5 small entryway storage mistakes designers want you to stop making

Say goodbye to hallway mess by avoiding these small entryway storage mistakes

Small entryway storage mistakes are the worst. Here are three entryway pictures - one blue entrywaywith a bench, one with a vase of flowers, and one of a wooden shoe storage bench
(Image credit: Ella James / Wild at Heart / Oak Furnitureland)

It's very easy to make small entryway storage mistakes, but when you haven't got a lot of space, you can't afford to be waste an inch of it. Even just a couple of bloopers can clutter the space and make it feel overwhelming.

There's no need to stress, though. We've got the lowdown from interior designers on mistakes they often see in small homes. From a lack of personalization to shoehorning in larger pieces than a space can take, our pros have seen — and solved — plenty. 

When searching for small entryway ideas, getting your storage game on point is smart. Keep these in mind, nip any small entryway mistakes in the bud and your place is sure to look more stylish. 

Small entryway storage mistakes

When choosing the best small entryway storage idea for your space, it's handy to have the hard-no list on the go, too. 

As well as asking experts what not to do, we've gathered professional solutions and brilliant buys to match.

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

1. Forcing in larger furniture

A small entryway corner with a colorful bouquet of flowers on top of a gold console table

(Image credit: Wild at Heart)

This is a message for all those who have fallen in love with a piece of furniture at the store and found it doesn’t fit properly. Don’t try and force something that’s not meant to be, people.

“The biggest mistake you can make in any small space is trying to force larger pieces to fit where they don't make sense,” says Kathy Kuo, interior designer and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.

A picture of Kathy Kuo in a kitchen with a blue top on
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is an interior design expert and founder of Kathy Kuo Home, which is a premiere e-destination with a beautifully curated collection of luxury furniture and decor and interior design services.

She adds, “There's no one way to design a particular space, but going smaller, or choosing minimalist entryway design tends to work.”

For example, Kathy says if you don’t have enough room in your small entryway for a full console table, you can use a narrow one, a smaller side table, or even a nightstand instead.

2. Underestimating vertical space

A blue entryway with a mirror, wooden console table, and shoe storage

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

You may have placed a couple of hooks on your walls and called it a day in terms of small entryway storage — but utilizing vertical space is a top trick for making a small entryway appear bigger.

“One of the most frequent mistakes I see is underestimating the benefit of using vertical space,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

He says, “Use walls hooks, shelves, and slimline storage units to make the most out of available space without making everything look crowded at floor level.”

Using a combination of these will allow for plenty of space for all your different-sized items.

“These can efficiently contain wearable accessories like hats and scarves and even serve as a display for decorative pieces like indoor plants,” says Ricky Allen, interior designer and director of Ever Wallpaper.

A picture of Ricky Allen in a suit
Ricky Allen

Ricky Allen is the interior designer and director of Ever Wallpaper, experts in high-quality wallpapers and murals, using non-toxic, odorless, and environmentally friendly materials.

By having your outerwear and accessories all in one place, you won’t lose track of your favorite pieces, making the journey out of the front door a lot smoother.

3. Not personalizing for your needs

A blue entryway with a wooden bench with a pink blanket, a wicker basket, and a white lampshade

(Image credit: Ella James)

Whether you’ve gone overboard with storage solutions or haven’t got enough, not considering what you, or the people you live with actually need for entryway storage is a mistake.

“Considering the needs of your household when choosing storage options is crucial,” says Ricky.

He continues, “For instance, families with young children may find storage ottomans more useful, as they can house bulky items which may be over spilling in individual storage boxes.”

Equally, if you’re only living with your partner and have a huge storage unit, you may want to whittle this down to just a small basket each.

4. Using standalone benches as storage

A wooden entryway bench with shoes inside and rubber boots next to it

(Image credit: Oak Furnitureland)

We’re big fans of small entryway benches as they provide a useful place for sitting down and tying shoes before leaving — but if you’re using yours as a dum ping ground, this is a big no-no.

“The bench at the front door often ends up being a place to put coats, bags, and other things,” 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.

He explains, “This not only throws off the space's visual balance but also makes it harder for the bench to do its main job, which is to provide a convenient place to sit.”

Instead, going for a bench with built-in storage is a better solution, as you can store everything inside this and reduce visual clutter. This is a win-win in our books.

5. Choosing open woven baskets

An entryway with a wooden wall and a woven storage basket with a lid

(Image credit: Loaf)

While woven baskets may seem like a great  entryway organization fix, they can become part of the problem if you use them indiscriminately.

Tommy explains, “They can become cluttered and give a disorganized look, which may leave a chaotic impression on you and your guests. Instead, look for concealed storage or baskets with lids, as these will allow you to store all your necessary items without a messy finish.”

If you have some woven ones left over, you could always repurpose them as living room blanket baskets, as they’ll look much chicer like this.

The key to solving the storage mistakes in your hallway is making sure clutter is off the floor and as out of sight as possible. Having mess is one thing minimalists never have in small entryways, and their homes look so much better for it.

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.