Tiny but Mighty: Small Entryway Ideas You Can Squeeze into Any Home

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I don't know about you, but I harbor some serious mudroom envy. I look at photos of large homes with huge, dedicated mudrooms, and I dream how much more organized and happy my life would be if I had a way to tame the clutter at my front door. Oh, those neat rows of coat hooks! The built-in benches with tidy shoe storage below!

My reality is much different, however. I live in a very small Seattle home, and not only is my entryway area small, but it isn't really its own area. The sad truth is that my front door basically opens into my living room, which doesn't give the best welcome. Luckily, I have a small coat closet. But it's just not a lot to work with, folks!

What can I do with a small entryway?

If you're reading this, chances are you are in desperate need of entryway ideas. The good news is that those of us with small or nonexistent entryways have solutions. Through the magic of interior design and home organization, we can incorporate many of the features of larger homes into our small spaces. It just takes some creative thinking and prioritizing.

What should I put in my entryway?

When working with a tiny space, you'll have to get creative with the accessories you incorporate. Not all the functionality of a large mudroom or foyer will be built in, as it might be in a larger home. Luckily, the essentials are easy to add. If your entryway is narrow then go with a more modern style to make the space seem clean and organized. My style inspiration for decorating entryways comes from hours upon hours of online browsing on Houzz and Pinterest searching for ideas. Here are some of my decorating and design ideas.

A bowl to catch keys

This can be an old bowl from the kitchen or a cute thrifted bowl from an antique shop. This will sit nicely on a shelf or side table.

Big baskets or bins to tame the clutter

Help tame clutter. The perfect catch-all for hats, gloves, scarves, mail, and other loose items that you want close at hand but not out in the open. I recommend having two sets: one for summer and one for winter. Just put the off-season baskets in the attic or basement when not in use and swap them out at the change of seasons. Baskets and bins will keep you organized and can be stylish décor.

A mirror

Wall décor isn't always an option. For some entryways, the wall is covered in cabinetry. If you go with the minimal look of a bench and wall hooks, then you'll have space for a wall mirror. Go with a smaller mirror you can hang easily above a small console table. This will give you the opportunity to check your appearance one last time before you leave the house.

A gorgeous rug to make a great first impression

A rug helps define the entry as its own space. A bad first impression can really set the tone for visitors when they see a dirty entryway floor. This is especially necessary if your front door opens directly into your living room. A thick, natural-fiber rug can also help collect dirt and debris from your boots as you walk into the house, keeping the whole place cleaner. Another solution is to install an area of tile at your front door, which is easy to clean and also gives the entry area its own personality. A combination of the two approaches also works great.

Somewhere to sit

There is so much inspiration online for entryway bench ideas. However, if you are lacking square footage you may want to go with a small chair next to a console table. The table will be responsible for holding the key bowl, mail, or other decorative items. You can install a hard top bench for the kids to sit on, or if you live in a warmer climate and don't have to worry about wet jackets, then go with a cushion-topped bench. The bench will give you space to take off that wet jacket and those muddy boots and add style to your entryway. You can even take time to read the mail there.

Plenty of hooks

Place your wall hooks above or to the side of your entryway seating. The only hooks that should be placed above the slim console table are key hooks. Hooks are great for holding jackets, reusable grocery bags, and other items.

Something green

Live plants can lend personality and freshness to your space. Even a few small succulents, which require almost zero care, can help transform the look. It's always best to welcome guests with something fresh.

How do I brighten a small entryway?

Choose a light-color paint

A new coat of paint is among the easiest ways to brighten up a space. If that space is small, a white or very light-color paint will do wonders.

Install a new front door

Replace your solid door with a half-light or full light door. If you have the space, you can install sidelights, which are narrow, vertical windows on each side of the door.

Incorporate a mirror

As mentioned above, a mirror can be a great addition to an entryway. Not only does it add beauty and gives you a place to check your hair before leaving the house, it can really make your entry feel brighter and more spacious.

Where do you put shoes in a small entryway?

Shoes probably lead to the most clutter and can be a most unwelcome sight when piled up by the door. It's time to make an honest assessment of your space and gather ideas. The quantity of shoes you can realistically store by your door varies from house to house.

Here is how I recommend prioritizing shoe storage:

First Priority: Any Shoes That Will Be Removed at the Door

If you have a no-shoes policy in your home (which really makes cleaning much easier), you will need to provide easy storage at your entryway for every member of your household and any guests. Even if you don't have a no-shoes policy, it's good to have shoe storage at the door so you can feel free to kick off your work shoes or running shoes right when you get home. This can quickly add up to a lot of shoes!

Storage solution: A bench with built-in shoe storage beneath it can do wonders for front-door organization.

Second Priority: Wet or Dirty Shoes

During the wet and muddy months (or snowy season if you live in the frozen north), you should have a dedicated spot to store dripping shoes.

Storage solution: If you have a coat closet, a sturdy shoe rack placed inside on a heavy-duty waterproof mat with a lip is a must.

Third Priority: Other Shoes

For most of us with tiny entryways, the above two ideas for shoe storage will probably be all we can fit. However, if you have a more generously sized coat closet, you may be able to make room for a sizeable portion of your family's shoe collection. If you have young kids, it can be especially useful to store their most-used shoes right by the door. It makes the long process of getting ready to leave the house a little more tolerable than if you had to hunt around in their bedrooms for shoes.

My Top Picks for Entryway Furniture and Accessories

Entryway Accessories

  1. Batten Storage Bench and Panel Set by Crate & Barrel
  2. Folsom Entryway Wall Shelf at Pottery Barn
  3. Sutton Gunmetal Mirror with Shelf by Crate & Barrel
  4. Emlyn Basket from Crate & Barrel
  5. Kilim Batik Multicolor Rug from Ruggable
  6. Keating Brass Bowl from CB2
  7. Outline Entryway Cabinet at Crate & Barrel

Get Inspired by These Beautiful Small Entryways

Farmhouse Entry

Faux board and batten lends charm to this modern farmhouse entry.

Coat Storage

This lower-level mud room entryway features plenty of built-in storage for coats and shoes.

Rustic Ranch

Image: Jute

The rustic entryway table contrasts nicely with the crisp black muntins of the entry door.

Transitional Entry

Image: JWH Designs

This small space was designed with dark cabinetry to hide belongings. Stunning!

Tiny Sunroom

This little bench space stays bright with an abundance of natural light.

Cottage Core

Image: Elliot Meyers

White walls and green cabinetry create the perfect contrast.

Wood shelving

Image: JUTE

This entry is the height of practicality. It has wall hooks to hang bags and coats with bench space for the kids to sit down.

Natural Transitions

This tiny and simple mudroom holds space for mail and a plant as well as coat storage.

Statement Lighting

This entryway is lit with both natural lighting and a beautiful pendant above the bench.

Incorporating Pets

This cozy spot for two dogs is located right by the door.

Stepping Storage

Here's a clever solution. This shelving is built on top of the steps, taking great advantage of the space.

Mid Century

This mid-century wardrobe acts as a closet and makes a strong style statement.


This article highlights a hand-picked selection of work by a variety of designers and builders and is meant to showcase their talent. Please drop us a line if you would rather not be featured on this page.

Article Categories: Interior Design, DIY

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