Formula for a Fabulous Foyer

By Kate Riley February 19, 2014

I love to answer reader emails especially when there’s a takeaway for others. Today’s comes from Kari:  “Hey Kate, we have a new single story house with a blank wall in the entry and I’d like it to be functional and welcoming but really nice looking too. Do you have any ideas on where to start?”

Sure do Kari! The entry is an opportunity to make a first impression so embrace it, but also make sure it works for you. There are a few no fail formulas for styling a fabulous foyer, here are some to consider.

The first is the console table + statement mirror combination. Most console tables are shallow so they will take up less square footage in an entry. They also provide a horizontal surface to place keys and mail and what we all really want: a pretty vignette.

ornate white mirror gray console bhg

better homes & gardens

black console and mirror abby weiss

 abby wolf weiss interiors

table and mirror in entry

better homes & gardens

striped wall sunburst mirror muse interiors

muse interiors

rustic console in entry bhg

better homes & gardens


Don’t be afraid to mix styles or get creative – a python table paired with a Venetian mirror? Hey why not if you love it!

python console and venitian mirror

ann hepfer


A cabinet + mirror console works just as well since it provides a level surface above and storage below. New is fine but also consider versions with character from second hand to flea market or antique finds.

cabinet and mirror bhg

better homes & gardens

pale blue cabinet in entry bhg

better homes & gardens


But back to consoles! (I’m a fan) With an open leg version you can squeeze extra ottomans underneath for storage or extra seating when people visit. And instead of a mirror, how about artwork or favorite photographs in larger scale?  They’re just as lovely.

foyer console and ottomans

twenty one two

mirrored console statement art in foyer

adore magazine

ansley interiors console and art

annsley interiors

console lamp ottoman

glenn gissler design

Short on space? No worries, even the narrowest of entries can benefit from a small table like a demilune.

demilune table plus art in entry

better homes & gardens


A bench is a substitute piece for a console table, what you sacrifice in tabletop space you gain in the convenience of a place to sit and remove shoes or set down groceries.

bench in entry

entry bench and hooks bhg

apartment therapy / better homes & gardens


Finally remember, the foyer is also an opportunity to use wallpaper or stenciling or wainscoting to set the tone or make a statement. Aren’t these divine?

wallpapered entry house beautiful

black wallpaper in entry

house beautiful / at home arkansas

I hope these ideas help Kari and others! Find more inspirational images of foyers in this Entries & Staircases collection on Pinterest and don’t miss the Better Homes & Gardens gallery dedicated entirely to entries.

Also, this blog has been nominated in the annual Homies contest for Best Design & Inspiration blog, if you’re so inclined you can vote here !



  1. Love these images! This piece came at the perfect time, my fiancé and I are going to paint our foyer this weekend! Now I need to hunt for a console table…

  2. How would you style a small entry way that doesn’t allow for a console table? For example when you walk into my house I only have about a foot and a half of wall space on each side because the entryways to my dining room & living room are on each side & directly in front of the door are stairs to go to the second floor?

    • Hi Sara, in narrow entries like yours I think it’s better to skip a piece of furniture and instead look to wall solutions like floating shelves (suggested above) or hooks along the wall (with our without a wall treatment like beadboard or board & batten) as a place to hang coats, hats, purses, etc.

  3. Love all this inspiration! I can’t decide whether or not to put a console table in our foyer or try to incorporate some type of storage bench to hold our shoes. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

  4. I don’t have a legit entryway, but you just totally made me think of a way to make my front room better! Wainscotting. So easy to do, and I think it would make the room come together a bit more. My ceiling are 12 foot, so it would also help take up some space on a wall. Thank you!

  5. We’ve lived in our house for a little over a year now and I struggled for so long with what to do with it! I needed a solution for setting keys, mail, etc but that was extremely slim because we have baseboard heat that adds an extra 5 inches that any furniture placed there would be in front of. Finally I came up with the perfect solution! I’m building a console “floating shelf” so there are no legs to worry about not being flush up against the wall! It’s functional and beautiful :)

    • Great idea Jordan, I love the idea of a floating shelf or even one with fancy corbels too!

  6. Nice! Another option is a bookcase that’s wide and low — anyway, I’m about to give this a try in my own foyer in place of a bench. It has a flat top that will serve as a tabletop and shelves for baskets and other storage, of course. BTW, I would love to see you make this “advice to readers” a regular feature on your blog! It’s awesome.

    • Agreed Nancy, a low bookcase works great, and perfect if there’s room for storage underneath! I’ll try to do more of these types of posts – thanks for the reminder!

  7. I have a tiny foyer and have been thinking how to make it more interesting. Been leaning towards wallpaper. I’ve seen the wallpaper in the last picture elsewhere and love it! A beautifully framed oil painting can go a long way as well.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Hi there! I know that you have a lot of wainscoting in your house like the example foyer above. My finace and I love the look of it! We would love to do our half bath on the main level similar to your bathroom post:

    Currently our trim is a light oak as well as the vanity (with a white top and sink). We would love to do the trim white but we feel like we would need to do it throughout the entire house (which we would love to do but it is just too big of a project before the wedding). Would it look unfinished to do the white beadboard with oak trim and vanity?

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate your style and expertise!

    • Helen, it would be fine to mix the two, wood and white always work together, you can always just paint the trim inside the bathroom and save the other oak trim around the house for a later time!

  9. Love these inspiration photos! My husband and I decided to remove our television from the living room, which will make space for a more formal entryway. I cannot wait for this weekend as my mind in now ripe with ideas. Great timing! Thanks!

  10. Inspirational post Kate. I currently have art above my console table in the foyer and I am hoping to switch it out with a mirror just for a change. I really want a Hollywood regency style bamboo mirror but haven’t found one at the right price!

  11. So… our foyer has been in constant transition since our move-in 2.5 years ago. It is such a difficult spot to create a cozy, welcoming, stylish set-up. It is essentially a narrow hallway with 4 doors that leads to the main room in our house. I love all these options that you have shown and I always “wished” for a more traditional foyer look. Through all our transitions, I think we have pulled together a perfect eclectic look that is still functional but is stylish too! We have a small cabinet that serves as the hiding place for kiddo’s shoes. It was a perfect find!

    Here’s the link to our house tour, but it has the latest look of our foyer:

    And CONGRATS on the nominations… going to place my vote now!

  12. Ah, to have a foyer. We live in what’s called a raised ranch–front door opens onto a landing just large enough to select a half flight of stairs to the upper or lower level. It’s airier than most because of the floating stairs, but no room for anything but a small entry mat and seasonal boot tray. The heavily used back door–same story, with entrance through sliders off a back porch directly into the kitchen. If there’s another house in my future, I’ll remember these inspiring vignettes.

  13. My entry is in the living room/dining area in my tiny house. I found a dresser that’s shallow but wide. I use it to store table cloths, candles and extra dishes. When we have parties I set it up as a bar or use it as a buffet. Works great and gives me the extra counter space I need. Love the pictures in this post. I can really use some of these styling ideas, thanks.

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