In this post: This detailed look at the evolution of our entry foyer design shows how we updated the space with new floor tile, an entryway table and bench.⇒
I’ve been talking about this for years.
7 years to be exact.
From the day we moved into our house, I knew I wanted to change the entryway floor. It was one of those things I mentioned to hubby before we closed on the sale, along with refacing the kitchen and updating the master bath. I thought we’d do it the first year.
But those other must-do’s had to be paid for and time passed.
Then a few years ago, I thought we were ready. I started to look into it and suddenly came to the realization that the space was large, the material I wanted to use was quite expensive and again, it got put on hold.
Entryway Foyer Design
So most of my entryway decorating revolved around hiding the floor with an ever-rotating selection of rugs and trying to create a grand focal point on the wall opposite the front door. I was going for deflection.
To be fair, the original flooring was not that offensive (see the before pic, above). It was a neutral ceramic tile that was the very definition of beige. It was as beige as beige could be.
But I hated it nonetheless.
Add to that the fact that our entry foyer pretty much opens to every room, not to mention it wraps around the downstairs and extends to the back entry, and it was a tricky space to decorate.
Last year I finally decided enough was enough. The floor’s time had come and the entryway would finally get the attention it deserved.
We had previously changed the walls to a neutral tone (my favorite greige which is Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige). I would work on the floor and then address the styling once it was done.
This turned out to be right course of action because it took so long to find a tiler, that a full year passed before the floor was completed. It’s such a significant part of the space that the finished look influenced how I approached decorating, and I’m really glad I didn’t make decisions a year too early.
*Today’s post is part of our “Evolution of a Room” series with On Sutton Place and StoneGable. Be sure to check out the other two posts linked at the bottom of this one.
What I knew for sure was that I wanted marble tile. You can certainly get the same look with porcelain or other newer materials, but for the front entry, I wanted the real thing. I have porcelain in my master bath and as pretty as it looks, it doesn’t have that same depth and complexity that natural stone has.
I chose a 12″ x 24″ tile for an updated look, going for classic but fresh. The stone is Volakas honed marble, which has a huge color range that spans the gamut from almost completely white to intensely grained. This nearly created an unworkable problem, but my tiler did a brilliant job assorting the variations and isolating the pieces that were entirely white to be used in the powder room and back entry that’s adjacent to this space.
I cannot begin to express what a difference the new floor has made. It’s one of those changes that everyone notices without being sure what is different. Kind of like “did you get a haircut?” when you lost 40 lbs!
With the entryway floor at long last done, I could finally address decorating the space. If there’s one thing every entry should have, no matter how large or small, it’s a table or surface to put things down.
I’ve had this antique French buffet server for years and I decided to keep it in the same place of honor across from the front door. I like the regal quality it has and that it’s the first thing you see when you enter our home.
However, its pairing with the gilt wood mirror made me worried it was getting too fussy, so I chose to update the decorative objects it was styled with. I removed the silver tea set and crystal candlesticks, and instead topped it with rugged wooden pieces and a large distressed urn.
Front Door Decor
I’ve never been happy with the look of the front door either, but the new floor changed that entirely. I struggled to find the right entry mat since we no longer needed a huge rug to cover the floor. I tried several colors from dark to light, as well as various sizes from a tiny door mat to a full sized rug.
After buying a few options, they all went back, and I wound up with a piece I had in an upstairs bath that turned out to be perfect. It’s 4′ x 6′ which is the ideal size and the color I was afraid would be too yellow is actually just right.
I also put back the topiaries that I had removed, thinking they were too uptight, because they look completely different with the new floor and entry mat. I might prefer to get a less tailored style, perhaps olive topiaries instead of the current boxwood style, but for now these will do.
One of the biggest changes is also my favorite. Our entry foyer is an odd shape with a diagonal wall leading from the door to the side hall. I’ve had a large bookcase here since we moved in, but it’s always bothered me having two large pieces of dark wood furniture across from each other. It closed in the space and made it look heavy.
I also believe, if at all possible, that every entryway should have a place to sit, to remove shoes, to drop off packages or just to look welcoming.
So when we updated the living room (which I’ve not yet revealed), I moved the bookcase in there and suddenly had room for an entryway bench. I love the lighter, softer feel it lends to the area and it gives the space a new character.
This could have been a great place to put a grand painting and I’ve been wanting to start collecting art, but at the same time, I’ve been crushing on this set of intaglios for a while, so instead of putting them in the family room, as I had originally planned, they worked great above the bench.
This is now a new favorite corner instead of an awkward room transition.
The entryway leads to a side hall that passes the closets, kitchen and dining room and opens to the butler’s pantry, powder room and eventually the back entry foyer. I painted an antique sewing cabinet that fits neatly into a spare bit of wall space. It’s a great place to display fresh flowers.
Our entry foyer has been one of those spaces that I try to look past while decorating the rest of the house, but I’m finally happy with its new personality. It’s elegant enough to welcome visitors to our home, offers seating and storage, which is all an entryway really needs, and has been updated to fit with the character of the rest of our home.
And now I can stop talking about re-doing the floor once and for all!
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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Be sure to visit Yvonne and Ann’s entry foyers below: