lawrence, co-director of Jim Lawrence. (opens in new tab)† “The reflective quality of mouth-blown glass is unparalleled, adding delicate and inviting layers of light whether it’s on or off. Clear glass shades bypass the visual implications that can occur with harsher lighting, allowing light to pass through.
2. Embrace the size of a small hall
In dark, narrow entrances, decorating choices make all the difference. “There are two approaches to ideas for narrow or small aisles,” said Ruth Mottershead, Little Greene’s creative director.
Embrace the format and go for deep darks and patterned wallpaper, or go for a trick of the eye and extend a long narrow room by using a lighter, warmer color at the end of the room, with a slightly darker shade of a similar show on the walls to create depth.’
Ann Grafton, creative director of Mulberry Home also notes that ‘using a large-scale design on all walls in a hallway can blur the illusion where one wall ends and another begins, making the space feel wider’.
3. Make the most of the wall space
With plenty of wall space, entryways are an ideal place to stack favorite pieces of art. “There are two really effective ways to make a statement with art in a hallway,” said Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord. ‘The first is playing with scale. Make the most of the wall space and choose a large-scale artwork that spans the entire height of the wall. It will feel bold and impactful. Another interesting way to make a statement is to create an art wall. Play with a mix of work in different formats, colors and genres.’
4. Add intrigue by drenching color
A hallway trend that is currently being applied in entrance areas is color drenching. “This contemporary, cohesive approach makes a big impact by painting the woodwork, radiators, ceiling and doors the same color as the walls,” said Ruth Mottershead, Little Greene’s creative director.
This creates a complete scheme, treating each element in the same way, making a design statement when entering or viewing the hall from other rooms in your home.
5. Create personality – and depth
If your small entryway is big enough, make sure there’s a surface for the practicalities of everyday life, such as a nice all-in-one for your front door keys or an eye-catching coaster if you always have a coffee cup in hand. . Another way to add interest and distract from the small footprint is to turn heads with a piece of contemporary art. A strong piece of art is also a great way to draw attention to a space – and create a conversation piece.
6. Provide a place to sit
Provide a place to put on and take off shoes in a small hallway. Here, designer Elnaz Namaki (opens in new tab) took full advantage of the space in an alcove to accommodate a narrow sofa, which fits perfectly into this tight corner. Make it a design element in its own right with wall lamps and artwork.
7. Bounce light across the room
Mirrors are a wonderful addition to any room, but because small entrances often have limited natural light, they call for reflective surfaces. This room from Studio Indigo (opens in new tab) also shows how choosing a decorative mirror can help make it appear as a work of art of its own as well.
8. Don’t be afraid of color in a small space
It can be all too easy to choose a neutral color for an entryway, but by choosing a bold hue you will instantly amplify the impact of your space.
A bright wall color, such as Stone Blue by Farrow & Ball used in this home by interior designer Tor Vivian, will add a boost of joy as you open the door. Since these areas are often crowded and prone to impact, choose a paint with a durable finish. And choose your shade carefully.
“If your hallway is light and airy, you can play with whatever color you’re looking for,” says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball brand ambassador (opens in new tab)† “If your entrance is narrow and poorly lit, you can use warm tones, which include red or yellow, or go into the darkness with a deep navy blue or nearly black for drama, making rooms opening onto the hallway feel lighter and brighter. †
9. Introduce a burst of joy
“It’s easy to forget about small entrances and hallways because they’re passageways rather than places where we spend time,” said Sarah Peake, founder of Studio Peake (opens in new tab)† “It’s crucial, therefore, to be bold with pattern and color — something to cheer the spirits as you enter.”
“We like to use tapestries in entryways because they add richness and warmth to a space that may not have a lot of furniture. They are also available in huge sizes, making them ideal for long spaces,” said Camilla Clarke, creative director of Albion Nord. (opens in new tab)†
10. Link your entrance to the rest of the house
If your entrance is on the small side, use color and pattern to connect the space with the rest of the house. Here, the taupe-colored wallpaper – this is Schumacher’s Haruki wallpaper in Oatmeal – keeps the room from looking too clinical. The two styles help pair smart dark frames, which mirror the border on the wallpaper (French grosgrain ribbon from Samuel & Sons).
What can I do with a small entrance fee?
Think of your small entryway as a room in its own right, not just an in-between space. Once you’ve made the most of its natural features, think about how to personalize it from a decorative point of view. While very dark colors can be tricky to incorporate, avoid the opposite approach, which can result in a neutral magnolia finish. Instead, choose a shade that harmonizes with the rest of your scheme and try accentuating baseboards and door frames in a stronger shade for definition.