It’s All About that First Impression: Lighting the Entryway

You might not give much thought to your home's entryway. After all, it’s a space you breeze through on your way in and out. Isn't it? When you think about it, the entryway literally opens the door to your home’s style and sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s the first thing guests see when they walk in and your only chance to make a first impression. But remember, the entryway not only says “welcome to my home” but also welcomes you home each day! Seems like the entryway does a bit more than you thought, huh? So let's light it up and give it the attention it deserves.

Some entryways are large, open spaces with high, vaulted ceilings while others are more intimate with drop ceilings or quirky archways. They can be tall and wide or long and narrow. Entryways come in all shapes and sizes—just like the fixtures that bring them to light.

First, let's talk chandeliers and pendants. There is no denying that an eye-catching hanging fixture in the entryway makes for a grand entrance. Whether it's a light-colored linen drum with a Boho feel or an intricate modern design that looks like it could just as easily be hanging in an art museum, chandeliers are designed to make those big, bold statements and they work really well in spacious, high-ceilinged entryways.

Image Credit: Avery Large Pendant | Design: Kristina Lynne of Kresswell Interiors

If you have less square footage or an entryway with lower ceilings (or if chandeliers just aren’t really your thing), other fixtures can have that same wow effect. Flush and semi-flush mounts have come a long way. There's so much more to them than that ho-hum one the builder installed. A beautifully-simple, single-bulb flush mount can have just as much of an impact as a sprawling, eight-bulb semi-flush. Added bonus: in entryways with lower ceilings, flush and semi-flush mounts make sure you don't have to worry about your giant brother-in-law bonking his head every time he comes to visit. Flush and semi-flush mounts can be just as much of a conversation starter as chandeliers—just make sure they speak to you first.

Image Credit: Stella Flush Mount | Design: Cassie Bustamante

The star of the show in the entryway is definitely the overhead lighting but other types of lights can play supporting roles. If you have the space, a floor lamp or swing-arm wall sconce by a bench or shelving unit makes it easier to get out and go in the mornings and kick off your shoes in the evenings. Or try a simple pendant suspended low over an entryway table to draw your eye to that favorite family photo—you know, the one that reminds you of the real reason you’re so happy to be home.

Image Credit: Iris Table Lamp | Design: Sarah Caligiuri

Tips & Tricks

How big should my entryway chandelier be?

If hanging a chandelier in the open, with no table below it, add the rooms length and width in feet to discover the ideal diameter in inches. For example, a 7' x 10' room is best served by a 17" chandelier.

What about a pendant?

Pendants should not hang lower than 7' from the floor.