How to decorate a small entryway, according to design experts

The right pieces will make your hallway look tidy and stylish

Small entryway with garment rack
(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Learning how to decorate a small entryway is key for making sure guests feel welcomed into your place. Its a great way to show off your personality, and sets the tone for how want you and others to feel when initially walking through.

I have a tiny small entryway that’s totally bland — I’m talking just white walls and an overflowing shoe rack. So, I’ve been looking everywhere for great decoration ideas that are easy to do in my home and that will instantly transform my space from drab to fab. It’s the one area I’ve overlooked decorating in my home, but I also know it’s an important one to get right.

If you’ve been searching through small entryway ideas, and want to get started on decorating ASAP, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spoken to experts to find out how to do just that, with tips and tricks that will work in any small entryway.

7 tips for decorating your small entryway

From the best colors to stylish hallway storage ideas, here’s how to decorate your small entryway. 

1. Define the space

A green and pink entryway with a blue staircase and door

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

No matter how small your entryway is, it’s a great idea to use it to create a moment. “Maybe you only have room to hang a mirror on the wall, or a small entryway bench and some hooks, but defining the space with wall decor, a rug, or furniture will create a welcoming moment when guests visit your home,” says Gina Caulkins, founder and principal designer at interior design studio California Daydreams. 

A picture of Gina Caulkins in a blue dress outside
Gina Caulkins

Gina Caulkins is the founder and principal designer at California Daydreams, a Marin County, California interior design studio focused on family homes.

2. Be thoughtful with color

A pink entryway with a red console table and floral wall art

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

With not much space to work with, it’s important to be mindful of the colors you’re using and to make sure they don’t overwhelm the space. “It's not about how much you can fit in, but how you can elevate every square inch,” says Keely Smith, interior designer at Home Stratosphere, using color as an example. 

She adds that while many suggest sticking to a light palette to expand a room, colors like a calming blue can offer depth and elegance. This is one of the best paint colors for small entryways.

A picture of Keely Smith in a black top, next to a black and white wall
Keely Smith

Keely Smith is an interior designer expert and artist at Home Stratosphere. With over 10 years of experience, Keely has helped numerous businesses and individuals realize their interior design goals.

3. Add mirrors

An entryway with a mirror, shelf, basket, and a chair

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Mirrors are a clever option for small spaces like entryways, as their reflections will make the room appear bigger. “A uniquely shaped, full-length mirror doesn't just make space look bigger but can double as a captivating piece of art,” says Smith. 

Once, for a client who was a passionate dancer, Smith placed her worn-out ballet shoes on a golden wall hook beside an oversized mirror. “It wasn't just decor — it was a story.” Adding personal touches on and alongside a plain mirror is a really lovely idea.

4. Incorporate functional decor

A green entryway with wooden stairs, a coat rack, and wall art

(Image credit: Dunelm)

When choosing furniture for your small entryway, it’s important to make sure every piece counts. “Making use of dual-purpose decor items such as a storage bench or a console table with drawers will not only add style to the entryway, but also provide extra storage for shoes, bags, and other items,” explains David Mason, interior designer and founder of Knobs.co. Having designated places to store coats and hats in small entryways will make leaving the house a total breeze.

A black and white picture of David Mason wearing a fedora hat
David Mason

David Mason is an interior designer and the founder of Knobs.co. He has 10+ years of experience in home improvement, architecture, and interior design.

5. Utilize shelves

A dark blue entryway with a black shelving unit decorated with decor

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Even in the smallest entryway, you can still add a few different kinds of shelves. “They add an artistic flair — be it floating ones above a painted geometric shape or ones that double up as decorative wall hooks,” Smith explains. She says that she’s seen them adorned with travel trinkets, hand-painted vases, or even vibrant prints and posters reflecting the homeowner's personality. 

6. Brighten it up with lighting

A white lamp with a stripey lampshade on a green chest of drawers

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Proper lighting is essential for any space — especially a small one. “Add some brightness to your entryway with an overhead light,” says Mason. “You can also incorporate table lamps or floor lamps for a softer and more ambient glow.” This will not only make the space feel welcoming but also add a touch of style to the overall look.

7. Keep it simple

An entryway with a wooden bench with pillows and decor on it

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

While playing with colors and decorative objects can make a space look more vibrant, ultimately it’s a good idea not to clutter it up too much. After all, you’ve got to be able to move through it. “A simple wooden entryway bench with a light color scheme and an elegant entryway rug can be breathtaking in its simplicity,” Smith tells me. 

She adds: “One of my clients, a writer, had just the bench and a notebook on it — and believe me, it spoke volumes.” As a journalist myself, I’m absolutely copying that idea.

3 buys that’ll help you decorate your small entryway

Want to get started on giving your small entryway a makeover? Follow our experts’ advice with these picks.

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

FAQs

How do you make a small entryway look nice?

Using functional decor like shelving and shoe racks alongside decorative pieces like wall art and indoor plants will make your small entryway look clean and stylish.

Why is it important to decorate a small entryway?

You might be wondering why the entryway is a good place to decorate. “While the spaces I've transformed span from sprawling penthouses to minimalist studios, there's a unique charm in crafting intimate areas, particularly entryways” says Smith. “First impressions last, and in interior design, an entry can set the tone for the entire home.” 


There are plenty of ways to decorate your small entryway. “Embrace your space, flaws, and all. Those tiny nooks, odd angles, or even the space under your stairs all hold potential waiting to be tapped,” Smith finishes by saying. “It's not just about aesthetics; it's about crafting a narrative, one piece of furniture at a time.”

Looking for more ways to make your hallway look good? Learning how to organize your small entryway will help you keep it neat and tidy.

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.

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