If you only need one reason to invest in decorating your entryway, let it be this: Everybody needs a good spot to make an entrance. But even for those among us who prefer to come and go with less of a to-do, an entryway space serves a functional purpose. It’s somewhere to take off your shoes, to set your keys, or to hang up your coat (and a place to reverse any of these things on your way out). An entryway is also the first impression inside the home, the room that sets the tone for the rest of the space. Think of your entry as your very own three-dimensional welcome mat (but much more chic, of course). It’s well-traveled, but most people don’t spend much time there once inside.

So how do you approach decorating an entryway that’s both heavy traffic and high speed? With high-impact decorative accents that set a stylish tone and well-appointed vignettes that say hello from the inside. Whether your entry is a formal foyer or a modified mudroom, it’s all about putting together furniture, decor, rugs and lighting that create wow factor right when you walk in the front door. Get ready to greet guests in style.

Upgrade your welcome mat
OK, so maybe the actual first impression for your home is the front door. But a few knocks later, the view through the open door is just as important. One simple, stylish swap we’d recommend is right at your feet. Upgrade your welcome mat with an antique rug that sets a classic, worldly tone. But we’re not all fashion over function; the rug’s well-worn appeal will also keep the first few footsteps in the home from feeling too precious.

Play with scale
Large and oversize art always sets a chic tone. “It’s all about creating interesting vignettes while playing with scale,” designer Wendy Blackband says. Investing in the perfect statement piece pulls together a dramatic entryway that leaves a lasting impression.

Embrace fashion and function
In any entryway, it’s important to lead guests in with a mix of interesting decor and design elements that extend floor to ceiling. “Anchor the smaller space with a rug that can handle the traffic and maintain its original charm for years to come,” designer Amanda Barnes suggests.

Lighten up
For a fashionable, quick fix in a small space, consider swapping out lighting in an entryway, as designer Brady Tolbert did in his own home. A chic chandelier or pendant light can be truly transformative without the risk of clutter.

Step outside the ordinary
Sometimes, the key to nailing a formal introduction is to be disarmingly charming. Entryways are no different; in a more formal foyer, try adding personality with unexpected art. After all, it’s always more interesting when inviting guests inside actually means stepping outside the ordinary.

Have a seat
A simple way to make guests feel at home is to have a seat positioned prominently in your entryway. Benches and chairs alike provide a practical opportunity to sit down while putting on or taking off shoes (or to simply take a load off for a few moments). Entry seating can also be easily accessorized with throw pillows and plants that showcase your personal style as a preview of the rest of the home.

Take the opportunity to reflect
Working with a smaller space? Shannon Wollack of Studio Life.Style offers this tip: “Mirrors can help make smaller entries feel bigger.” And with mirrors of all shapes and sizes available, there’s no shortage of opportunities for reflection. Besides, it never hurts to take one last opportunity to ensure you look your best on your way out the door.

Let the details speak for themselves
If less-is-more style is your thing, invest in a few small details that shine brightly. In this all-white entry stairwell, the minimalist approach to decor lets the tile detail speak for itself. The high-contrast result is simple, chic and downright stunning.

Draw the eyes up
An entryway is a perfect opportunity to show off high ceilings and other architectural details that create a grand entrance. Don’t be afraid to embrace a combination of geometric shapes, lines and curves to lead the eye around the room in a major wow moment.

Mix it up
A console table is a classic choice for adorning an entryway with a few chic pieces and a little bit of surface area to set keys or mail (or a hostess gift, should we be so lucky!). But where does one start when styling a console vignette? “Always remember the rule of threes, especially for an entryway moment,” instructs designer Jenn Feldman, citing a few examples on how to mix heights and textures on an entry table: “An interesting lamp, catch-all tray and a floral arrangement; a sculptural object on a stack of books next to a photo frame.”

Give your best friends a warm welcome
If you’re planning to do your share of hosting and entertaining this spring and summer, a warm and inviting (and focused) neutral palette is a great way to welcome guests. Natural wood tones and neutral rugs are the perfect combination for greeting, entertaining and bidding an end-of-the-evening farewell to best friends.

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By Jonathan Steinitz, Domaine (TNS)