4 golden rules for an organized entryway, from interiors editors and designers

Elevate your entry by taking note of these simple organizing rules from Homes & Gardens' editors and interior designer Shea McGee

neutral entryway with tile, side table and stairway
(Image credit: Future PLC)

There is always room for improvement in our entryways – both functionally and decoratively – and some good organizing systems are a key foundation. 

As transitional spaces that we don't tend to spend much time in, our entryways are so often forgotten, while we mood board away on our dream kitchens and living rooms.

Whether you have a long and narrow space or a slightly larger footprint, entryways are always a clutter hotspot. So, to maintain an organized entryway big or small, keep these golden rules in mind.

Golden rules for an organized entryway

The Homes & Gardens team recommends following these simple rules to ensure that however your day has gone, you are greeted by a calm, welcoming space each time you walk through the door.

Built in storage in a hallway

(Image credit: Richard Powers)

1. Keep the floor clear

Keep your floors free, as much as you possibly can. Clutter-free floors are much easier to clean, and visually enhance the sense of space, great for organizing small entryways

Piles of shoes are one of the biggest entryway bugbears, as well as kids' sports gear, online deliveries, and any other 'to sort out laters' we might be holding onto. There are various entryway storage solutions that keep things up off the floor. You can rest baskets on the bottom shelf of a console table, or use wall-mounted cabinets for shoes, for example. Jo Bailey, Homes & Gardens' deputy editor (print) recommends adding a shelf at tabletop height in a narrow hallway, as this gives you somewhere to drop your keys and mail into a catch-all tray (we love these dark rattan trays, by Hearth & Hand at Target) without taking up any extra space.

Similarly, Chiana Dickson, Homes & Gardens' junior writer says using the walls can transform an unruly entryway into something much more orderly. 'I recently purchased this IKEA shoe storage wall cabinet, at Ikea and it has made it so much easier to keep my small entryway tidy,' says Chiana Dickson. 'There are various models out there but this one has a cut out at the back so your shoes can still breathe while keeping them neatly stowed away.' No one wants to be greeted home by the smell of old trainers, so consider shoe storage options to keep things neat.

Jo Bailey Author Profile Picture
Jo Bailey

Jo Bailey is Deputy Editor of Homes & Gardens, overseeing all features for the print edition. Before joining Future PLC, she worked as an interior stylist for over ten years, specializing in commercial photo shoots for luxury clients such as; Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Christopher Farr Cloth and Heal's. She has worked with Homes & Gardens for over a decade, having styled and produced editorial shoots and events over the years.

Chiana Dickson
Chiana Dickson

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers.

2. Have more storage than you think you need

Tongue and groove hallway cupboards

(Image credit: Future)

'If you have the space, having more than one way to store shoes can ensure your entryway is kept hygienic and clean, that every day shoes stay tidy, and that everyone can find the pair they need when they need them,' says Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief at Homes & Gardens.

'For example, I have a small entryway closet near the front door for dog-walking shoes. That keeps them out of the rest of the house. Then, I have a shoe basket for the pairs that the family tend to wear day in, day out. We also have a larger shoe closet further into the entryway that houses all the rest of our shoes: each family member has two to three shelves (okay, I have four) for their shoes, so they're always easy to find.'

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. At Homes & Gardens, she has taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

Being realistic about how your family uses the space is essential. Zara Stacey, Homes & Gardens' content editor agrees, and says her golden rule of entryway organizing is choosing entryway storage solutions that fit well in your space. 'There is no point buying a large side table just because it has drawers if it going to take up too much space and disrupt the flow of your entryway.'

Zara Stacey, content editor, homesandgardens.com
Zara Stacey

Zara joined Homes & Gardens in February 2022 as a Content Editor. After studying English Literature at University, Zara has worked as an Ecommerce Website Editor, Content Writer, and Buying Intern at multiple independent businesses within the luxury retail and lifestyle sectors.

3. Be disciplined

Everyone can't have all their coats and all their shoes in the entryway all the time. Louise Oliphant, Homes & Gardens' ecommerce editor says the golden rule she implements at home is to keep the two pairs of shoes you wear the most in your hallway, preferably hidden away in a shoe rack.

'This way your entryway doesn't become cluttered with every pair of shoes you and those in your household own,' she says. 'Find yourself wearing one pair more than the other? Swap out the set that stays out with easy access and store away the pair you no longer wear.'

Interior designer Madison Popper agrees: 'Do not leave mess to linger, and only keep what you use every day in your entryway. Anything else will cause clutter. By finding pieces that are multi-functional as well as useful like a storage bench, at Wayfair, to clear the mess will also remedy the eye sore.'

Louise Oliphant author headshot image
Louise Oliphant

Louise Oliphant is eCommerce Editor and sleep specialist at Homes & Gardens, here to help you wind down well. Previously covering sleep and wellness content (as well as the occasional organizational buy) at Real Homes, Louise has tried, tested, and reviewed some of the top buys for your bedroom.

With an MA in International Journalism and PR experience working for a luxury homeware brand, Louise brings bags of bedding expertise and enjoys nothing more than helping readers find solutions and sleep products that best suit their needs. 

madison popper
Madison Popper

Madison Popper is a renowned interior designer from Long Island, with a clientele spanning from Miami to the Hamptons and all the way to Israel. With an impressive portfolio and a passion for creating captivating spaces, he has become a prominent figure in the design world. His unique approach focuses on reflecting his clients' personalities and aspirations, resulting in elegant and timeless designs. His commitment to creating harmonious spaces that surpass clients' expectations has solidified his position as a leading interior designer in the global design community.

4. Make it a moment

chocolate brown hallway/entryway with wooden console, chandelier, artwork and plant

(Image credit: Living with Lolo/Life Created)

As we mentioned, an entryway will always benefit from some decorative tweaks. Knowing the fundamentals of entryway decor and adding new additions, from a rug or lamp to artwork, can make it feel like a brand-new space that you'll naturally want to keep tidy.

Shea McGee, interior designer and author of The Art of Home, at Amazon explains that we should 'make it a moment' in our entryways. How? With a chandelier or statement table lamp styled on a console, as long as space allows.

'Create options where your family and your guests can drop their belongings without being seen, like a bowl, basket, or a beautiful, lidded box,' Shea McGee suggests. 'When you can, add a mirror so you can check yourself on the way out, and an ottoman for a soft spot to sit and take shoes on and off. Lastly, warm up the space with a rug. I love using indoor/outdoor rugs in the entryway so it can withstand the wear and tear of a high-traffic space.'

shea mcgee dream home makeover
Shea McGee

Shea McGee is an interior designer and the co-founder of Studio McGee a design firm based in Utah. She is also the author of The Art of Home and co-host of Netflix series Dream Home Makeover, inspiring people to make life beautiful.


How can I keep my entryway organized with kids?

With kids around, more frequent decluttering sessions will help keep things organized. Following some simple entryway decluttering rules can go a long way and prevent clutter from escalating. Then, of course, think about ways to make your entryway storage more kid-friendly, with lower hooks they can reach to encourage good habits, or a cubby storage with a curtain rather than a door, which will be more easily accessible.

If you are using hooks, space them out wide to create more space for coats and bags to avoid them piling up and getting in the way as you walk through. Whenever the entryway feels like it's getting out of control, consider how you can find better storage solutions elsewhere. Can you declutter a section of your closet to make more space for out-of-season jackets, make better use of underbed storage or create some space in the garage?

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.