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A well-designed entranceway in a house always leaves a lasting impression.

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Whether you call it a foyer, entranceway, hallway or vestibule, this space is where life’s joyful entrances and fond “see you laters” happen, so it seems worthy of a little decorating drama. Here are some ways to create a great first – and lasting – impression.

I think any room is most welcoming when it functions smoothly, so let’s start by ticking off the boxes on the practical side of the checklist. It’s necessary to have a chair or bench for putting on and pulling off shoes, and a tray or woven bowl to corral all the stuff that tends to collect at an entry, such as keys, sunglasses, loose change and mail. In order to have a tray, you need a table underneath it. I recommend a long console with drawers or closed storage in a narrow space, and a one-drawer desk or demi-lune table in a small foyer.

Of course, you’ll need a good-looking mirror to ensure you’re looking good before heading out. A round mirror is a nice touch in a modern home and a more ornate one, even if it’s a bit kitsch, can be fun for a traditional entry. Finish it all off with a mat or runner to catch slush or dirt from shoes. Dash & Albert, available online or at retailers across Canada, has a stylish selection of indoor-outdoor runners that are both durable and washable.

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With those must-haves in place, let’s turn our focus to flair. One easy way to enliven an entry is to add personality with colour. Pick the shade of your choice, say, electric blue, and reinforce it in three places. You could paint the inside of your front door, introduce the same blue in a rug or upholstered chair, and select one small item as the cherry on top, like a blue-and-white ceramic vase for flowers.

Next, add two candle sconces – one on either side of the mirror – to complete the vignette and introduce some sparkle. If stairs are visible from the front door, dress them up by painting the treads and handrail black. Any art you’ve been waiting to hang? I love the look of a gallery that starts at the base of the stairs and goes up to the landing – a smart trick for drawing the eye up and making a cramped space seem more expansive.

Depending on your budget, you could splurge and update the floor. Trendy patterned tiles would certainly say, “Come on in,” while traditional slate installed in a herringbone or chevron pattern offers longevity. Believe it or not, linoleum squares in a grey-and-white checkerboard pattern are chic on the cheap, and make for a perfect weekend DIY.

Need some advice about interior design and decor? Send your questions to personaldesigner@globeandmail.com.

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