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Exclusive: Joanna Gaines settles whether you should go light or dark in an entryway (we think)

The Magnolia designer has a way of making a memorable first impression – here's how to follow her lead

Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Joanna Gaines x Magnolia Home Castle Collection)

An entryway has a lot of work to do – so getting design tips from someone at the top of their game when you're designing one is incredibly valuable. 

Enter: Joanna Gaines. The New York Times bestselling author, HGTV presenter, and co-owner of the Magnolia is celebrating the launch of The Castle Collection (designed in collaboration with KILZ), and, in an exclusive sit down with H&G, she shared her entryway color ideas.  

We asked her the question most put to us by our readers: should an entryway be light or dark? Joanna's answer? It wasn't definitive, but it was revealing: 'You need to think about what feeling you want people to experience when they come inside,' Joanna says. 'If you're aiming for a nice inhale/exhale moment, you should go light. However, to evoke the feeling of a "nice warm embrace", you should go for a darker color,' she told us.

But wait, there's more. Joanna reveals her light vs dark color preference next.

hall/entryway with small graphic black and white tiles, inky blue walls and painted stairs, stair runner

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball )

'When you step inside the Castle [Cottonland Castle, as seen in Fixer Upper in October 2022], it’s slightly darker and moodier – because of the paint,' Joanna says. 'Right off the bat, when you step into a darker entryway, you feel like you’re encapsulated in the space. You think, "okay, I’m here; I’m present". It feels like a warm embrace. I love the idea of a darker entryway.'

Alternatively, if you want a space to feel brighter, airier, and (arguably) more therapeutic, you should, says Joanna, look at lighter entryway paint ideas

'I would say – if you want people to step in and take an inhale – go lighter,' the designer says. She recommends colors like Castle Cream (opens in new tab) or Plaster (opens in new tab) or Drawing Room (opens in new tab) that is a French Gray. 'There’s a color to it, but it’s still lighter.'

white entryway with illustrative artwork, chest of drawers, green and cream rug, lamp

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Whether you go light or dark, Joanna says, 'you can't go wrong' – but her paint ideas don't end there. 

'I really want to challenge people to experiment and have fun,' she adds. 'And when I think about an entryway, it is a smaller space, so if there is space that you want to experiment with color. If, God forbid, you hate it, you can repaint it becasue it's a small space. Experiment in these smaller spaces first.'

So, whether you're looking to go dark or light, you have full permission from Joanna Gaines to experiment and create the first impression your home deserves. 

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. 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.