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The Anatomy of an Entryway: 5 Foolproof Formulas AND Our Favorite Shoppable Picks

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Sometimes a post really hits. And while we are ALWAYS pumped, we aren’t always sure what the exact magic sauce was (especially if it was a little unexpected aka not the mountain house kitchen). The latest of these was Emily’s entryway reveal. We looked at all of the data to come to the conclusion that maybe people are just really into their entryways right now. Which I actually get. A pretty entryway is psychologically important. Why? Well if it’s a mess when you leave then you are already bummed/stressed about seeing it when you get back. And when the first area you see when you get home is not the way you want it to look, it really can drag down your mood. Honestly, the world is in too much chaos to not have our homes bring us as much peace as possible, right? So while the boxes I need to put in the recycling dumpster and the large blanket I need to return to my dad are mocking me daily, when it’s clean, I LOVE walking into my apartment, seeing my entry and feeling a sense of calm (or as calm as 2020 will allow).

I want that for everyone. So I did the necessary EHD research, realized we have 5 favorite entryway formulas that we repeat ALL THE TIME, and then put together arguably too many shoppable options (I really couldn’t stop myself). So, no matter the size entry you have, you can come home, rip off that mask, take a deep breath, and feel peace because your entry is on point. No more clutter body.

But before we get into the formulas this is what we think every entry needs:

  • Function (because form is great until you have nowhere to throw your third pair of shoes that you can’t be bothered to take allll the way to your room)
  • Mixed materials (for texture and visual interest)
  • Varied levels (also for visual interest)

Formula #1: Bench + Basket + Wall Feature

This one is one of the simplest because it only requires three elements and nothing electrical. However, it’s SO functional. I am a huge kick-your-shoes-off-the-moment you-get-home kina gal so having a shoe bin is imperative for me to have an “organized” entry. Emily is also very team shoe bin as shown above.

But first, let’s talk benches. The bench is your main piece and sets the tone for the rest of your house. So choosing the right bench will not only give you a great place to sit but also an awesome opportunity to show off your style (bonus points for cute pillows). These are some of our favorites:

1. Pax Black Natural Bench | 2. Wood & Steel Accent Bench | 3. Woven Rope Indoor Bench | 4. Askon Pill Shaped Wooden Bench | 5. Catch-all Storage Bench | 6. Walking Bench | 7. Shaker Dining Bench | 8. Georg Bench | 9. Skye Upholstered Bench | 10. Blue Upholstered Bench | 11. Verken Mid Century Modern Settee Bench | 12. küdd:krig HOME Capsule Bench

#1, #9, and #10 are awesome because their upholstered tops really make a bold and colorful statement. #5 is pretty great because it’s a bench and bin all in one so it’s perfect for smaller entries or simply for extra storage. But #4 (so affordable), #6, #7 and #12 take what could be a simple wooden bench and really make them into something SO special.

Large baskets are SUCH a good long term purchase. They can be used for a near limitless amount of things… heck, even as a pretty planter cover. I would just make sure for your entry, make note of the number of shoes that normally collect by your door and then adjust your basket size needs accordingly.

1. Garissa Khaki Basket | 2. HURRING | 3. Jaylin Blue Grey Round Sisal Basket | 4. Mercado Storage Basket | 5. Tall Striped Basket | 6. Big Sur Basket | 7. Large Banana Delilah Tote Basket | 8. Steele Canvas 1-1/2 Bushel Basket | 9. Tambo Basket | 10. Woven Seagrass Basket | 11. Silver Triangle Hamper | 12. Small Basket with Round Handles | 13. Seagrass Basket | 14. Merapi Storage Basket | 15. TAMADUNI

I LOVE #1, #4, #14, and #15 so much. But for those that don’t want to see any clutter, #11 with that cute lid is the way to go. However, #8 is the EHD classic and has multiple versions and colors (there’s even an option with wheels).

Hot Tip

Make sure your basket is a different height than the overall height of your bench... but keeping it shorter than the seat of the bench is our rec.

Formula #2: Entry Cabinet + Mirror + Sconce + Tall Vase

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: styling to sell – the final entry reveal (that’s real estate agent approved)

Next up, we have a formula with a bit more drama (and more closed storage). While a single basket is enough entry storage for some of us, if you have the space and want to up the storage, consider an entry cabinet. Sure you can’t sit on it. BUT it’s the ultimate catchall.

These are some great options…

1. Quinn Lacquer Entry Cabinet | 2. Delancey Accent Cabinet | 3. Clyde Mahogany Small Media Console | 4. Gabi Rattan Entryway Cabinet | 5. Houghtaling Accent Cabinet | 6. Libby Small Cabinet | 7. HEMNES | 8. Staci Buffet Table | 9. OSCURO | 10. Coles | 11. Industrial Storage Dresser | 12. Taberg Modern Wood Accent Cabinet | 13. Mid-Century Cabinet | 14. Nadia Display Cabinet | 15. Lap Credenza

You first want to think about your needs. Are you a drawer person where #7, #8, and #11 would be your go-to? Or would a cabinet with doors and bins inside be a better fit like, well the rest of these? I personally LOVE #3, #5, #9, and #15. Can you tell I have a hard time choosing my favorite of anything?

1. Inman Venetian Accent Mirror | 2. Gold Rounded Tapered Mirror | 3. Corin Rattan Round Wall Mirror | 4. Palamos Rattan Mirror | 5. Round Decorative Wall Mirror | 6. Woven Mirror Artwork | 7. Beveled Hub Wall Mirror | 8. Yedinak Traditional Accent Mirror | 9. Perch Round Mirror With Shelf | 10. Wall Mirror | 11. MERON | 12. Acacia Wood Mirror | 13. Hub Modern and Contemporary Accent Mirror | 14. Victor Leather Mirror | 15. Gerald Large Round Rose Gold Wall Mirror

Mirrors and entryways are THE power couple. Art is wonderful and I will never vote against a beautiful piece of art. BUT a mirror is not only functional, so you don’t miss the fact that maybe you forgot to brush your hair as you hurry out the door, it also will reflect more light around your space. Also, you can easily “go big” without it looking overwhelming. For something classic and affordable, #5 is great. You may recognize #6 from this makeover we revealed this week:) I also have a real soft spot for #2 and #10.

design and photo by malcolm simmons

1. Berkshire Single Sconce with Linen Shades | 2. Base Sconce | 3. Double Cone Brass Bowtie Wall | 4. Krume Gold Metal White Glass Globe Wall Sconce | 5. Arney Sconce | 6. Leggero Champagne Pole Wall Sconce | 7. Claremont Milk Glass Cylinder Sconce | 8. Arc Mid-Century Sconce | 9. Wood Sconce | 10. Destello Sconce | 11. Arney Articulating Sconce | 12. Alabax Small Sconce | 13. Windsong Wall Sconce | 14. Black Vanity Light | 15. Matte Black Plug-In or Hardwire Wall Sconce

Now the sconces are probably my favorite part of this formula because I really love cool lighting. I mean look at Malcolm’s entry above! Those sconces are incredible. They are also nice for mood lighting at night when you only want some lights on (HOT TIP: install a dimmer if you can). But as for the roundup, I also love #2, #5, and #11 for something modern and #1, #10, and #12 for a more traditional look.

I didn’t include a tall vases roundup in this formula but I do later so get excited:)

Formula #3: Entry Cabinet + Table Lamp + Wall Art + Short Vase

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: sara’s living and dining room reveal

With this formula, it’s basically the little sibling to #2 but equally as great. You still have your wonderful cabinet but instead of a sconce you have a lovely table lamp (which personally is actually my favorite type of light) and instead of a tall dramatic vase you have a smaller more delicate one. Also, while a mirror is a solid go-to for an entry, you can’t forget about the power of art. You can choose something large, a few small pieces, or even a small gallery wall. No rules. That’s it so let’s shop!

1. Ivory Reactive Glaze Pedestal Vase | 2. Judy Jackson Tiny Stoneware Bottle | 3. Celia White Vase | 4. Large Stone Vase | 5. Sandy Mole Ceramic Table Vase | 6. Hand Turned Wood Bud Vase | 7. Beaded Bud Vase | 8. Little Gem Bud Vase | 9. Ceramic Vase | 10. Glossy Bottleneck Vase | 11. ORIGAMI | 12. Textured Ceramic Linework Vase

Vases (especially the shorter ones) are such a fun way to bring in personality to a design. #2, #5, and #7 are quietly bold which I love. Then #3, #11, #12‘s verticle ribbing is a fun but elegant accent.

photo by david tsay | from: my best friend’s los feliz home

1. Modern Totem Table Lamp | 2. Word Table Light | 3. Downbridge Table Lamp | 4. Bond Lamp | 5. Valencia LED Task Lamp | 6. O&G Jena Buffet Lamp | 7. Modern Wood Column Table Lamp | 8. Sullivan Table Lamp | 9. Hanna Pink Table Lamp | 10. Graduate Lamp | 11. Hayes Wireless Charging Table Lamp | 12. Rigdon USB Table Lamp

Hello, lover (in Carrie Bradshaw’s sultry voice)! #1 looks like it would give the most beautiful glow in the evening and for such a unique lamp, that price is not bad. #4 is one of Emily’s all-time favorites because well that blue lampshade is basically iconic at this point. BUT #11 and #12 both give off a beautiful light but will also charge your phone which seems GENIUS since you can charge your phone and easily grab it on your way out.

Formula #4: Tulip Table + Tall Vase

photo by christopher dibble | from: 12 tips to make a spec home, special…with max humphrey

This one is the most straight forward but does require you have a decent-sized entryway (and likely a mudroom to store your shoes). However in this photo, those stools might act as storage. VERY smart and sneaky, Max🙂

Why we love this look is because of how simple yet stunning it is. The beautiful shape of the table plus the tall vase with even taller greenery is graphic but feel. Basically it’s a slam dunk. Side note: You can also add a tray or bowl if you want a little something extra:)

Ok, let’s talk tulips…

1. Capsule Dining Table | 2. DOCKSTA | 3. Marble Top Leilani Tulip Dining Table | 4. Black Marble Round Bistro Table | 5. Art Deco Bistro Table w/ Mahogany Top | 6. Emiko Dining Table | 7. Clay Dining Table | 8. Chroma Bistro Table | 9. Grove Marble Round Bistro Table | 10. White Marble Round Bistro Table | 11. Vera Pedestal Dining Table | 12. Oak Torsion Dining Table

I don’t know about you but I can’t HANDLE how beautiful #1 is. That wood accent makes my heart skip a beat every time I look at it. 10/10. I also think that #5, #10, and #11 are fun and slightly unexpected versions. However, a classic is a classic for a reason so #2 and #6 will always be a great buy.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland project: the entry & staircase reveal

See I told you the vases were coming up:)

1. Olympia Tall Pink Vase with Handles | 2. Soto Black Vase | 3. Shapes Ceramic Vase | 4. TIDVATTEN | 5. Leahigh Double-Handled Tall Vase | 6. Ruff White Vase | 7. Minimalist Vase | 8. Yaan Vase | 9. Tall Amber Vase | 10. SIN Cenote Vase | 11. Brass Hurricane Vase | 12. Splash Vase

I think about buying #3 about once a week but sadly just don’t have the right spot for her. BUT if you do, then you 10000000% should. Now for something more neutral #6 and #10 are quiet but special.

Formula #5: Console Table + Short Vase + Chair + Table Lamp + Wall Art

photo by david tsay | from: styled: secrets for arranging rooms, from tabletops to bookshelves

We made it! This last one has a little bit of everything. It has a place to sit, a catchall table, a light source, and of course some accessories. Now I didn’t add a basket into this formula but you absolutely could.

Ok, let’s jump right in…

1. Warwick Narrow Console Table | 2. 2 Tone Grey and White Marble Console | 3. Niche Burl Wood Console Table | 4. Profile Console | 5. Warwick Wood & Rattan Console Table | 6. OSCURO | 7. Bixby Console | 8. Junipero Low Console Table | 9. Windham Console Table | 10. Streamline Console | 11. Woodson Console Table | 12. Maeve Solid Wood Console Table

We love console tables because they are visually a bit lighter and tend to be more physically slender which is great for an entryway the needs that (and a lot do). For those that really need some kind of storage, #5 and #9 have those cute little drawers. If you don’t need drawers or are into maybe some smaller shelf baskets then #1, #4, #8, and #11 are awesome options. But if you want something with that “extra something” then #3 and #7 (it’s wrapped in fabric!) then I would suggest those.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the no-reno house that looks Completely renovated

1. Taylorsville Spindle Accent Chair | 2. Kaishi Black Chair | 3. Aesop Armchair | 4. Cleo Chair | 5. Sunnyvale Woven Accent Chair | 6. Vecchia Metal Dining Chair (Set of 2) | 7. Ingrid Dining Chair | 8. Nadia White Cane Chair | 9. Foley Mink Velvet Dining Chair | 10. Morpho Swivel Velvet Arm Chair | 11. Notch Wood Chair | 12. Garlington Upholstered King Louis Back Arm Chair | 13. Charcoal Gray And Ivory Dash Print Noemi Tub Chair | 14. New London Wood Dining Chair (Set of 2) | 15. Vioria Solid Wood Dining Chair

Accent chairs have SUCH a special place in my heart and it kills me that I hardly have space for the very small one in my living room. SO if you have an entryway that can handle an accent chair DO IT! Just make sure to consider the scale of your console table and your chair so that one doesn’t overpower the other.

Now let’s get specific. As soon as I saw #3 a couple of months ago I immediately sent it to Julie and simply blurted out, “LOOK!!!!!” I mean, it’s juuuust so good. So that chair aside #6, #11, and #12 are great for a more traditional look and #2, #4, and #7 are great modern picks. BUT if you want a little extra cushion and boldness then #9, #10, and #13 are the way to go.

We are at the end! I hope that this was really helpful and makes you feel like designing an entryway is now a breeze. Now I know I didn’t get heavily into accessorizing but remember less is more. Maybe a small framed pic and a tray added is all you need atop your cabinet (in addition to your cute vase)! Don’t overthink it. Also, these formulas are guidelines. If you want to add a shoe bin next to your console, do it. If you want to add a sconce over your bench, I think that could look great! It’s up to you.

And to make life a little clearer and pinnable here is a graphic I made. Enjoy!

Love you, mean it. 🙂

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: How We Styled Our Living Room To Sell

Fin Mark

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I really loved this post more than I thought! Thanks for breaking this down. And I’ve learned that function in an entryway (as long as form for the happiness of your eyeballs) is so insanely important and you have to really think about the needs for that space. Our entryway is ever changing as I think of new ways to really make it functional. Three and a half years ago, when I was actually still writing on my blog, I did a “function makeover” of our entryway. It made a big difference. A bench is a game changer. It’s a necessary dumping ground : ) and place to sit to take on and off shoes. I still have not figured out a good solution for side tables though. I put the IKEA stools in there because it was easy and functional, but it’s all too leggy over there, with the legs of the bench. I’m thinking a solid no leg side table would be better. If you’re interested in seeing it, this is the link: https://honeymoonvintage.com/homeblog/2017/3/6/our-newly-functional-entryway-makeover-final-reveal Our front door opens right into our living room, with no real “entryway”, so I made the first wall walking in after the closet… Read more »

Also, that #3 Jungalow vase is AMAZING. And, don’t forget to consider vintage pieces as an option! Craigslist and FB Marketplace are like gold mines.

katy

What do you think about a cabinet that is 47″ high? I love this one: https://www.zola.com/shop/product/creativecoop_2door_woven_rattan_cabinet but worry that it’s too high to put a mirror above it with a lamp and vase on top. Would love to hear opinions!

Hilary

I legit want to buy one of everything in these round ups, even though I love the items in my entryway. These pieces would be great anywhere and the price points offer great options. These are the posts I love so much from EHD.

Annie

I love this so much! I stare at my entry space and try to figure out what to do with it every day. It’s a cape cod with stairs in the middle, so you only have about 5 feet from the door to the stairs. And both sides of the stairs are walkways we can’t really get rid of.

Someday I’ll figure out the perfect table or bench to give a place to drop junk.

Annie Witzmann

I love these entries so much but my wall and stair case is curved. Do you have any posts that show that?

laura

the reason I clicked the entryway post ASAP was more so due to the current needs of COVID. I have a *really small* space in my apartment. To be honest, the solutions here don’t really work with what I have to work with. I’m trying to make a type of cleaning zone as I live in a big city and don’t want to bring the outside germs into my apartment. The space I have to work with is the size of the back of my door, to place sanitizer, wipes, etc, hang clothes, and place shoes under. I was thinking of just getting one of those narrow entryway shelves with hooks underneath. Those don’t look as nice, so I’ve been looking for design & function, which this blogs helps with sometimes!
This was a nice aspirational roundup, though!

Linds

I live in an apartment in a big city – none of these would fit in my entry way. What about smaller spaces? Specifically, shoe rack, coat rack, smaller mirror, etc.

Susanna

Some entry consoles with drawers can do double-duty as a desk, a nice twofer for those of us in smaller spaces.

I’m fascinated that three of the five formulas do not include the ability to sit as part of their functionality. I have friends with no seating in their entry, but for me a chair or bench to help with putting on or removing shoes is priority #1.

Abby

I love this article but the “love you, mean it” at the end makes me cringe every time I read it. It sounds so condescending. Please, we’re adults here. Change the signature.

kelly

I think its cute! how about you not tell someone to change their signature.

Abby

You’re right- I shouldn’t have said change the signature.

Alice

Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

I have that on a button and am thrilled that I have a reason to share.

Jessa

Totally agree. It’s so disingenuous.

Devon Freeman

I love this so much! Any suggestions for which side an entryway should be on? My entryway opens up in a weird shape so wondering if you have any recs?!

mallory

We have that allmodern credenza (#8 on formula #2) and the quality shocked me for the price. The cubbies are big enough for a backpack and big tote or two, and the drawers are so useful. I’ve been with struggling styling it so this is super helpful! Thank you!

kim

You ladies are on fire, great picks for every price point too! I recently removed everything from my entryway but now I want to put somethings back!

Erin H

You forgot a formula! One for someone who has no room for furniture! 😁

StephanieZ

I’ve redone my entryway so many times but here the latest iteration- mcm secretary is great for storing lots in a small house and I love the wallpaper. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephie2cool/48097935931/in/photolist-2ghfuDr-PE3pQ4-28rHzPb-Jhzd4d-wD3ihU

mandy

Such a fun and helpful post, I want that chair from CB2!

Emily

Great roundup! But…can anyone recommend a bench or console table that’s under 35” wide? I’ve been searching high and low for the right thing to fit my space and I can’t find anything! (The burl wood console from CB2 is pretty but would be too busy, I think.)

Rachel

Does this work the same way if you’re in a small apartment and you enter right into your living space?

Jamie

I’d love suggestions on how to also deal with coats plus shoes which aren’t heavily featured in any of these suggestions. We have a very small entryway to our apt and have a coat rack and small mid century bench (single seat). We are trying to figure out a shoe storage solution that looks good but have limited space. I imagine wall hooks might be a cleaner look to the coat rack but we are renters so are trying to avoid putting something into the wall. Interested in suggestions that stylishly manage coats and shoes on a small wall (the corner is roughly 27” wide on each side). Many thanks!

Caity

Hi, a tall yet narrow armoire might work.

Sheila

Beautiful. But what about rugs? For those of us anticipating snowy, slushy boots, how do we protect our floors and still have a stylish entryway? Would love your suggestions for great-looking yet hard-working rugs. Thanks!

I have been SEARCHING for a narrow, TALL, console table for about 2 years. The #6 oscuro table from article coming in at a whopping 35 inches might finally be our winner – WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND TALLER END AND CONSOLE TABLES???? (Coming from a short person at 5′ even).

Thank you! Hoping you guys get a commission for that find when I use your link!

Kim

There are probably different reasons the entryway post blew up but I’ll tell you mine – it was the experienced realtor weighing in. Don’t get me wrong, I really love bloggers and I am grateful for their knowledge and experience on so many topics, but I think there is a desire right now for what trained or licensed “experts” would say about blog topics after so many years of hearing the amateur point of view. The desire for more attainable, amateur, DIY viewpoints that drove us to blogs in the first place I think is now swinging back a bit to wanting to hear from the so-called “experts” again on some things. I am always curious what an architect or licensed designer with a degree would say about bloggers’ renos or layout changes, and so I was really curious what a realtor would have to say about a blogger’s choices as well.

Nancy

I love these kinds of posts – this one was great! I scoped my entry and I’m 80% and this helped think about refining. Keep these posts that expand our perspective and ideas coming.

Kristin

I (unkowingly) followed formula one, complete with stylish basket of baby toys rather than shoes and it really makes my hear happy. I have a small home so we borrow the bench for the living room or dining table when we have a party. Remember parties?! I miss them so!

Kristin

*typo- *makes my heart happy 🙂

lia

If I use cabinets, table lamps and short vases, should I use wall art or can I use mirror ?

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