“To impress people favourably, first let them impress you.”
There are some introductions you remember for a lifetime — people who captivate you from the moment you meet. Other introductions are so run-of-the-mill you may struggle to recall where or when you first met. The entrances to our home are akin to an introduction; they introduce your guests to your way of decorating and indeed your way of life. No doubt, you will want to make a lasting impression, not leave your guests with some ho hum memory. Fortunately in decorating, it is relatively easy to create a memorable first impression if you follow a few tried-and-true rules and have the courage to break a few others.
One of the secrets to creating a great first impression is to create a space that guests feel inclined to want to linger in. You want to blend elements to create a captivating and intriguing insight into all your home may offer. The ideal entrance way will be the perfect blend of eye-catching personal items and great storage — without storage it is easy for the entranceway to become a dumping ground for all kinds of clutter. This is to be avoided at all cost, after all, in order to make a memorable first impression we want our guests to delay moving onto the next room long enough for them to admire our good taste and interesting collections. We do not want them to feel they must escape the mess and disorder which can easily take hold.
To help maintain order while adding to the ambience of the entranceway, look for items of furniture which will at once conceal clutter while being intrinsically attractive themselves. Consoles with drawers, bench seats with lift-up storage, hallstands with built-in cupboards, chests of drawers with lovely marble or mirrored surfaces for display are all good choices.
Keeping the entrance clear enough to walk through yet interesting enough that you want to linger can be challenging. Interest can be added to a room by way of colour, texture or ornamentation and this is just as true of the entrance as any other room. You can add interesting texture through floor coverings, mirrors, even wallpaper. You can also choose to experiment with colour combinations you would not be willing to use in rooms we spend a lot of time in. Try striking fresh combinations such as aqua and white, red and yellow, cream and mocha, chartreuse and white. Be adventurous, after all, you won’t be staring at the colour for hours on end as you might be in a dining or living room. You may even decide to base your colour scheme on the collections you want to display. Soft, muted mauves to match a china collection, a rich cream to offset some red flambé Royal Doulton, or a soft wasabi green to coordinate with some Carlton Ware china. Alternatively, you could go completely neutral in order to swap around your collections whenever the mood strikes. Showcasing an amazing grouping of collectables can leave a distinctive mark on your entrance.
If your collections are still in the beginner stages or you are utilising them in other rooms, you can give your room a sense of drama by including unexpected items or some striking pieces of memorabilia. If you don’t own that eye-catching item, leave space for an impressive vase of flowers. It’s really a matter of personal choice but by including some dazzling element, you are sure to invite conversation from visitors.
Having a focal point is another way to make your entryway unforgettable. This can be done through wainscoting, panelling, or with the use of opulent materials such as marble flooring or pressed-tin walls or ceilings. You can also distinguish your entrance from others by using rich wallpaper, the addition of a simply extravagant mirror or with a stunning light fixture. The most important thing is that your entrance stands out from the crowd.
Of course, you cannot solely rely on drama; you will still need to follow some basic rules. Without doubt in an entrance way, perhaps more than in any other room, one must keep in mind the rule of scale. After all, if your entrance is not a huge area it can be easily overwhelmed with large furnishings. If it is a lovely long hallway it can look pitifully empty with items too small for the scale of the room. While most decorators will choose furniture in keeping with the scale of the room, there are other factors which can make an impact. Be careful that rugs, mirrors and artwork are also of the correct scale for your space because small items can easily melt into insignificance in a large room while over-scale items can dominate smaller spaces. After all, you don’t want your entrance way to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Eye-catching inclusions for entrance ways
An opulent Venetian mirror
An over-scale sculpture or bust
Topiary on an antique baker’s rack
Rich colour on the wall and plenty of gilded accents
Symmetrical placement of items
Dreamy pastel paintwork and rosy china
Inspiring fretwork a la classic Queenslander