How can you make an entryway more relaxing? 8 expert tips for a comforting welcome home

Interior designers share their best-kept secrets to creating a soothing entryway space that makes opening the door to your home a calming, rather than chaotic, experience

how to make your entryway more relaxing
(Image credit: Elizabeth Krueger Interior Design / Kara Childress / BHDM Design / Photography Reid Rolls)

Aside from the front door, your entryway is critical for creating a good and lasting first impression. It's a point of transition physically and mentally from the outside hustle and bustle to the indoors into what should be a safe, comfortable, and relaxing space. 

So if your entryway, hallway, or corridor holds the power to shape the mood for the rest of your home, we must consider the entrance as the first step in how to make a home more relaxing

From calming entryway colors that evoke tranquility to smart storage that declutters both the space and your headspace, interior designers understand the importance of creating a welcoming atmosphere from the threshold. Here we dive into the best ways to create a zen-like feeling in your entryway.

How To Make Your Entryway More Relaxing

relaxing entryway with vaulted ceiling and cozy furnishings

(Image credit: Kara Childress)

'The hallway is the entrance to your home, so it’s vital to create a warm, inviting feel the minute you step through the door,' says Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC. But that can be easier said than done, especially if you have a large open space it can be hard to create a snug, cozy atmosphere. It is important to assert that buffer from the outside world and create an entryway even when your home doesn't have one with a dedicated drop zone that welcomes the person entering and allows them to take a pause.

Entryways are naturally a space of chaos, and it's no secret that a cluttered space isn't great for your mood. A well-designed entryway filled with items you love can help to foster a sense of peace, relieve stress, and create a sense of "ah I'm home" the minute you step through the door. 

Keep scrolling to find out the best and most impactful ways to bring a sense of calm to your entryway.

1. Nail the very first impression and start from the porch

relaxing porch swing monochrome colors

(Image credit: Paulina Perrault Interiors / Photography September Days)

Remember that the very first impression begins with the front porch ideas and try to extend your design considerations to the outdoor space leading to your front door. A well-maintained porch with comfortable seating, vibrant greenery, and subtle lighting sets the stage for what awaits inside. 

'Your front porch is the first thing guests see when they arrive and its design should be inviting and reflective of your overall style,' advises Paulina Perrault, founder and principal designer at Paulina Perrault Interiors

'If space allows, nothing is more warm and welcoming than a beautiful porch swing,' adds Paulina. 'It creates an intimate place to gather and provides a natural connection between your interiors and the outdoors.'

Paulina Perrault interior designer
Paulina Perrault

San Francisco-based Paulina Perrault of Paulina Perrault Interiors infuses every project with practical luxury. Known for designing warm and elegant environments for the modern lifestyle, she and her team are masters of detail and create beautiful spaces that delight the eye.

2. Adopt a light and breezy color scheme

light and bright entryway with a large rattan table and a horse painting

(Image credit: Elizabeth Kreuger Interior Design)

One thing that's sure to help create the illusion of calm in an entryway? Your choice of entryway color ideas. Muted, neutral tones are much easier on the eye than brighter colors – especially after a long day. 

'Your entryway sets the tone for the rest of your home, so creating a calming and relaxing atmosphere in that space really goes a long way,' says designer Kathy Kuo. 'Opt for light and breezy colors to bring in light and make your entryway feel inviting.'

Ashley McCollum, color expert at GLIDDEN® paint by PPG, says: 'The entryway is an introduction to your home and sets the stage for greeting your family, friends and visitors. Choose a calming color palette for the walls, flooring, and decor,' she advises. 

'Neutral tones like soft beige like Bone White, a pale blue, or light gray like Gray Frost can create a serene atmosphere and make the space feel more open and airy,' adds Ashley. Incorporate these calming hues into your walls, furniture, and decor to achieve a visually soothing entryway.

Ashley McCollum
Ashley McCollum

Ashley McCollum is a Marketing Manager and color expert for PPG’s Architectural Coatings business in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining PPG in 2017, Ashley's career was heavily focused on color and visual merchandising for retail environments. Ashley earned her MBA in Marketing/Management from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

3. Curate plenty of storage to de-clutter

storage bench in entryway

(Image credit: Alice Lane Interior Design / Photography Nicole Hill Gerulat)

A clutter-free entryway contributes to a peaceful home environment. Consider installing a wall of entryway storage to keep shoes, bags, and everyday items neatly tucked away to promote a sense of order and calm.

'Entryways are tricky because they are inherently a dumping ground for all things shoes, bags, mail, and random junk,' says Emily Henderson. 'The obvious answer to creating a more relaxing entryway is to eliminate the visual clutter.'

'For me, clutter creates a ton of anxiety, so something like a shoe basket, an enclosed shoe cabinet, a little table with a spot/holder for your keys and mail, and/or hooks for bags and jackets,' Emily advises. 'Small changes can make a surprisingly big difference. Start small and see how it goes.'

‘The hallway is the immediate introduction to your home, therefore creating a space that is easily organized and clutter-free is the best way to ensure it is always a welcome return,' agrees Caroline Milns, head of interior design at Zulufish. 'Consider custom clever storage, which can house all the daily necessities; from shoes and coats to bags and boots. This can be built vertically to maximize the overall space if you have a narrow hallway, as well as added into seating in wider spaces to create a more flexible approach.'

Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson is Emily Henderson is a stylist, interior designer, HGTV host, and founder of Emily Henderson Design which she's been running for over a decade. Emily provides us with style inspiration every day over on her Instagram, and her blog is a great source of ideas for DIYs and making the most of your space. 

4. Include a bench seat or chair

light and bright entryway with a pale blue front door and bench seat

(Image credit: BHDM Design / Photography Reid Rolls)

Adding a bench seat or a comfortable chair in the entryway serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It provides a spot to sit while putting on or taking off shoes and introduces an element of relaxation. 

In the entryway above, designed by BHDM Design, they create a hallway nook that denotes the perfect place to unwind. If you're able to build a custom bench or banquette seating in your home, outfit the space with pillows, soft fabrics, blankets, and soft lighting to elevate the comfort level. 

'Comfort up the ambiance with naturally textured forms that will make the place feel more peaceful,' advises designer Artem Kropovinsky. 'A rich rug and a couple of cushioned throw pillows on a bench will give it warmth and comfort, and when you create your visitors feel more welcome,' he adds.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.

5. Add a front door curtain for softness

small entryway with a striped front door curtain and cozy chair

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

Soft textiles can instantly soften the entryway's look and feel. Consider adding a front door curtain to introduce a touch of elegance and coziness.

'Door curtains are a great way to introduce texture and interest to an entrance or doorway, creating 'soft doors' to section the area off and easily shield things you don't want to see or be seen,' advises Tori Murphy, founder of the English textile brand of the same name who created the frilly curtain in the space seen above.

'They are also a simple solution to keeping heat in and pesky draughts at bay,' she adds. 'Opt for a cocooning door curtain with naturally insulating material like wool, with a little extra pooling length for the most enveloping result.'

6. Focus on decor and personality

muted blue bookshelf corner with an antique chair and stool

(Image credit: Gray Walker)

Infuse your entryway with personal touches that reflect your style and home to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Consider incorporating artwork, family photos, or statement pieces to make your home feel more like you.

'If you have the space for a console table, create a relaxing styled vignette on top of it with decorative accents like a vase of fresh flowers, a Tibetan singing bowl, a designer scented candle, or a decorative dish to house sage bundles and sticks of palo santo,' advises Kathy Kuo.

Alternatively, try to flex your bookshelf wealth with a built-in or freestanding niche for books, decorative accessories, a little chair, and some art. When choosing artwork for your entryway walls, make sure the pieces selected have a calming, positive effect and make sure you have somewhere to place your keys.

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

7. Don't forget a mirror to bounce light

green small entryway with stripe wallpaper and statement mirror

(Image credit: Cathy Nordström / Laura Stephens / Photography Boz Gagovski)

Decorating with mirrors is a powerful tool in entryway decor as they not only enhance the perception of space by helping to bounce natural light but also provide a spot to check your appearance before heading out. Choose a statement mirror that complements your decor to add both functionality and flair.

'A relaxing entry begins before you step inside, so set the laid-back tone for the house right at the front door,' advises interior designer Mindy Laven. 'Once inside, ensure there is a space for dropping things off and a mirror for "fit checks", coming or going!'

If you're looking to further optimize on light, Caroline Milns advises opening up sightlines with picture windows into other rooms, or by adding crittal doors. 'Often hallways can be rather dark or corridor-like, so doors are a brilliant way of delivering a sleek, contemporary finish that also allows a space to be ‘multi-plan’ instead of limited to ‘open-plan’,' says Caroline. 'This helps to connect your hallway to the rest of the house without any loss of light, giving a feeling of more space.'

interior designer mindy laven portrait
Mindy Laven

Mindy Laven, a Southern California based interior designer, is most notably known for capturing the quintessential old-school surf aesthetic of California beach towns through many of her unforgettable projects.

8. Finally, introduce multiple lighting sources for ambiance

neutral entryway with an antique table and wavy mirror with wall sconces

(Image credit: Mindy Laven)

Well-thought-out entryway lighting is key to establishing the right mood. Incorporate multiple light sources such as overhead fixtures, table lamps, and sconces to create a layered lighting effect. This not only adds warmth but also enhances the overall ambiance of your entryway.

'If you have space for a small console table, a table lamp adds a note of warmth and welcome,' suggests Original BTC's director Charlie Bowles. Plus, it’s always nice to have the option not to have the overhead lights on especially when you have guests over in the evening.

'A candle at the entry is always a great idea,' adds Mindy Laven. 'Greet your guests with a warm glow and cozy scent. This is the perfect way to create a relaxing entry!'

From adopting a light and airy color scheme to a cozy nook, each element plays a crucial role in shaping the welcoming embrace of your entryway. Remember that a feeling of calm starts from within, so set about making a plan to adopt ways that you know will instill that from the get-go. Maybe that's with considerate organization, a comforting scent, or simply your favorite family photo to greet you on arrival – whatever you choose, spare a thought for the often-overlooked entryway and ensure it provides a daily dose of zen.

Charlotte Olby
Content Editor

Charlotte is content editor at Homes and Gardens, having joined the team the week before Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she found herself working at many women's glossy magazines including: Grazia, Stylist and Hello and most recently working as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with Charlotte's passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome