I like to think of the foyer as the calling card of your house. For guests it is the preview of the fabulous design dazzle that awaits them past a warm welcome. The foyer is a great place to add those “wow” details that will make a lasting impression. I always prefer

The Schumacher Imperial trellis makes a large space feel cozy.

to enter my house through the foyer, as opposed the mud-room…no point in saving all that glam for the fed ex delivery guy.

This is a foyer I designed for family with two young children who wanted a dose of fresh, youthful charm to balance the classically traditional architecture and charm of their old south home. While this space sees a lot of traffic, it is also a room that doesn’t have to stand up to a lot of heavy living, so I could spend the design dollars without too much trepidation. Here is how I did this one….

I put the punch on the walls in here. The kelly green trellis is a bright welcome that envelops you as you walk in the door. Notice it doesn’t go to the baseboards, which would put it into dangerous territory. The wainscoting paneling is indispensable insurance against kicking feet or dragging fingers. I tucked the kelly green grass cloth safely on the ceiling. I love the texture of grasscloth but it can be a delicate finish prone to nicks and tugs, so stash it safely above.

With so much exuberance on the walls I wanted an understated runner that would blend in with the hardwoods. This runner is a soft, woven sisal. It is actually my miracle rug, impervious to most any stains, so it is perfect for this household highway. If you shy away from too much pattern on the walls, make your stairs speak up with a bold geometric or pop of color. Stay away from too light a hue…it will see a lot of foot traffic, and possibly a renegade soccer cleat or two. I often have clients concerned about covering up beautiful hardwood floors but I promise, floor coverings, especially stairway runners, are key to warming up any space and accent a beautifully dark stained wood.

With all that rich wood from the stairs to the antiques, I wanted to add that element of softness and warmth that only a good piece of upholstery can bring. This tufted settee is one I designed to fit in this spot where inches were an economy. I contrasted the green woven with a kelly green velvet on the trim and the buttons. A savvy chic detail that in no way makes the piece more delicate but makes it infinitely more special. There are few options to add upholstered softness in most foyers, but even in the snuggest of entries I add a bench or even a chair to perch on while tightening up goulashes or just sitting pretty.

There is living to be done in the Foyer! With a wide open floor it is a great space to set up The Polar Express or hot wheels race track down the stairs – we have a lot of wheeled toys with two young boys in our house. But my daughter usually steals the show when she uses the staircase for her dramatic on stage entry during her theatrical performances. Even if your brood is out of the make believe phase the foyer can be a welcome escape spot. I had a client who wanted an inviting reading nook, so we added a window seat in the upstairs hallways with lots of cozy pillows to snuggle up on! If you have the space the foyer is a great spot for a cocktail party bar. Now that is a warm welcome! I always ask client to give each room in their house, even the foyer, a purpose so they will get to soak in all the design dazzle we create!

If you sprinkle some savvy chic design in your entry and you will not only add more welcome to your home but also more square footage where you can spread out your life and live glamorously.


The Phillip Jeffries grasscloth on the ceiling was key to bringing it all together.

Loads of fun to be had in the foyer!

This is another foyer I did for two little train enthusiast, mine!