Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Grand Entrance

It’s Personal Design, Photographs by Beth Singer

As the saying goes, first impressions are lasting impressions. So what does it take to create a grand entrance? And can it ever be over-the-top? We asked four leading designers to share a little design advice on how to best welcome your guests into your home and beyond.

Rita O’Brien Interiors, Photograph by Beth Singer

Photograph by Beth Singer


“This foyer is long and narrow and flows into the family room and kitchen areas. The previous design used two separate rugs which divided the space. We decided to replace them with one large rug that would make a statement alongside the black, white, and brown subtle interior. A fun and geometrically appropriate table was chosen to allow for colorful accessories and is easy to change for the holidays.” – Rita O’Brien, Rita O’Brien Interiors

The key to a grand entrance is NOT to make it so grand! Keep things subtle, but add a splash of personality with a rug, sconces, or art.

It’s Personal Design, Photographs by Beth Singer

Photographs by Beth Singer


In the picture to the left, we wanted the design to be simple and elegant—but very dramatic—so we used the custom door, chandelier, and floating staircase to make a powerful statement that would carry over to the rest of the home. With the foyer to the right, the staircase and chandelier were existing. We wanted to add a little more drama without cluttering the walls with art, so we used wood paneling on the stair wall and on the curved entry that leads to the living room. This gave us the understated elegance we were looking for.” – Ann-Marie Anton, It’s Personal Design

The entry to your home is the first thing everyone experiences when they walk in. It should set the tone for what is to come in the rest of your house. I personally prefer an uncluttered entry that is refined, but dramatic, and leaves guests excited to see more.

 Jones-Keena & Co., Photograph by Beth Singer

Photograph by Beth Singer


Our aim for this classic Tudor mansion was to create an atmosphere of uncomplicated elegance without being overly formal. We wanted the atmosphere to feel accessible, rather than imposing. The entry hall was accentuated with bright, silvery-white venetian plaster which makes the space luminous yet understated. We utilized some existing pieces including a gold mirror and metallic-accented hide, then layered in a practical wool rug with colors that tie-in with the palette of the original oil painting above the opera bench.” – Whitney Elkins, Jones-Keena & Co.

Your foyer is an opportunity to treat the space as a way to introduce yourself and how you live. I like to feature something impactful and bold to make a statement right off the bat, like a beautiful piece of art or unique furniture. I recommend creating a through-line repeating your favorite colors, textures, or artwork to create a rhythm as you journey deeper into the design of the home.

Is an entrance ever over-the-top?

“Yes, I think that it’s possible for a foyer to be over-the-top, but sometimes that’s the intention. Some of the most striking designs are totally off-the-wall, but if that reflects your personality and how you like to live, I say go for it! I’d prefer to see an unexpected item or wallcovering create a narrative that’s shaped around the things you love, rather than to visit a traditionally appointed entrance hall that’s stately but comes across cold and impersonal. Inserting a little levity in your foyer design goes a long way when you want to encourage others to feel comfortable in your home.” – Whitney Elkins, Jones-Keena & Co.


Room Service Interior Design, Photograph by Gene Meadows

Photograph by Gene Meadows


“When you’re looking to make a foyer feel grand, a dramatic chandelier is a powerful statement. We chose this one for its cluster of cascading crystal spheres that emulate rainfall showering down from the center of the space. It’s essential to hang the chandelier at a height and diameter that's scaled appropriately with the height of the ceiling. In addition, it’s important that a foyer isn’t disjointed stylistically from what's visible ahead – like a dining room, it can take on some formality.” – Terry Ellis, Room Service Interior Design

I like to use accessories with unexpected bold colors such as a chair, rug, or artwork, as well as fresh flowers on a foyer table to greet guests when they first arrive. Foyer tables are best when they are taller than an end table; for example, a round table at 30 to 32-inches high is very nice.”