• "Instead of a cheap white storm door, get a classy storm door, perhaps with a bronze finish and nice handle," he suggested.

• Details around the entryway are what make it look inviting: paint color, plants on the stoop, a pergola or overhang.

• "The entryway is a filter, an intermediary space," he said. Ideally, the design allows for sheltered transactions with people (the pizza delivery guy, for example) without them being quite inside your home. If you don't have a double front door or an enclosed porch, you can set this arms-length tone with slightly cooler colors, rather than warm, inviting colors.

• If there are no walls or doors to define the entry space, do it with a section of flooring, such as tile or stones. "People coming in will instinctively without any instruction stand right there until invited forward."

• If you do have walls shielding surrounding the entryway, small, high windows into the next room can keep the space from feeling confining without revealing the interior of the house. "Windows are funny things," he said. "They give the suggestion of more space." Niches cut into the walls, perhaps lit with LED lights to display objects of art, are another inexpensive way to make the space feel larger.


• The outside of the entry, as you approach the house, can be made inviting with landscaping, lighting, materials, an overhang that offers protection from the weather. "You can pull out different materials just for the entry," he said.

• Inside, "if you have a wall, use art as a focus." In most cases, its color scheme should be related to that of the materials used in the entry, but "sometimes it's OK, in a modern setting, to use an art piece that contrasts."

• The flooring will get a lot of wear from boots, water, sand. So use a durable material, such as ceramic tile, polished concrete or stone. "I like to choose material to reflect what's on the ceiling," he said. "It's a way to delineate the space on entry."


• "Entryways are spaces people don't spend a lot of time in, so feel free to make it a fun place, to experiment," she said. Try a bold color, a large-pattern wallpaper. Large patterns that are flowing will expand the space visually.

• Coordinate the entry tone with that of the rest of the home. "If your home is fun, use a bright, popping color. If it's a calm, serene place, this is a great place to set that tone."

• Provide accommodations for shoe removal, and a mirror so people can see how they look as they go in or out.

• Create a space to hold keys, handbag, sunglasses and other small items. If you have a table, it could be pretty, handmade clay bowl, or a lidded box: "Something you like to look at all the time." If there's no place for a table, try a hook on the wall.


• "Find a focal point that sort of sets the mood for the rest of the house," he suggests. A piece of art, a freestanding piece of furniture, a folding screen, a bookcase, large floor-standing piece of sculpture.

• "I love beautiful wallpaper," he said. Foyers tend to have more wall space than floor space, and wall coverings are an economical way to upgrade the look. Recent trends call for large-scale, geometric patterns.

• Light fixtures are "another cost-effective way of upgrading a look, adding personality."

• Most foyer stair railings are humdrum. "Painted or gilded spindles are more glamorous looking," he said. "The ideal thing is to take the oak hand railing out altogether and put in a decorative iron railing." An iron fabricator can combine ready-made components for a custom look.