Ask the Designer — A Warm Welcome

Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, Tennessee. Visit online at


With the fall season upon us, you’ll likely find yourself entertaining guests more often in the coming months. The foyer, or entry to your home, is your signature and the first impression made on your guest. It should say something about who you are and what guests can expect throughout the rest of the home. Whether your foyer is small and cozy or large and spacious, there are things you can do to add style, personality, and practicality to this impactful space.


Don’t Forget the Basics:

You can add personality through simple details in wall treatments and floor and ceiling accessories.
Start at the beginning – paint the front door in a fun favorite color and add a door knocker with new hardware for style. Install a beautiful new stair runner or patterned carpet up the stairwell. Hang a favorite, inspiring piece of art on the wall that reflects your style.
Don’t forget the ceiling – pick out a new light fixture or chandelier for an instant update. If your ceiling is eight feet high, consider a flush mount. If it is higher, a hanging fixture would work to fill the space.
Complete the look – Finish your entry with a beautiful rug. Choose a rug that will introduce colors found throughout the rest of the home. For an extra level of practicality, select a rug that is highly patterned and of medium or darker colors so as not to show dirt in this highly trafficked area.

Take advantage of space:

If your foyer has a bit more space, you can bring more style to the area by adding a splash of color or choosing wallpaper for wall treatments. Select a color or pattern that reflects what makes you happy and will set a tone that matches the style of the rest of the house.
Add practicality by introducing a table or chest with a nearby chair as an inviting respite. This gives your guest a place to lay a coat or purse or set down a package.

Layer in details for personality:

Next, select a few items to display on the table or chest that have meaning to you: a memento from a favorite travel destination, or a collection of items that reflect a hobby or passion of yours.
Add a bold lamp to bring in visual warmth and functional lighting in the evening.
Lastly, incorporating a mirror into your foyer allows your guests to check their appearance as they come in and out of the house. A mirror also adds perceived space, so it works well in smaller foyers too, making them feel larger.


Your home’s entry is its first impression to visitors. Make it inviting and allow it to tell the story of the family that lives inside.

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