Step 3: Beautify
Foyers and Mudrooms are an important first and last impression to your guests and more importantly, to you. Today we’ll wrap up our series about redesigning these spaces. If you’re just joining this topic, do take a quick peek at Step 1 and Step 2. There is a ton of useful information about organizing your “stuff” and it’s worth the read.
For those all caught up, I hope those closets and cubbies are getting into shape! Before declaring yourself done, let’s talk about the last step- making your space one that cheerily sends you into the day, and then welcomes you home.
First, you need a design concept. Think of your entry or mudroom as an extension of your main living spaces, but a space whose materials transition from outdoor to indoor space, and as a spot where you can do something interesting. Use a color or material that makes you happy- make sure you get a good dose of it either in the art, decorating or in the architectural finishes. Today we'll talk about 5 design decisions you need to work through to get to "done." Stuck? Go through Pinterest, Houzz and magazines, you’ll be inspired in no time.
Flooring: Stone, brick, wood, concrete or tile floors, are all practical options and add lovely distinction. A patterned rug is an easy way to provide warmth and aesthetic direction, and can define the center of a space, especially in rooms that are oddly shaped. Tip: All wool is always a designer’s first choice as it’s is easily cleaned and is the most durable. If you use stone, also consider radiant heating.
Ceilings: In suburban and country houses, entry ceilings are often a different height and structure than the main portion of the house, and therefore can be treated differently. Using beams, bead-board, ship lap, coffering, even just a different paint color, can make a statement.
If your ceiling is the same height as the surrounding spaces, as it tends to be in an apartment, think of a clever way to distinguish them: antique-mirrored ceilings, metallic tea-paper, high-gloss paint, a hand-painted pattern- there are loads of ways to add drama and even to provide a center in a room that might be irregularly shaped.
Tip: Got an oddly-shaped space but want to highlight the ceiling? Add a small ogee or square moulding to define a center space, and then treat the center of the shape with your material. Place a rug, a table or a statement light fixture to reinforce your idea.
Natural light: Do add height and width to small doorways into adjacent spaces, or add windows to gain light and add architectural character. Glass doors, mirror, transoms can all change the light of a space, and thus adjust the perceived proportion of the room.
Walls: Walls can send a message as to where to pause and collect oneself before entering the adjacent spaces of the home, or heading out for the day. A distinct paint color, wallpaper pattern or architectural finish sets a tone and a barrier, and creates a beautiful impression.
Remember that entry spaces need to be thought of as hard-wearing rooms. Wall materials, floor materials and rugs need to be easy-care; think rain, dirt and traffic, then choose materials wisely. And no, you need not sacrifice beauty, color or uniqueness for practicality.
Furnishings for the entry are as important as those selected for your primary living spaces. We find 6 elements are needed in each entry:
A table height surface
A place to sit
A table lamp or sconces
A piece of art
An umbrella holder
Plan to fit these 6 elements, put each item in its most logical space (sized to not encumber circulation), and you’re guaranteed a fantastic start.
Three layers of light are needed for every space.
Overall light is usually dealt with best via recessed lighting, pendants or a chandelier. Make sure the combined wattage is high enough and very evenly spaced.
Task lights are used where you need added light to complete a task. For example, sconces on the sides of a mirror flatter the viewer and lets them better see themselves and art also should be lit properly through wall lights or recessed lights. Closet interiors always get lights, and we usually recommend them at a couple of heights.
Spot lights are used to highlight an area, think of your table lamps as a highlight for a pretty area- you can leave this one light on as a nightlight or to warm up a space on a grey day- it’s there to add character and warmth, and these allow light without having to turn on all else.
Place art to create a destination and highlight a wall space. Play with scale, too. If you have a large entrance, you have many options for multiple pieces of art but aim to make one or 2 pieces, or a series of pieces from one artist, the focal point. All other art pieces play supporting roles. Smaller spaces can use larger art- sometimes this makes the statement that sets the tone for the rest of your home. No matter the scale, chose something you love to see- it’s the first and last glance as you exit and enter, and it should send you a happy signal.
Entryway tabletops work hard, and just a few key accessories will dress things up. A well-chosen bowl for keys, a tray for mail, flowers and an odd personal trinket does the trick. A mix of color and materials does a tremendous amount of work when using fewer pieces.
Flowers are one of the nicest ways to say “welcome”. Buy a vase that is sized appropriately and add fresh flowers when you can- a double or triple bunch of one type of flower works decorating miracles and can be picked up anywhere. In addition, buy a silk flower arrangement or a sculptural object to use when a fresh bouquet is not in use.
Tip: Keep vases colored glass or opaque so that you don’t need to fret over day-old water and unkempt stems- it’s a small sanity saver.
Got it? Great! That means you’re on your way or you’re enjoying a much more organized and beautiful space. I wish you many smoother mornings and a gorgeous welcome at the end of your day. Drop us a line with any questions, comments and success stories. ‘Till next time, enjoy!