No matter how big or small your home, your entryway serves as an important transition point between outdoors and indoors – it's also the first room anyone will see when they enter your home. Entryways can be magnets for clutter – coats, shoes, keys, mail, and, if you have kids, little 'treasures' they pick up while they're out and about, as well as discarded toys and other bits and bobs. It's important, then, to think not just about how your entryway will look, but what functions it should fulfil. It should be a pleasant yet utilitarian space.
One of the first things to think about in an entryway is a place to hang coats and jackets. Coats are usually the bulkiest items of clothing that we own, and having them lying around a kitchen or living space is no fun at all, especially since they remind us of the outdoors – hardly conducive to relaxing. Depending on both your taste and your space, there are a couple of solutions. A free-standing coat stand is pretty if you have room for it, though beware that it's form might end up obscured if it's overloaded (one way to avoid this is to put little-used coats and jackets into storage).
If you're tight on space, or your hallway is very narrow, a second option is to mount coat hooks on the wall – mounting the hooks above a bench saves even more space. Again, though, beware that your pretty coat-hooks will inevitably be hidden behind coats and scarves; don't rely on it as a feature piece in your entryway, in other words.
The third coat storage option is a shallow wardrobe, like the one pictured. This has the advantage of hiding your coats from view, but might not work in smaller spaces.
Somewhere to put keys, mail, receipts and other pocket build-up is another key ingredient in an organised entryway. There are a plethora of styles to choose from – we've rounded up a few here – but it's a good idea for your hall console to have at least one or two drawers or cubbies if you tend to accumulate a lot of clutter. A hall console is also a good place to put a lamp; lighting in the hall, which can too often be a dark space, is as important as in any other room in the home.
If a console or sideboard isn't to your tastes, a wall-mounted shelf is another option. Again, having it double up as a storage space is a good idea, and hooks underneath will hold bags, scarves and other small items.
Of all the things that can clutter up an entryway, shoes are perhaps the worst. The last thing you want is to trip over stray shoes – or, even worse, have your guests trip over them! – while walking down the hallway. A shoe bench or shoe cupboard will keep them out of the way; a bench will double-up as a place to sit and put them on and take them off. Little-worn pairs should go into storage; only keep everyday pairs in your entryway to cut down on clutter.
A bench, whether to rest weary legs immediately after entering the home, or as a place to sit and remove shoes, is a good idea for any entryway. Seating in the entryway also has an inviting and welcoming quality.
A bench isn't the only option, of course – a chair or pair of chairs arranged around a console is another option. So long as it's comfortable and practical, any seating choice is a good one.
While not essential, a mirror somewhere in your entryway will brighten and lighten the space, as well as giving you somewhere to make those final checks before you leave the home. Whether big or small, putting it near a light source will amp up the light cast by that light source; a mirror will also, of course, make small spaces look bigger.
Your entryway doesn't have to be completely utilitarian, of course, and it shouldn't be! While you want to minimise clutter, small touches like flowers or soft-furnishings will make the space more inviting and pretty. Flowers, in particular, speak to the hallway's transitional quality – outdoors to indoors – but in a controlled and beautiful way.