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All Your Questions About Foyers, Answered

Entryway with a hanging light fixture

Erin Williamson Design

The first thing your guests see as they enter your home is probably not your well-designed kitchen or those armchairs you spent a fortune on. Instead, your guests are likely judging your foyer or your entryway as they step inside. If your home has a foyer, you may be inclined to ignore it and put your focus on other, more heavily trafficked rooms—but getting this space right is essential to nailing down the flow and overall feel of your home.

Here's everything you need to know about a foyer and how to design it.

What Is a Foyer?

Entryway with a dresser as a console
Charbonneau Interiors

Your foyer is the room you enter when you first walk in the main doors of your home. A foyer is traditionally used for receiving guests, welcoming them inside, and taking their coats. Your guests can usually catch a glimpse of the rest of your home from a foyer, but it's secluded enough to be considered a room of its own.

What is a Foyer?

A foyer is the first room you enter when walking through a front door, usually a smaller space or hallway. Traditionally, foyers are used to greet guests and welcome them into your home.

A foyer often has a coat closet or adequate space to store all of your guests' belongings. It also tends to have a few high-end finishes, like nice tile floors or a hanging chandelier. A true foyer will feel somewhat elegant and purposeful.

How Is It Different Than an Entryway?

Foyer with a light overhead
Calimia Home

The term foyer is often used interchangeably with the word entryway, so you might be wondering if they mean the same thing. The answer is: kind of. Basically, an entryway is often much less formal or grand than a foyer. It's typically more relaxed than a foyer and often doesn't feel like a separate space, but rather an area that flows into the nearest room of your house.

That said, the purpose of each is basically the same—they are both spaces used to greet guests and provide a landing before you or your guests enter the home.

The Must-Have Elements in a Foyer

Bench in a foyer with a mirror above it
Brophy Interiors

When it comes to decorating a foyer, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want to create a space that feels purposeful and specific. If your home has a space large enough to be considered a foyer, the last thing you want to do is to let it feel empty or cavernous. Remember, this is the first room your guests will see as they enter your home.

First, and most importantly, you want to ensure you have a place to hang coats. If you have a mudroom in your house, this area of your foyer does not need to be extensive. Instead, a small coat closet or a few hooks suffices for your guests.

Additionally, consider what you do as soon as you enter your foyer. You likely drop your bag, mail, and keys on the closest surface. Adding a console table to your foyer will give you a landing for all of your must-haves when you enter the home.

From a practical standpoint, another must-have (if you have the space) is a bench. A bench is not only decorative, but it gives you and your guests a place to sit while you remove muddy boots or gym shoes.

How to Decorate a Foyer

Foyer with modern light
Amy Bartlam 

Now that you have the key elements of a foyer down, it's time to think about how to decorate it. Because a foyer is meant to be an elegant, welcoming space, you want to focus on details that create a welcoming feel. A beautiful area rug will add a warm touch and a soft feel underfoot when guests arrive.

A beautiful light fixture is a great way to introduce guests into your home and help transition your foyer into the rest of the home. Pick a fixture that plays well with the rest of your decor and adds enough light to brighten up your space.

Foyer with interesting tile
Cathie Hong

Finally, adding a few simple touches to your foyer will help make it feel like a delineated space that is purposeful and welcoming. A simple house plant to welcome guests as they come in the front door (bonus points if it cleans the air too) is a great way to finish off a foyer and give it a cozier feel.

Another way to brighten up your foyer is to switch out your existing front doors and opt for those with windows. Not only will this add a bit of curb appeal, but doors with windows will lend even more natural light to your home.