Interior Design

Joanna Gaines shares her favorite entryway decorating secret

This is how to elevate the first room in your home, the Joanna Gaines way

Joanna Gaines headshot
(Image credit: Rob Kim / GettyImages Contributor)

First impressions count – and your entryway has the power to set the tone for the rest of your interiors. But how can you ensure you make the statement your home deserves? 

The answer lies with Joanna Gaines, the celebrated designer who has curated hallways for a global audience via her HGTV series Fixer Upper. Sharing her entryway ideas on the show, Joanna Gaines revealed the secret to a memorable and welcoming space is found in a chair rail (or a dado rail, as they are otherwise known). 

According to Joanna, a chair rail has a host of benefits that will greet guests as soon as they enter your home – without sacrificing any square footage. Sharing her interior design tips, Joanna reveals what you need to know. 

A modern hallway idea with French doors, contemporary orb chandelier and console table

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

How to elevate your entryway – according to Joanna Gaines 

A chair rail 'will add texture to the space, but it also really makes it feel warm and inviting as you walk in,' Joanna explains. 'The walls don't feel so flat. Plus, this chair rail tip will draw the walls out, but you will still have room for artwork and wall decor.'

Alongside its warming and textural qualities, the Design Director at Andrew Martin, David Harris, further highlights the benefits of a chair rail in the discussion of his small hallway ideas. He suggests creating a monochromatic contrast with the chair rail – to emphasize this architectural statement – and make the space come alive. 

'Dark colors under the dado [chair] rail with fresh white woodwork and light colors above work well to hide any scuffs and marks,' he says. 'It adds lots of light to what can be a narrow space.'

A hallway wallpaper idea with storm-inspired grey wallpaper on the upper half of the wall and ceiling

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Chair rail in a hallway with wooden floor

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Similarly, David suggests adding wooden wall paneling as it 'adds a really smart edge to the space', especially when painted in a durable satin finish. Fitting wall panelling horizontally will make a room feel wider or longer, making it a great trick for small rooms, such as an entryway. Painting it in a pale color will further emphasize the room's proportions.

As well as looking inviting in its own right, an entryway should set the tone for the rest of your home – and should be considered alongside hallway ideas to ensure a coordinated feel. The chair rail is the most effective way to create a lasting impression for all who pass through.

Joanna Gaines's stylish tip has set the standard for small entryways – and our homes are forever in her debt.

Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, $19.99

Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, $19.99

Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you embrace your authentic design style. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.