#ICYMI this Friday on Evenings With Emmalyn , I tackled organizing that entryway! It’s the first place our guests see, and the last place we stop before running out the door. It should be able to be both welcoming and functional, right? Here are my tips on how to do just that, with a full blog post on how I did it below.
When we first come home from a long day, what do we do? We walk through the door, kick off our shoes, drop our bags or keys, and keep it moving. Yet that space, which quickly becomes the “drop zone” for all backpacks, shoes, packages, mail, grocery lists, things you want to remember to bring with you in the morning or just plain things you don’t know what to do with yet don’t exactly make for the cleanest and most relaxing entryway when you come home or welcome guests. It’s also the last place you’d think to check when doing those last minute cleanups before those guests DO show up, and nobody wants to be cringing at all the stuff on the side when they go to swing open that door to let in whoever is dropping by. There are two reasons for decorating: making a happy home, and a good impression on your guests. For each of these reasons, the first thing one sees when they walk in makes a bold statement about your home life. Is it family in the kitchen filling the home with delicious smells, ready for a warm embrace? Is it a cozy living room that invites all who enter to take a load off and relax? Maybe it’s an impressive staircase that makes for a bold, beautiful statement!
For our new home, it was a unique combination of a convenient coat closet and right-there stairs that lead to a beautiful landing. The landing, boasting a french door and a window that offers a sneak-peak into our beautiful sunroom, had SO. MUCH. ROOM! It certainly wasn’t what we expected when we first walked in, but I instantly saw its potential to be transformed into a charming, welcoming entryway with plenty of room for us to kick our shoes off and a deep breath at the end of the day. There was just one problem-the COLOR! To me, it felt…vanilla. This room had SO MUCH MORE potential than vanilla! So, hubby and I got to work painting in the beautiful shade of “Gray Owl” by Behr.
Have you ever painted with your significant other? Let me tell you…unless you like to paint, it can be a CHALLENGE! I learned very, very quickly that my husband is NOT a fan of painting. This, for me, was kind of a letdown as I was super excited about the project, but lucky for me he’s a good sport and seeing how happy it made me he stuck it through. We’re both so glad he did-now, the room looks ten times better! On first application, if you’ve never used this particular shade before, it can appear almost white in its first coat. Trust me, keep going..it’s not! Since we had such a light base to begin with, we wound up only needing that one coat to bring out the light grey I fell for in that hardware store.
For us, a recently married couple living in a seaside city, we’re not quite at the point yet where we need the backpack hooks and cubbies. All that means is that we need something simple for the moment: a place to put our shoes, our keys or a bag, some hand sanitizer (lest we forget for a second that we’re in a pandemic), and a way to keep track of what we both have planned to keep our communication game strong.
First, I started with this simple shoe rack from Wayfair. I loved the detail on the sides, and it fit perfectly with the black and white theme I’m going with against the light grey walls (see more about how we painted our entryway here). On the top level of the rack, I left the essentials: paper & pencil so we can leave each other notes if we need it, hand sanitizer, and a lint roller to get all that pesky dog hair. Some simple faux flowers in a glass vase brightened the space up quickly!
Above, I placed a dry-erase calendar so we can keep track of EVERYTHING: our dog’s medications & flea prevention, important dates & deadlines, when certain bills are due, etc. (When it’s the first thing you see when you come in, having a reminder every day makes it easier to stay on top of things!) To the side, a simple picture frame of some of our favorite memories accented the calendar perfectly.
My favorite part of this whole experience was, surprisingly..making our personalized mail holder! Guys..you have NO idea how long I’ve looked for a new mail holder. Shopping from home is really difficult when you just can’t find anything you like online, and know it’s probably sitting somewhere on a shelf at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, or Christmas Tree (aka my three FAVORITE places to shop!). More than restaurants and bars, I honestly think I’ve missed these three places the most through this pandemic. Yet, when you can’t find something you like, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and get creative. Luckily, my neighbor happened to be getting rid of an old wall mailbox. From the moment I saw it, I KNEW it had potential to be exactly what I wanted. So, I got to work!
First, I had my husband cut it in half since we only needed one slot for each of us. Next, we sanded it down and added a coat of Benjamin Moore white paint before I began stenciling our names on. Yes, this did take a bit more time than just hitting “click & ship”, but it was SO worth the effort once we finally got it hung up and it matched perfectly!
We all by now have heard Marie Kondo’s rule, if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bring it in. This echoes a theory by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s one of the quotes that first got me interested in interior decorating & design, and was a huge inspiration for me while I worked for a corporate home decor company in Boston. Yes, this means you’re going to have to look in many different places until you find all the right accents. The rug, chair and pillows were from Wayfair, but the picture the room was centered around came from T.J. Maxx, my beautiful whiteboard calendar from Homegoods, and the frame the bottom photo is on from Christmas Tree. It’s taken me YEARS of sourcing for these all to fit together in this way, in the right room, now- and I had many other old things I considered using but didn’t, as well as adding new things. The point is, it takes time and searching for a room to really look like a magazine. “I couldn’t find what I wanted so I just bought this even though it doesn’t match” is a frame of mind that can distract from the entire atmosphere of the room, without even meaning to. Instead, think outside the box: can you paint/spray paint something the right color to match? Can you ask your friends for stores or websites you maybe haven’t tried yet? If you REALLY love something that doesn’t fit, are you willing to change the room around to fit that specific piece? These are all questions that it’s okay to ask, and are common ones you should be asking in every room of your home you touch.