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How to Make Your Small Entryway Look So Much Bigger

An entryway with a midcentury modern console table, a round mirror, and a small basket

Calimia Home

Anyone who’s lived in a small space knows that sometimes, homes aren’t equipped with official entryways. In some apartments, the door opens into the kitchen or living room, and those looking to carve out an area to stash keys and check their reflection before heading out the door are forced to get a little creative.

Scaling back is better than skimping on an entryway setup altogether. After all, as designer Alex Nino notes, “Even if you have a tiny entryway in a rental apartment, don't pass up the opportunity to make a first impression of your space. Even a few small pieces can go a long way in creating an inviting entryway feel.” 

So, what is a small space dweller to do to make the most of minimal square footage by the front door? We asked designers for their tips.

Meet the Expert

01 of 04

Create an Optical Illusion

Entryway with woven baskets and black table.

Design: Rebecca Rollins; Photo: Shannan Leigh Photography

Designer Rebecca Rollins urges those with small entryways to paint the surrounding walls in a white hue. “Then, choose a longer yet more narrow entry table that works with the size of the space and a little bit larger scale artwork with lots and lots of texture to place above the console,” she says. “This will give the illusion your space is larger than it actually is.”

Baskets work wonderfully, and textured abstract art happens to be having a major moment these days, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a piece that matches your specific style and budget—or you could always opt to do a DIY.

02 of 04

Incorporate a Small Rug

white and wood entryway, wood bench, hat and decorative hanger on wall, white fur rug on ground

JC Designs

Designer Patrice Stephens advises lacing a petite area rug by the front door. “This will help define the space as an entryway,” she says. Even if you only have room for the rug and some decorative hooks, these additions are better than nothing.

03 of 04

Hang a Mirror

An entryway with a midcentury modern console table, a round mirror, and a small basket

Calimia Home

“Mirrors are critical to designing a small entry,” designer Rasheeda Gray says. And they’re a win-win: “A mirror will give the appearance of a larger space as well as provide the function to take a look as you head out of the door,” Gray adds. 

If you have the space, think about how you can best stash your stuff—clutter is even more of a no-no in a small space. “I also recommend closed storage like a hall tree cabinet to neatly store everyday essentials like coats, bookbags, and more,” Gray says.

No room for this type of piece? “A wall-mounted coat rack with a shelf is also a great dual-purpose piece for a small entry,” designer Kimberlee Gorsline says.

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Use a Bench in Lieu of a Table

Entryway space with two mirrors and small bench.

Design: Marika Meyer; Photo: Angie Seckinger

“In homes that do not have a traditional entry hall, it is important to have a space that helps transition guests from the exterior to the interior,” designer Marika Meyer explains.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to force furniture into a space if it simply won't fit. Rather, “this can be as small as a petite bench with a mirror over it or a wall-mounted demilune that provides a ledge to place keys when you come home,” Meyer shares.