How to design a timeless entryway – 5 ways to create a space that feels current and classic

An entryway may be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it's also one of the most important so ensuring it's classic in its design is key

How to design a timeless entryway
(Image credit: Julie Soefer/Bess Friday)

Interior design trends are of course key to ensuring styles develop and new exciting looks come in, however, they do have a tendency to move quickly. Some do stick and become classics, rather than trends but if you want to design a home that never dates, the trick is to not be too trend led, lean into the looks you love and know you will love for years. 

There's a lot of talk about transitional style right now, and while it's kind of becoming a trend in its own right, the premise of mixing old and new, current and classic is at the center of designing any entryway that's going to feel chic and characterful no matter how trends change. So when designing a timeless entryway, this approach is at the forefront. Decorate in a way that reflects your style, your personality, your home, and of course bring in trends as small, no-committal updates, but otherwise keep to the classic that you know and love. 

How to design a timeless entryway

Entryways tend to be transitional rooms, everyone sees them and yet you don't really spend too much time in them, so they can be neglected when it comes to design. However, curating an entryway that can withstand the ever-changing interior design trends gives the best impression of the rest of your home, and it's a low-maintenance approach too, get it right now and you won't have to spend money and energy, and updating it every year to keep up with new styles.

1. Start by combining aesthetics and practicality

Boho house tour

(Image credit: Bess Friday)

An entryway needs to get that balance between form and function. It's never a huge space and you usually have to fit in quite a lot of entryway storage so there's not a ton of room for decor. Ensuring your entry is timeless means planning in these practical sides from the beginning. 

'Designing a timeless entryway involves combining functionality and aesthetic appeal in a way that withstands the passing trends,' explains designer Jennifer Davis. 'We start by choosing a neutral color palette that is sophisticated and flexible, allowing accents and décor to effortlessly evolve over time. Start with classic elements such as a well-crafted console table or a statement mirror to anchor the space. Opt for quality materials like wood, stone, or metals that wear gracefully.'

'A timeless entryway design is all about a nuanced blend of practical pieces and decorative ones,' agrees Kathy Kuo. 'You want to make sure that your entryway features plenty of storage for shoes and coats so consider investing in a nice shoe rack or shelf or a storage bench, as well as some thoughtfully chosen coat hooks. I recommend a console table that echoes the design style of the rest of your home. A console table is great because you can mix and match small decor pieces to make it shine during any season.'

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. 

2. Design an entryway that reflects your personality

Pink entryway with vintage mirror

(Image credit: Kati Curtis Design)

'Designing a timeless entryway can be a delightful blend of aesthetics and personal memories. Start with your favorite color palette, offering a contrasting base you can easily refresh over the years with changing entryway trends,' explains designer Kati Curtis

'Use your travel mementos to add a personal touch: a vibrant handwoven rug from Mexico, for example, can infuse color and texture. A hand-carved wooden bench from your trip to Bali provides practical seating while also serving as a conversation starter. Complement these elements with statement art or a beautiful mirror, creating a gallery wall that tells your unique journey. Balance the color and travel elements with simple, sleek lines in furnishings to maintain a timeless appeal.'

Kati Curtis
Kati Curtis

Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms. 

3. Stick with a simple color and material scheme

Entryway with console table and artwork above

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

'A curated and concise color and material palette is a simple way of creating a timeless entryway,' suggests Tom Rutt, Founder, TR Studio. 'Choose a contemporary neutral such as an elegant grey, a warm sandy hue, or a bolder shade such as an inky blue for an interior canvas to build upon. Next layer natural materials in mixed timbers, tones and textures across flooring, entryway furniture, lighting, and accessories and you’ll easily achieve an entryway that exudes everyday elegance.'

Designer Bethany Adams agrees that the best approach to creating a space that never dates is to stick to a simple, paired-back entryway color scheme. 'Sticking to classic colors like black, white, or beige is the first step in a timeless entryway.  Follow that up with classic furnishings - a console to drop mail and keys, a chic umbrella holder, etc. - and the requisite large "last look" mirror and you have a recipe for timeless entry.'

Tom Rutt
Tom Rutt

Tom Rutt has worked in the offices of Norman Foster and Michaelis Boyd before founding TR Studios in 2015. 

4. Transcend the trends with high-quality timeless pieces

Classic entryway with circular table

(Image credit: Julie Soefer/Marie Flanigan)

'Craft a timeless entryway by investing in classic, high-quality pieces that transcend trends, such as a well-crafted console or foyer table and statement entryway lighting,' says designer Marie Flanigan

'Choose a neutral color palette with subtle variations allowing key design elements to shine and adapt to evolving styles. If starting from scratch, be sure to consider architectural elements and details, like flooring patterns and trim work, to elevate the space. Infuse warmth and character through carefully selected accessories, like a timeless area rug, curated artwork, and florals, to evoke a sense of welcoming sophistication that ages beautifully.'

Marie Flanigan
Marie Flanigan

Marie Flanigan is an award-winning interior designer whose passion and achievements in design have positioned her as one of the nation’s best. She is classically trained and practiced architect, and her trademark style is evident through the sophisticated use of color, texture, and light. Every home she designs receives her personal signature of timeless elegance and innovative simplicity.

5. Create the right lighting scheme

Boho house tour

(Image credit: Bess Friday)

Entryway lighting is key to a timeless space, not only with the fixtures you choose but the ambiance that the lighting creates. Of course, you need plenty of light as it is firstly a practical space, but that needn't mean you can bring in softer, warmer accent lighting too that will ensure a welcoming feel.

'Lighting plays a pivotal role, so blend natural light with classic fixtures to create a welcoming ambiance. Lastly, personal touches, like artwork or an antique umbrella stand, infuse character while maintaining a sense of timelessness.' suggests Jennifer. And Kathy agrees, adding, 'Take time and care in selecting a stylish light fixture that will really set the tone for the rest of your home, and if you have space.'

Designing a timeless entryway means this space will always feel current. It's a room that needs to transcend trends as there's not much opportunity for switching up decor as the trends change so the base of the space - the colors, furniture, and lighting - you choose all need to have longevity. 

Head of Interiors

I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learned I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.