How do you make a small entryway inviting? 5 tips from design experts

Our design experts reveal 5 ways to create a welcoming space

Have you ever thought, ‘How do you make a small entryway inviting?’ This is the first area of the home guests will step into and you see at the end of a long day, so it's an important space to style up. With just a few clever steps, you can turn yours into a place you can instantly relax in. We've chatted to design experts to find out what these are — and luckily, they're all super easy to do. You may have overlooked small entryway ideas in the past, but this is officially your sign to decorate your space so it's as welcoming as possible. By putting in the work now, you will thank yourself later.
(Image credit: West Elm / Target)

If you're wondering how do you make a small entryway inviting, it'sthinking time well spent. With this space being the first area guests will step into, and the room that greets you when you head home, styling it well will give it the welcoming feel every home deserves.

With just a few clever steps, you can turn your small entryway into a place where you instantly relax. We've chatted to design experts to find out what these are — and luckily, their five tips are super easy to do.

You may have overlooked small entryway ideas in the past, but this is officially your sign to decorate your space so it's as inviting as possible. By putting in the work now, you will thank yourself later.

How do you make a small entryway inviting?

When decorating a small entryway, making it inviting will not only improve your home's style, but also improve your mood when stepping through the door. Home is a sanctuary to sink into after a long day tackling adulting so let's start with small hallways.

“It's important entryways invite you into the further spaces of the home,” says Jill Kalman, interior designer at Jill Kalman Interiors. “Sometimes when the entryway is small, this can be more challenging, though.”

A picture of Jill Kalman, a woman with brown hair in a black t-shirt and white jeans, sitting on a bench
Jill Kalman

Jill Kalman is an interior designer with more than 18 years of experience. She specializes in down to earth designs for real people.

Struggling in your small space? These tips — and the matching buys we’ve picked out — will help you warm up the space.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Organize clutter

An entryway with a white cupboard with coats, hats, shoes, and storage baskets

(Image credit: West Elm)

Have you ever entered your home, kicked off your shoes, and immediately exited the scene without properly tidying? We’ve all been there. “An entryway can be a drop zone, so it's important it doesn't look messy and cluttered and can stay organized easily,” says Jill.

She suggests having decorative storage baskets to toss shoes, gloves, and other personal belongings into. “I create one basket for each member of the family and then keep a spare empty one for guests to drop their shoes,” Jill adds. 

You could even use labeled baskets (a nifty label maker with hundreds of templates such as this bluetooth enabled one from Amazon is useful all over the home) to make sure people’s belongings don’t get mixed up.

2. Use a statement mirror

A white entryway with shoe storage, a tall gold arched mirror and a shelf with a small mirror

(Image credit: West Elm)

Have you been reflecting on your small entryway design, and think something is missing? Mirrors — which are the one thing interior designers would add to a small entryway — are the way to go.

“You can make a small entryway inviting by adding a statement piece such as a decorative mirror,” says Seymen Usta, interior design specialist and founder of Seus Lighting.

A picture of Seymen Usta, a man wearing a white shirt and blue trousers, sitting on a green couch
Seymen Usta

Seymen Usta is an interior design specialist and the founder of Seus Lighting — one of the largest home decor lighting retailers in Northern America.

He continues, “A mirror with a striking shape and frame can bring in more light to the space, making it feel larger.” This is especially useful if your entryway doesn't have much natural light or feels a bit cramped.

One top tip we love is placing a mirror opposite the light source in the entryway (such as the door), to make the whole space feel more airy and give the illusion of more space than there is.

3. Add somewhere to sit

An entryway with a wooden bench with throw pillows on, with a gallery wall above it and a tall plant next to it

(Image credit: Target)

In most small entryways, you can still make room for somewhere to perch — whether this be with a small entryway bench, a stool for putting on your shoes, or even a cushioned storage ottoman.

“If space allows, why not add a cozy chair or a small bench?” says Riley Annen, interior designer and owner of Companies That Buy Houses.

Riley Annen, a white woman with brown hair and green eyes smiling
Riley Annen

Riley Annen is an interior designer, real estate agent, and founder of Companies That Buy Houses. She has more than 10 years experience finding houses with great potential and making them look gorgeous.

She adds, “It's more than just a place to sit — it invites guests to linger, making your entryway an extension of your home's warmth.”

If you have enough room, you could even add a small space bookshelf next to it, to create a cute, quiet place to enjoy some respite.

4. Play with different lighting sources

An entryway with a wooden storage console, with a cream and dark wooden lamp on top of it and a blue and white wall art print above it

(Image credit: West Elm)

Having overwhelming lighting is an outdated entryway trend, which is why designers are recommending having a range of light sources instead. “A combination of ambient lighting and task lighting can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” says Seymen. 

He advises trying a combination of statement pendant lighting, as well as smaller accent lights such as table lamps or wall sconces. Seymen says, “I also love lights and bulbs with dimming features, so you can adjust the brightness depending on the time of day and mood.”

This way, you can set a brighter light for when guests arrive and then dim them to create a cozy ambiance during the evening. Very hotel-like, right?

5. Bring scents into it

A close-up shot of a reed diffuser backlit by a soft-focus lamp on a black shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When making a first impression in your home, the last thing you want is for your guests to be accosted by any unwanted or unpleasant smells.

You can eliminate these by using home fragrances such as reed diffusers. “These don't require any maintenance apart from the occasional reed flip,” says Emily Lambe, deputy editor of Real Homes. 

Emily Lambe deputy editor of Real Homes headshot
Emily Lambe

Emily is the deputy editor here at Real Homes. She specializes in small spaces and is always on top of the latest trends for rentals and apartments.

Emily adds, “Not only this, but they’re also small enough to fit on an entryway console or shelf.”

Just before guests arrive, Emily loves spritzing her entryway with air freshener. “I like to mix mine up for the seasons — for example, I’ll choose a floral scent in spring or go for a spicy scent in winter.”


How do you make a small entryway inviting?

To make your small entryway more inviting, use a range of lighting, remove clutter, add scents, place mirrors, and give guests a place to sit.

How do you make a small entryway welcoming?

Make a small entryway welcoming by creating thoughtful touches guests can enjoy, such as seating to rest on, dedicated storage for their shoes and outdoor items, and delicious, atmospheric scents.

From cozy seating to strategic lighting, there are plenty of ways to improve your small entryway with welcoming additions. 

Want to elevate yours even further? Learning how to make a small entryway look expensive will add a touch of luxe to your space.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.