Whether you’re looking for your first interior design project to tackle or aiming for a relatively small project with a big impact, redoing your entryway can add a pop of personality to your home. Artist Faye Guanipa shares how she made over two different entryways in one house to each be functional, beautiful spaces that served her family’s needs. Read on to find out how she did out and learn some interior design tricks along the way!
A Tale of Two Entryways
Faye: For the past two years, our new old home in the woods has been a whirlwind of redecorating and transformation. However, despite all our work, we still hadn’t tackled our two entryways. Both our front entryway and our side entry get utilized equally as much, so it was important for us to whip those two spaces into shape.
Each entryway presented a unique challenge. Our front entryway had been an eye sore for all of us since we moved in. It lacked character and charm, and instead looked dull and uninteresting. In contrast, our side entry, which leads into the newly renovated kitchen, has been a constant clutter of shoes, backpacks and loose items on a regular basis. As we have three young girls who come through this area constantly, the struggle to keep it neat was driving me crazy.
As someone who wants to walk into my home feeling refreshed and delighted and wants others to feel that way too it was time to tackle these projects. Throughout this post, I’ll be sharing things we learned along the way.
Why Style Your Entryway?
From a design perspective, entryways are both a place of first impressions to guests and an immediate mood booster when you walk inside after a long day! On the practical side, they’re also great spaces to keep your going-out essentials stored, organized and ready for you as you walk out the door—a home for your shoes, coats, keys, etc.
From a creative point of view, entryways tend to be relatively small spaces and thus less intimidating than a larger room. With redoing small rooms, I feel like I can go bold, take more risks and have fun as they’re less of a commitment and easier to change up if you need to. These aspects make styling an entryway a great first interior design project and highly satisfying as there are lots of easy ways to add visual impact.
Questions to Ask Before Re-designing your space:
• The entryway can act as a small snapshot of your personal style, what does that look like?
• If you haven’t already defined an intention for the space, what purpose can it serve for you and your household? Do you need a table or shelf, a place to put your keys, purse, etc?
• How much storage do you need? What do you need to store in the entryway? How much space do you have to store your shoes, coats, etc.?
• What are some creative ways to utilize the space you have?
• What kind of energy are you going for in your space? Some people prefer a calm, more neutral space for their entryway—what colors and accents promote that look and feel? If you prefer color, can you include wallpaper or can you play with colorblocking on the trim, walls, and door(s)?
• Where can you add some fun? Don’t forget adding character with a fun light fixture and hardware for the door, even down to the switch plates!
• Where can you add texture and depth to the space? With a rug, curtains, pattern in a wallpaper, wall art, a unique floor design? I like to look at all angles of the space and see how they can contribute to the overall design through either color, pattern or texture.
Those are some basic questions, the questions you need to ask to redo your space may be different. For our entryways, here’s what we asked ourselves before starting:
How do these spaces flow into other spaces of the house? Because the front entryway acts as a central space where other rooms collide, we needed to keep consistency and flow in mind regarding color scheme and patterns. As we design each room, I’m thinking constantly about whether it feels cohesive from room to room, while also allowing each room to tell its own story.
What’s our budget? It’s so easy for me to let these “little” glow-up projects get out of hand, but a whole lot easier to tackle once we think about how much money we wanted to spend. We decided to do all of the work ourselves and splurge on a couple of details that brought the rooms together.
What’s the goal for each project? For our front entryway, the hallway tends to be a dark spot in the house, partially due to location, but also because we’d love to get a new front door with more windows. Since a new door is not in our immediate future, we visually made the space brighter by opting for brighter, happy colors in the hallway. For the side entryway, our focus was on how to maximize a tiny space that’s actually a central hub for the five of us. We needed to make sure we had 1) space for jackets and backpacks that wasn’t cluttered looking and 2) a solution for shoes that didn’t take up the entire room.
Finding Your Colors + Style
When approaching a new room design, the starting point for me is always color. Since these spaces are for personal use, I thought about what styles I’m drawn to that may work for both entryways. I’ve always been inspired by “British Maximalist” homes, which so often showcase entryways with a fearless rush of color and pattern, so this is where I drew a lot of my inspiration.
To find inspiration for your home, check out other people’s homes
Exploring what others have done can help you see what types of things bring you the feeling you want that space to invoke. To find inspiration myself, I love Pinterest. When I get inspired for a room it’s not just by other rooms—artwork, pottery and textiles can be just the thing to spark an idea for a room design. I clip images from online sources and save them in files to make mood boards for myself, starting with images that give me that initial spark. From there, I fine tune the board to be more specific to types of furniture, accessories and colors that all stem from that spark.
To create a bold space, add more
By this, I mean add lots of bold pattern and color, and pattern on pattern! And lots of layering. A lot of British maximalist homes aren’t afraid of wild wallpapers and painting over wood trims or floors. However, they also seem to blend that wildness with old architecture and just the right touch of antique finishing and details. It’s a delightfully fearless union of the old and the new.
To bring cohesion to your entryway, look around
What colors do you use (or want to use and include) around your home? Using repeating colors in different places in different rooms can help bring things together. Adding color to your spaces is great because you can use hues from the same family or colors that complement one another from room to room but do so in different aspects of each room, not just the walls but in the furniture, the accents, the artwork, etc.
To make your decor truly yours, learn to trust your gut.
Over time I’ve grown more comfortable purchasing things I truly love and being confident they will find their place in my home and that it will all work out. This part takes time and experience and I still haven’t quite gotten it 100% yet but it is helpful. Trusting yourself with your decor can feel like a big step, but remember it’s your home, so have fun with it and don’t underestimate the gut feelings you have when you are in the space.
Paring Down Spoonflower Designs
I enjoy a healthy mix of bold and happy with a splash of vintage, old-school flavor. I knew I wanted wallpaper in both the front and side entryways. Spoonflower has such a unique range of designs and I spent countless hours combing through my favorites to find just the right ones.
Start by collecting with what you’re drawn to. As an illustrator, I’ve always been drawn to color. I started by collecting my favorite wallpaper and fabric designs in a collection on Spoonflower without thinking about anything except what I was immediately drawn to.
Narrow down your collection. From there, I narrowed down my favorites starting with the wallpaper because that would be where your eye would go first.
Live with your samples. It was a process of elimination from there, looking over samples, placing them next to each other, taping them on the wall in the space, and living with it for a few days.
Once you have winning designs, keep a swatch on hand to help match accessories. I also made sure to have the main wallpaper with me whenever I was shopping around for accessories so I could look at the colors within it and get a feel for how they would look together. The room’s other elements came together once I knew my wall colors, wallpaper and fabric choices.
Faye’s Design Choices
Front Hallway: Wallpaper: The floral wallpaper design I chose for the front hallway (Sweet Old Days by smokeinthewoods in Prepasted Removable Smooth Wallpaper) has such a happy palette—it gave me a vintage vibe that I totally loved. We had decided to only wallpaper the top half of the walls and do board and batten on the bottom half. The wallpaper design’s colors were my guide for the rest of the paint colors in the room.
Board and Batten: Board and batten is another way to 1) add texture and introduce another color and 2) save money on wallpaper! It also can be a nice spot to hang hooks for coats or use as a ledge for framed art or photographs.
Side room: For the side room, I wanted something bold and fun but simpler because I knew we’d have other things in there that would compete with the space visually. I always love a good stripe, and chose Green and Mint Stripe 3″ by thehousethatlarsbuilt, also in Prepasted Removable Smooth. The colors were right up my alley and are a great complement to the adjacent kitchen.
Identifying Your Splurge Items
Having a few showstopping items can quickly create a lot of impact and personality. However, for those spaces—and before you make those purchases—you’ll need to take your individual lifestyle in mind. Asking some related questions can ensure you’re creating a space that works for its intended purpose, questions like who uses this space? How do I intend it to be used? How often is it used? With what items do I want to make a big statement?
For us, we have kids, so anything within their reach needs to be durable and/or not expensive, i.e, replaceable, because… kids. Therefore, for the big-ticket item in our spaces, wallpaper was definitely number one—it’s such a statement and so worth the investment. Number two on my splurge list was lighting. I am obsessed with Schoolhouse’s lighting; they’re modern/vintage take on design and the color of the lamp in the front entryway worked out so perfectly!
Another addition you might think about here are floor coverings. Rugs can be expensive, especially floor runners, but they are worth it. The extra bit of texture and pattern they provide along with a dash of hardy practicality, since entryways tend to be high-traffic spots, can give your space personality as well as protection.
Accessorizing Your Space
My tip top for adding (and finding!) accessories that are in keeping with the rest of the decor is patience! A room rushed usually does not stand the test of time. In my experience, rushed purchases and design choices aren’t usually good ones.
Also, I love to add flavor to my home with a good mix of old and new, which forces me to take my time because you won’t find everything all in one go. This can be a great way to design a room because you’re living longer with the space while you’re taking to time find and shop for those special finishing touches. As you go, you’re getting more comfortable with the room and uncovering exactly what it needs from both a design and a practical living perspective.
And again, when accessorizing a space I go with what I really love. The more comfortable I get with my own design sense and style, the more I honestly answer the question “do I really love this?” when I’m out and about. It helps me put a lot of things down that I know I would regret later.
How Faye’s Spaces Came Together
Adding the extra “layers” to a space is always my favorite part; the accessories always bring the design to the finish line and are so much fun to find and incorporate. In my own accessorizing, we used two Spoonflower products, fabric for upholstering a chair and a wall hanging.
Re-upholstering a Chair to Create a True Show Piece
A while back we purchased an old theater chair and I’ve been waiting for just the right spot for it. I decided to add it to the front entryway because I wanted this seat to have a place of honor—it’s my little show piece! It also brings together the colors I used in the front hallway and adds to my mix of old and new items.
The seat’s original red velvet was fairly worn, but I found a replacement on Spoonflower once we decided to give the chair its honored spot in the front hallway. I chose Checkerboard Vintage Pink by camilaprints in Celosia VelvetTM to reupholster the chair and its matching pillow to bring in a touch of modern to the vintage-y wallpaper and love the combination of the two. Being from a creative family, I brought in my dad, who works in leather refurbishing, to help with the re-upholstery.
Adding Personality with a Wall Hanging
Organizational tools + Quick Pops of Color
After the big things have gone in, it’s time to add items that help meet the original intention you set for the space. In our case, this meant adding items that reflected our own sense of style and also created opportunities for organization.
My absolute favorite part of the hallway is the striped stairs. It just so happens to be the same wallpaper we used in the side/mud room. We had some to spare and it was just what we needed to complete the total look—as a bonus, it cohesively tied those two spaces together! The Anthropologie hand hooks and green mirror from Urban Outfitters also added that bit of modern/weird I wanted. I couldn’t pass them up, as they fit so well in the space!
In our side entrance, we found a great alternative to the messy shoe shelves and fun hooks to keep everyone’s things stylishly organized. Our floor was a quick fix with some peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles and an Anthropologie rug.
The End Result
Now that we’ve redone them, both these entryways bring me so much joy when I walk in the house! I’m happy to have two new rooms that are not only decorated but also much more functional and efficient since we were forced to organize and purge along the way. Getting clarity on the purpose and style we wanted each space to have, creating related mood boards and having some patience finding our accessories really helped them truly come together.
With each newly decorated room, my intention is to create a warm and welcoming home that has pattern and color, heaps of personality and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think these two newly transformed entryways convey just that.