The entryway is one of the hardest places to get “right”. It’s a prime example of a small but multifunctional space that needs to facilitate a smooth traffic flow into or out the house or there will be a bottleneck and everyone will be squeezing past others to get to the door. (See our London flat here where I had the shoe area near the entryway, and a hanging rack for winter clothes around the corner, so we wouldn’t all pile up and bottleneck at the door.)
My entryway is small, dark and narrow with no sources of natural light, so I’ve gone with a medium gray paint and dark shoe cabinets to play up the moodiness.
Everything is at or below half height because I have found this to be a height that functions well for both adults and children.
I have a mixture of open and closed storage. For open storage, the Mason jar shelf was painted by the kids and I, and it holds their bags.
The little white cube table is actually a prototype for a Balinese hotel that I turned on its side, so I could have more storage in the form of a basket for more bags. We are trying to go low waste, however, tissue paper is really quite useful at the front door.
The extremely low benches are made from scrap oak by a local carpenter and therefore cheap ($26SGD for the pair), I’ve used them as plant stands but they are perfect for sitting down to put on shoes. The other plus is that when the children have a place to sit down, they are out of the way and the adults can open the shoe cabinet to get our own shoes.
Since we decluttered and went minimalist, we had empty space in our shoe cabinets. We are living in the tropics so there aren’t four seasons, thus one pair of supportive shoes per child will suffice. The shoe cabinet now functions partly as closed storage. It holds more things that we typically forget when leaving the house, like:
- travel cards,
- mosquito spray,
- coin purse etc
They are grouped on vintage brass dishes I collected from Tasmania and New York. The children also have access to their child car seats (not pictured but it’s the shelf below), and in the storeroom, scooters, helmets, and reusable grocery bag.
Since the entryway is the transition zone between home and outdoors, utility is important but it should also be inviting and welcoming. The mason jar in the shelf holds dried eucalyptus to mask the smell of shoes and feet 😂 and there’s a little mirror to check their reflections in if needed! Little things like having a spot to park one’s keys (ours hang on hooks in the cupboard), coins and bags gives one the mental cue that they are home and can unwind.
As with any other part of our prepared home environment, the entryway facilitates the children’s independence in getting ready to go out, choosing what they want to bring and how to bring it. A table is optional, but it works for us because if there are some mornings that we have to leave super early, it’s useful for laying out some snacks/ breakfast foods, so whoever’s done can help themselves to food or pack it into their bag, instead of walking all the way back to the kitchen.
You might be wondering where our “command centre” is (for sorting mail). We’ve gone paperless with as many bills as possible, and open all junk mail at our postbox and promptly discard/ recycle it. Any remaining mail that is important enough to enter the house gets put on a tray on the kitchen breakfast counter. The additional “burden” of carrying it all the way to the kitchen means we are a lot more stringent about what mail we bring inside!
Doing up our entryway didn’t cost me anything except time for observing how we all used the space, as I simply repurposed stuff we already had around the house, lots of it several years old, like the brass dish from NYC, basket, table and shelf. Check out our living room here.