Will Rogers once said, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." Entryways, both outside and inside, are our guests' first impression to our home. And, oftentimes, our exterior entrances are the only impression our neighbors have of us. Which is why it's good to periodically turn a critical eye to them and get down to some spiffing up.
Starting on the Outside:
Let's first look for clutter.
- Have any lawn ornaments that don't really suit your style? (We live by the edict "Just say 'no' to gnomes.")
- How about kids' toys? (Let me say to all of you that do from all your neighbors that don't: We do not want to see the stuff scattered all over your lawn. Occasionally, fine, but perpetually, no.)
- And speaking of the lawn, how's that looking? Weedy? Bare? If so, it's time to attend to it. How about he bushes? Are they hiding the front door? If so, it's time to trim them.
- Hoses are handy, but they're also goofy, especially when they're strewn over your sidewalk or hanging off your house wound on a rusty reel. Tidy the hose up and consider an enclosed or decorative reel or hose pot.
Now let's assess cleanliness.
- Got a 'welcome' mat? Great! Now how clean is it? (I have to be particularly diligent about our exterior mats at this time of year when cottonwood tree fluff comes down like a March snow flurry.) Shaking the mats helps, but a hose, pressure washer or even a vacuum cleaner is the way to really get them clean.
- Got a window in your front door? Great! How clean is it?
- Got exterior lighting? Great! Are the lightbulbs working properly? Also, how clean is the fixture? Spiders and other wee beasties have a way of setting up housekeeping in and on such things.
Now let's consider decor.
- Does your entry have a focal point? If not, add color. Painting a front door an eye-popping color is a great way to go, but if you're a little squeamish about committing to such a thing, it's easy to add color with flowers and decorative accessories. Like a new colorful exterior rug.
- If you don't have exterior lighting, consider adding a lantern or two to highlight the front door. To avoid wiring, used flameless candles with a timer or solar lanterns.
- Soften the transition from outside to inside by adding a chair or a bench, if room allows. Also, flowers and a colorful rug help soften the space too.
Now let's go inside:
First we're going to look for--you guessed it--clutter.
- Are they're shoes everywhere? If so, get rid of them. Back doors are for shoes (maybe), not front entryways. However, if you can't/won't give up the shoe pile, then find a way to tame it and, most importantly, HIDE IT. Consider a dedicated holder like the IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet pictured here:
- How about briefcases and book bags? Yeah, the front entry is no place for those things either. In our house, the rule is computer bags can stay by the door during the week, but as of Friday night they're tucked away until Monday morning.
- How's the rug look? Clean I hope.
- The windows? When you're cleaning the outside remember to clean the inside too. Same goes for the threshold. Ours gets inundated with boxelder bug carcasses this time of year. Yuck.
- Curtains or a blind on said window? How clean are they? (These are another hotspot for spiderwebs and major dust accumulation.) Wash and/or vacuum them.
- Interior light? They're really easy to overlook during cleaning time. Chances are it's dirty.
The fun part: decor!
- Got a front closet for coats? Great! But if you don't, consider installing a shelf with hooks or even an interesting 'coat tree.'
- Got a place for people to sit to take off/put on outdoor gear? Good for older folks who might have balance issues or kids that need help with their laces.
- Mirrors! Although not very 'feng shui' in an entry, they're a great way to open up a tight space and for guests to check their hair etc. when then come or go.
- Remember that 'softening' we talked about earlier? Extend the same notion into the interior entry as well. A bench or even a chair helps with this too, as does a rug and accessories.
- And speaking of rugs, consider how you can use one to guide your visitors. Designers use architecture to mark routes for foot traffic, but if you don't have a pre-planned architectural route, you can use a rug to direct people. For instance, you might want to buy a longer rug to usher people into the interior of your house. Otherwise, they have a tendency to jamb up by the door.