Small entry area: ideas? (pics included)

melle_sactoAugust 15, 2008

We have lived here 6 1/2 years--1200 sq ft starter home. During a recent kitchen remodel, I asked DH to build an additional wall to divide the entry from the dining room for privacy. I really like the wall, and I thought it would give me some decorating/storage ideas, but it hasn't. I was hoping you guys could give me some ideas for decorating and storage in this small space. Otherwise the entry is almost a complete waste of space. My decorating style is transitional/eclectic.

The wall opposite the front door is the side of a built-in storage unit that was here when we moved in. DH gave it an electrical outlet so I could put my aquarium in it. That wall is about 6' from the front door. The switch on that wall, directly across from the front door, controls a little light inside the display unit. The recessed wall is the new wall I asked him to build; it's 9' from the front door and 4' wide. To the left of the recessed wall, you can see a dining chair in the foreground and a small snippet of kitchen counter beyond.

Here is what the entry looks like when a person enters the house from the front door:

Looking into the entry from the living room (directly left from the front door) is the view of the aquarium and the hall leading to bedrooms. The door adjacent to the front door is a small coat closet:

A third view of the entry is from the dining room/kitchen. In this view you can see that the garage door is about three feet from the front door. It really bugs me b/c guests that are unfamiliar with our house have often tried to leave using the garage door. I wish there was an easy way to make it more obvious which door is which. I recently bought the storage trunk/bench b/c we are no-shoes house and it's a nice spot to take off/put on shoes.

I've thought of putting shelves on the recently-added wall, I've also thought of putting shelves on the wall between the front door and garage door. I don't know what I'd PUT on the shelves, so I haven't gone through with buying/installing shelves. I feel frustrated with the entry so I just ignore it, for the most part. It would be nice to have something pretty and welcoming. I have a 3 1/2 year old son and, within a year, plan to have a second child.

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Not knowing the dimensions....I would put a small chair and side table in the corner/wall beside the aquarium. Or a tall plant and definitely an interesting painting. This may seem odd, but I might also paint the coat closet door and trim around it the same as the walls. Perhaps all the doors is what makes this a tad difficult.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:13PM
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I personally wouldn't put anything else in the space as it's pretty small already and less room to manoeuver (with winter coats on) and more ":busyness" to look at might not be so great. What I would do is make up a funny cute little sign saying "This is the garage!" and hang it on that door.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:16PM
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hummmm I am one to shoe horn in too much furniture. I am the queen of too many little pieces. UGH.

I agree not knowing the measurements makes it harder to suggest. Guessing about 8 or 9 foot from front door to new wall. But............... Since the other door is the garage door. I might consider building a narrow half wall far enough out to be able to turn your little bench out from the wall. If there is room. Or get a closed cabinet with nice looking back or back you can make nice looking and set it out from the wall. Might give the REAL front door more of a feeling or entry. Would have to set the wall or cabinet close to the garage entry door as possible.

I would like to see a hall tree on that new wall even though you have coat closet.

One more might be to change your front door to one with more glass in it.

Here we enter between the kitchen and living room and REAL front door is not even used because it faces the side yard and not the street so don't take my advice. It is not the conventional way at all. Heheheheh


    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 8:33PM
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I'm not sure what you'd like to store in this area. It looks like you already have a bit of storage in the entry area below the aquarium and in the coat closet. I like an entry with a space to put your things on as well as a place to remove and put your shoes. On the new wall have you thought about putting a shallow table with open cubbies below for people to put shoes etc. in. The tabletop would be a nice spot to drop your keys, and put a vase of flowers or a plant, and a small lamp so you don't enter by aquarium light. How about a favorite picture, or fun framed kid art on that wall above the table to bring in your favorite colors and a mirror on the wall between the doors across from it - reflecting your chosen art and colors. You could soften the area and let in natural light by putting a curtain, gathered on top and bottom, on the sidelight window instead of the blinds. Maybe a bit of an area rug in the space between the new wall and the shoe bench for those newly shoeless to feel comfy on. And to avoid visitors using the garage door to exit you could paint it and it's frame to match the walls, or in a color nearly the same as the walls. You could also paint the closet door this way. This would highlight the white entry door and give a visual cue. I can see the new wall helping to make this a great welcome and transition area for your home.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 10:55PM
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Thanks for taking the time to read my post everyone! I don't know that I've ever considered painting out the closet and garage doors, but I think that's a great suggestion.

What do you think of this shelf for the "new" wall (which is nine feet from the garage door). I imagine that shoes could be stored under it, temporarily. Often, when guests are over, the shoes become quite a mess.

Also, the aquarium cab storage below the tank hold my aquarium stuff (filter, air pump, accessories, etc).

Here is a link that might be useful: bookshelf for entry

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 1:28AM
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I have that same bookshelf in a distressed maple. It may be longer than you expect and is rather low.

Something tall is needed in one of the spaces. Or hanging on a wall. Where were you going to put it?

I like the idea Shades suggested. A wall between the garage and window could even have a cubby with shelves in it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:59AM
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Sorry I missed the measurement in your first post. Reading it again I see it now. As I see it your new wall edge and the distance between garage door and front door would not line up. Being you have a little one a shelf out from the wall at the garage door might not be safe if he could pull it down on himself. We have the nine light doors and you can get the divisions between the glass for easier cleaning. A window in the front door would make it appear more like the front door.

Cute shelf. I have one sort of like it and it is hard to dust. Not that I do not have a gazillion things in this house that is hard to dust. :^(

And Sending a wave back at good old Sacto from a CK McClatchy Graduate. Hehehehe


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:28AM
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I'm afraid that a wall between garage door and window will make the front door feel really enclosed if it's wide enough for the bench--that would be about three feet and I think it would leave a narrow passageway into the rest of the house. What about something only one or two feet wide?

As for the bookshelf, I was thinking it could hold our dictionary, library books, and books for the kids to read. We don't have any place for this stuff in the main living areas. I was imagining we could hang a mirror or some pictures on the wall above the bookshelf and I imagine it would function like and entry table/storage unit.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:33AM
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I also like the idea of changing the front door--I've never liked the door we have. Budget is an issue, though, and our door is perfectly functional. I may start patrolling Craigslist for a pretty door and see what might be out there.

Question about door with more glass: we have a security door as well, would a glass door look inappropriately obscured behind a security door?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:32AM
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Melle, Not knowing what your security door looks like it would be hard to know if it would look ok with the glass door.

I had a custom door done where they added the window and I think it was about$180.00 for door and window. That was 4 years ago. You might look into seeing if they can add a window below the arched window in your existing door. I am looking at my nine light doors here and the top above the window is 4 3/4 inches. You do not look like you have that much solid above the window on your door. Hard to tell in a picture. Guessing closer to 2 1/2 to 3 inches.

Still you might check into seeing if they make an inset that can be set below the arched window you have. Nothing to loose but time to check into it. It is the frugal coming out in me. LOL

Then all you have to do is take your door down and let them cut it and set the window in. The added window in my door was about $75.00 because I had the grid between the glass panes.More expensive. Easier to wash.

Phew Rocks raked, me cooled down a little, off to mow our neighbors lawn for her. Then my day is done.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Thanks for sharing your door story :-) Our door is metal and probably not worth modifying. I've never liked the little arched window anyway. I've been taking care of yardwork as well (and taking little breaks to read GardenWeb--my "vice"!!!). I did mention changing the door to DH b/c I have never liked the door OR the sidelight. I'd like a sidelight that has at least partial privacy glass and wouldn't require a covering. We will probably live here another five years so it might be worth changing to a door/sidelight I like.

To all:

Still debating that black shelf-as-entry-table. I really like its style and I think the "new" wall needs something, I just don't want that something to be too deep (and obscure the aquarium) or too dark and heavy-looking (entry area is already kind of dark) or "wrong" for the space. We DO need a place to hold mail/stamps, library books, JUNK (in discrete bins, of course)...the things that gather around the front door while waiting to be put away or taken out. Even shoes--often shoes aren't immediately put away so they could quickly tuck under that shelf.

The length of the shelf is good, too: 34" wide for a 48" wall. If centered, then I'd have ~7 inches of space on each side. I measured the height, seems good for a "table". I might also mount some decorative mantle shelves or something on the wall above the shelf and display photos. I have nowhere to display photos otherwise where people might actually look. It would be something nice to look at while sitting on the bench next to the front door.

I am effectively talking myself into this shelf!!! Should I be talked out of it?


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 5:49PM
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Melle, I like the shelf. Being the lazy house keeper I am I am more into glass fronted things, or solid doors, to keep from having to dust so much. Then again we are in the dirty dusty country so dust is a big time issue for me.You might check out some second hand stores for just the right piece you could modify or Craigs list has great stuff.

And not trying to pressure you on the door but being metal is not a problem. Our doors are metal too.The one we had cut was too. They have a saw that cuts right through them. AND being the frugal person I am I saw a stack of the longer metal and foam cut outs stacked at the place and took all they had home with me and made wonderful strong light weight and best of all FREE shelves for my old storage building we used to have.

I am sure you will come up with the perfect solution for you. I added shelves to a gun cabinet and turned it into a china cabinet. I took an old over the sink kitchen cupboard and turned it into a linen cabinet for our bath. Not done yet. I need/want to embellish it.The old jelly cabinet I am using for a book case would be the perfect thing to put in your space. I think your house might be a little more modern than mine.

OH and I LOVE your side light. I would be laying down/up some stained glass on that in a hurry and doing a pretty mosaic on it.Heheheh Crazy me.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 6:19PM
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I'd go with a console table with a mirror above it for that wall adjacent to the aquarium (the wall opposite the bench). A nice decorative shallow bowl or tray would be a perfect place to store mail and keys, and it's nice to have a mirror near the front door. It will possibly reflect some light from the window in the door as well.

I'd change out the bench for a parson's style chair with a tall plant in front of the window. To define the front door, put a small mat in front of it. That will have the added benefit of being a good place to wipe your feet again when you come in the door. You could move the bench to underneath the console table if you don't want to lose the storage.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:47AM
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I vote for a simple strong display on the first wall that guests see as they enter your foyer.

So -- a round mirror (always handy -- and breaks up all of the vertical lines) with a thin dark table.

OR -- three family portraits (again -- simple black-and-white head shots) -- matted alike in cream or tan woven material for texture and framed in simple black or dark brown frames) THEN add a long thin full-length mirror to the closet door (handy!)

Also -- look for a larger simple clock for the wall space above the dark bench to balance its visual weight.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 10:46AM
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I think the library bookshelf with a very large scale art work above would look great -- would grab your attn when you enter. The bench seat looks great.

Rather than paint the secondary doors, I would paint out the front door a dark color, until you get a new, perhaps, wood tone door. I think that would easily solve the problem of 'which door do I exit?

Might also add a horizontal artwork above the small closet.

It may just be the photo angles, and not noticeable in situ, but the variety of door hardware and door styles bothers me. I like the vertical pulls on the hallway cabinet, and I think I would repeat them on the doors below aquarium. And it would be nice if the trim on the small closet door could match the aquarium cabinet trim. You could even divide the closet door to mimic the design of the aquarium cabinet. Since you remove shoes at your house, the lower cabinet could hold shelves for shoes.

Lastly, and probably an impractical idea: Mount a drapery rod across garage door and tall window, and hang drapes. Pull drapes when you have company. I think maybe this would look nice, but sure wouldn't make it easy to use the garage!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:05PM
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You have a lot going on in that small space. I think I would hang a pretty mirror on the new half wall and quit.

What is all the duct tape along the baseboard and in the corner? Try to remove that.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback! It seems there are two schools of thought: keep it simple b/c there's already a lot going on vs. add extra table etc. I'm still waffling about the shelf, myself! :-)

I like the idea of adding a mirror because it will probably help to brighten the space. Also, I could easily check how I look (or whatever) before heading out instead of running down to the bathroom (nearest mirror).

Re: the tape--> It's the blue tape from when they textured and painted the wall. I would take it off except we need to re-texture part of it again.

teacats--> which wall are you referring to--the wall closest to the door or the wall more recessed from the front door (I think the first wall I see is the recessed wall)? I COMPLETELY agree about the clock. I've never found anything I like so I just keep the old clock. Also, a bigger clock would be easier to read :-)

mjlb--> you're right about all the moulding etc; I'm looking for a cheap fix though, so painting out the doors is probably what I'll do for now. We do have to replace the closet door b/c it has a hole in it so that will be the time for the moulding. All our old interior door mouldings match the closet but whoever put in the new front and garage doors changed it.

evaperconti--> I like your idea about the console table w/bench underneath and a chair by the door. I've been scanning Craigslist but, so far, nothing. Plant won't work, unfortunately, but I could try for some other vertical element.

So many great ideas!!! You guys have given me a lot to think about and helped me to see the entry a little differently. Thanks so much :-)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 12:58AM
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Just a thanks to you for interacting on your post. So many times we respond and the original poster goes away, never to know what their thoughts are or appreciation as you have given.

It is also great to have so many new posters here. Love that interior design is happening too. I keep trying to incorporate things loved from the Decorator's forum into my smaller spaces. Takes a bunch of creativity and thought. Wish we could change the conversation side to a gallery of small spaces and exteriors.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Hi emagineer: You're welcome :-)

I like to read all the comments to my post because I'm very interested in what ideas people generate etc. I posted to this forum vs. Home Decorating because I thought this forum might have people geared toward small spaces. I LOVE reading the HD forum, too! I don't respond very often b/c I consider myself decorating-challenged, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 9:24PM
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Here's an idea thats completely opposite from what you may be thinking, but I'll propose it anyway; I'd rather see something built- in like this; an architectural, non-furniture treatment. This could enhance the aquarium, combine the area into a larger, simpler space and enlarge the look of your entry by eliminating needing another little piece of furniture to clutter up your small space.

More dramatic, elegant, open look, plus E-Z and inexpensive IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 1:13AM
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Nalcar--that is AMAZING!

The white "frame" around the "new" wall does tie it in well w/the built in already in the entry. In fact, your inspiration is the best looking part of the entry! :-) I also think it ties in well w/our living room--the fireplace has a white mantle.

How would we go about doing something like you've depicted? We don't have a router, which DH tells me is what woodworkers use for trim etc. Can something like you designed be built from ready-to-buy pieces?


PS--would little baskets along that shelf (one or two) for things like mail or receipts be too cluttery?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:11AM
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I'm so glad you can see that you really do have a nice entry space, if you think of the area as a whole. Also, that shelf would look great with a basket or two, or a nice decorative plate for mail, or small set of console lamps, etc.... anything would be fine just whatever looks good. I'm sure you have ideas.

This project is a piece of cake and could be done with MDF and stock moldings from Home Depot, and a table saw, nails and lots of putty and caulk. Even the shelf edge could be done with simple molding to get a nice edge in front if you don't have a router ( I myself would not use a router for this job).

Also, any handyman- finish carpenter could knock this out in a day.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 1:35PM
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