5 small entryway lighting mistakes — experts share what to avoid

These small entryway lighting mistakes are the worst. Our design experts explain what they are so you can avoid them

Small entryway lighting mistakes are avoidable, Here is a well-placed lamp on a black console table, in a white entryway
(Image credit: @thatsophiahome)

When deciding which items to choose, there are specific small entryway lighting mistakes you shouldn't be making. This spaces can often get dark thanks to limited size and natural light, making them prime for great lighting choice.

We've chatted with design experts to find out what lighting mistakes you need to avoid in your small entryway, and what to do instead. There are some real surprises thrown in, well worth knowing about.

Whether you're looking for small entryway ideas or just want some easy fixes, lighting is a key part of making this space look stylish.

Small entryway lighting mistakes

Scoping out small entryway lighting ideas, knowing what not to do will save you serious time and money. Where possible, we've found buys to help you right these wrongs.

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

1. Low-hanging ceiling lights

A gold wall sconce on a white wall next to a gold mirror, with flowers and books underneath it

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Many of us living in little rentals or apartments aren’t blessed with gorgeous high ceilings, which is why you have to be careful about the height of your light fittings.

“It's important to consider factors such as the height of the tallest person in your household, and the typical traffic in your home,” says Patricia Tram, principal designer at Strut Interiors

A picture of Patricia Tram, a woman with black hair wearing a yellow and black dress with the sky in the background
Patricia Tram

Patricia Tram is the principal designer at Strut Interiors, which she founded in 2012. With over 10 years of experience in multi-family and single family residentials, she understand how to create bold, dynamic spaces.

She continues, “Often, clients love the look of a dramatic or quaint entry light pendant, but forget to triple-check the dimensions of the room and most importantly, the ceiling height.”

At the lowest point, Patricia says all ceiling fixtures need to be about six to eight feet above the finished floor. 

If you feel it’s too risky to bring in a large fixture, she recommends opting for decorative wall sconces instead, which are also an elegant way to make a small entryways look expensive

2. Leaving lights off

A blue pendant light hanging in front of a room with a wall art print, wooden console table, and door

(Image credit: West Elm)

Hands up who has ever walked into their entryway at the end of a long day, and spent a good minute fumbling around for the light. So not fun.

“Not having your entryway lighting on is the biggest mistake in my opinion,” says Dara Greaney, CEO and founder of LED Light Expert.

A picture of Dara Greaney, a man with a beard wearing a gray blazer and white shirt, in front of a green background
Dara Greaney

Dara Greaney is the CEO and founder of LEDLightExpert.com, a lighting retailer. He is an expert in finding clever products and ideas that resonate with customers.

While you don’t need to have them on at all times of day, you can grab light bulbs with timers on to create ambiance throughout the day.  These GE LED+ Timer Bulbs are Amazon’s Choice and perfect for the job.

Dara continues, “By using timer bulbs, you can have light in the front of the house automatically at on and off whenever you choose.”

3. Neglecting natural light

A bright entryway with white walls, windows and a white door, and a brown console table with purple flowers on it

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may have covered your bases in terms of light fixtures and decor, but what people often forget is making the most of natural lighting.

It’s one of the best light sources you can use in your small entryway, as it easily illuminates the whole space during the day.

“If you can, install a big window and keep it unobstructed so the light can shine into the space and make it warm and welcoming,” says Tommy Mello, home improvement expert and founder of A1 Garage Door Service.

A picture of Tommy Mello, a man with short brown hair wearing a white shirt
Tommy Mello

Tommy Mello is a a home improvement and DIY expert, and the founder of A1 Garage Door Service, a $100M+ home service business. Founded in 2007, A1 Garage Door Service has become a home service industry leader.

For those who are renting, cleaning your windows regularly is a smart way to ensure as much light is entering your entryway as possible.

4. Only using big fixtures

An entryway with a white console table with a lamp, a round umbrella stand, and shoes on the floor

(Image credit: West Elm)

Whilst having one big light on may be practical, in a smaller entryway, it can actually change the appearance of the space for the worse.

“A big light in a small entryway will make it feel even smaller,” says Dara.

He suggests using table lamps and creatively using LED fixtures to keep the size of lights in use down, and make your small entryway look bigger.

You could place LED lights or string lights on walls, inside cupboards, and on console tables to create a dreamy, cozy ambience. 

5. Varied color lighting

A glass pendant light hanging in a white entryway with a mirror, staircase, and wall art in the background

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Having a mishmash of lighting colors can make a space feel unrefined and uninviting — and nobody wants this.

“Set the tone and flow the look from the rest of the house to the entryway,” Dara says. “If it's white, go with it, or choose yellow and orange shades.”

When choosing bulbs, try to make sure they’re the same ones, or if this is not possible, make sure they’re either all warm lights or bright lights.

Match these with the best colors for small airy entryways to maximize how much they stand out.


What is the worst small entryway lighting mistake?

The worst small entryway lighting mistakes, according to design experts, is forgetting to utilize light at all. The solution for this is using timer bulbs to make sure it's lit at peak times of the day.

How can I quickly rectify small entryway lighting mistakes?

Make sure natural light is entering yours, adding LED lighting to walls and furniture, and turning the lights on regularly.

By making sure the lighting in your entryway works properly in the space, you'll create a much more inviting first impression place for you and your guests.

Getting to grips with entryway decor mistakes will further help when decorating this small but essential space in the long term.

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.