Giovanna Averill Interiors / Interior Design  / Making an Entrance

Making an Entrance

Let’s make an entrance. Nowhere else in your home will you have as powerful an opportunity to frame so many elements—colour, windows, hardware, lighting, flooring, greenery and accoutrements—into a compact, high-impact and pleasing design. This is where guests will linger a moment, and you’ll want the vista to stand up to a critical eye. Whether visitors or family, you’ll want those approaching your entryway to begin to experience the design of your home, something that will envelope them once they cross the threshold.

Many of the tips in this blog entry may be easier to implement in detached homes where you enjoy more creative elbow room. If you do plan to enhance your apartment or condo entryway, check first with your building management to see what’s permitted. Some properties are stricter than others, and understandably there may be egress and safety issues to consider.

For best results, respect the style of your home and choose entry items that flatter it. Is it coastal Nantucket style, west coast contemporary, mid-century modern, formal English townhome, casual beach style cottage? All of your choices, from door handles to lighting, to style of planter (even door style itself) will be informed by your home’s architecture. The clearer you are on this the easier it becomes to select suitably styled items from the overwhelming choices available on the market.

Your door. Let’s start with the most obvious.

The world is your oyster for door styles. No longer relegated to the limited “big box” options, door-style is in-and-of-itself half the battle to fashioning an attractive entry. If you can’t change it, at least make sure it’s maintained to a high standard and that its hardware (its jewelry) enhances the door.

How many of these checkpoints does your current door satisfy?

  1. Is it free of dings, dents or cracks?
  2. Is it free of dust and dirt?
  3. Is it properly painted or stained? (Note that colour can set the tone of your entrance and hint at the style of the interior behind it. Speaking in gross generalizations, dark tones read as more serious, masculine and formal, while brighter colours generally have a more playful or eccentric feel).
  4. Is there a working doorbell or attractive doorknocker?
  5. Does your door sport well cared-for hardware or is there rust, blemishes, or missing screws on kick plates, entry hardware or house numbers?

Entry Locksets:

The first selection criteria of a lockset should always be the level of security it offers you for your home. Technology in lockset design has evolved considerably from the key – controlled deadbolt to electronic keyless entry, programmable coded keypads, locks operated by smartphones and even biometrics such as fingerprint entry and voice recognition features. Function has seamlessly blended with form and there is much for you to choose from on the market. Do your research and seek the advice of a specialty hardware provider to weigh in on the different options as they can best guide you on selection depending on your security needs, door style, existing lockset and budget. If you are retro-fitting a lock into an existing door, you’ll need to take 5 critical measurements to take with you to the store to assure a proper selection: the distance between the centre of the doorknob and the edge of the door, door thickness, and diameter of the existing door hole(s), the height and width of the faceplates, and the diameter of the deadbolt. Once you’ve researched and decided on the technology it’s time to consider the aesthetics and ergonomics of the lock’s surround. What metal do you prefer? Chrome, brass, bronze, iron? What finish – polished, matte, hammered? Do you want a knob or lever? What shape of knob/lever (round, square, curved rectangular, thick, thin). What feels operationally comfortable? As for the mounting height, International Building code (IBC) requires locks to be mounted anywhere from 34-48” AFF (above floor level), but always seek the advice of your local code authorities or design team.

What is your guest standing on? If you are lucky you might have a beautifully tiled or paved landing, but even if you don’t, a decorative mat is a good option to inject some interest. I like having a front door mat. Besides helping to keep your interior cleaner, it makes an entryway feel more “dressed”, anchors the elements of your design, and introduces some softer elements to the area. Hopefully it does not welcome your guests with “clever” sayings (which are rarely very clever). If you’re at a loss, you can always opt for a plain classic coco mat, or take it up a notch and have a border, classy monogrammed initial, or family name added.   Avoid getting a mat that is too small in scale, especially if you have a grand door. Ideally, your mat should span the full width of your door opening for a visual balance. Pay attention the mat thickness as well, especially for coco mats which tend to be thick– you’ll want to make sure the bottom of your door can easily skim over the mat when opened. If you live in a rainy climate (like we do in Vancouver), a snazzy umbrella holder off to the side will not only help to keep those dripping bundles out of your foyer but will look great as well. A gentle reminder here: if you use a front door mat, be prepared to change it often. The job of a doormat is to be stepped on and abused — it is not intended to be a permanent fixture.

Lighting. If you have the opportunity to add decorative lighting such as an overhead lantern or outdoor wall sconces, by all means do. Beyond its basic safety and security function, combined with your entry’s other elements it can add sparkle and create an inviting ambience. But before you search make sure you’ve measured to ensure your fixture will work in the intended location. For example, if you are going for a hanging fixture centered over the doorway, be sure that you’ve planned for at least 6 inches of clearance between the bottom of your fixture and the top of the door. For sconces, the general rule is that they should measure at least 1/4 the height of the door – but go even bigger if you dare for a really big “wow factor”. In addition, measure the width of the wall area on either side of the door to make sure it can accommodate the width of any sconce, leaving enough surrounding wall uncovered.

Don’t overlook how the colour value and intensity of the light emitted from the fixtures can affect your entry’s ambience. I prefer a warmer, more welcoming light value, so be sure that your bulbs (or lamps as they are technically called) are chosen appropriately (warm light rather than bright daylight). I also strongly prefer to have the control over intensity which is only possible with a dimmable circuit. If you install a dimmer, your lightbulbs—whether incandescent, halogen, LED, or CFL—must be expressly rated for dimmable devices.

Greenery. If space permits, have a fresh plant(s) at your door. Something organic is a welcome touch point and brings good energy, and a change of texture and colour to your entryway scheme. Manicured, potted shrubs like boxwood look great and require less maintenance than flowers. Consider height and scale and ideally bring your plantings close to waist- or eye-level for drama. This will feel much more custom and impactful than a low pot of flowers lurking near your ankles. If you like a low-profile pot, consider pairing it with a taller to create a pleasing grouping. Finally, don’t forget to delight the olfactory sense with plants that perfume your entrance naturally (such as sage, hibiscus, nicotiana, alyssum, jasmine etc.)

Bringing it all together. All of the components of an entryway that I’ve been talking about will be viewed collectively and within close proximity to each other, so keep all of your metal accents consistent or complementary in material, colour and finish (for example, stainless, brass, brushed metal, polished, matte, hammered) for a more cohesive look. Your chosen colour scheme — from paint, to hardware and even plant material— should enhance each other.

By all means, don’t let a beautiful interior be disguised by a bland, cookie-cutter entrance. Bring your style forward to the entryway, and you’ll be on the threshold of making an entrance that no one can forget!

Now that you’ve set an elevated expectation of how you roll, we need to make sure that there isn’t a house of horrors behind that handsome entry so stay tuned for as we tackle the “behind- the- scene” in a future post. In the mean time I’ve compiled a stylystic range of entryway candy to get you excited abut your search! Have fun!

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Decor Pad

Image Source: Australia Building Works

Image Source: Window Box Company UK

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest




Entry Lighting Wall Sconces:

Entry Locksets:

Entry Lighting Hanging: