Eye Toward Design

Art Deco & Ancient Egypt

Ocean Reveries

Nautical Inspiration and Tasteful Illumination

You Had Me at Hello

Lighting the Entryway, Mudroom, or Foyer

June 08, 2015

You Had Me at Hello

Lighting the Entryway, Mudroom, or Foyer

June 08, 2015

You know that old saw about not being able to make a first impression twice? Well, many aphorisms are repeated so often because they are true. What impression does your entryway make? And is your foyer really where people enter the house, or is it through a mudroom or backdoor of some sort? Wherever you enter your home, that's an area that deserves a little extra attention and tailoring.

So much of that first impression is comprised of the pendant or chandelier hanging there. The kind of fixture and the quality of light selected guides the eye to what architecture features or artwork you would like noticed and makes the impression of welcome.

The style of the light fixture there announces your taste and the prevailing tone of your décor. Is it glamourous and bold? Is it futuristic or ultra-modern? Is it warm and vintage, maybe throwback industrial? Is it tastefully conservative, respectful of tradition? Whatever your sweet spot is, the light hanging in your foyer is the welcoming committee and the style ambassador.

Photo: Nathan Schroder | Light: Millbrook by Hudson Valley Lighting 

Design: Alma Arrieta | Light: Webster  by Hudson Valley Lighting

Picking this light depends so much on the surroundings. A darker interior may require a brighter bulb, and probably exposed ones at that. A shiny interior can increase glare. If that is not the impression you are trying to make, then you may want to dial down the wattage. Perhaps a fixture that uses shades or otherwise conceals the bulbs might be most appropriate.

Mudrooms offer us an excellent opportunity for flush mounts and wall sconces. They pair well with this area’s prominent furniture features: a bench or chair or two for shoe-shucking, a shelving unit for organized storage of bric-a-brac, closets or freestanding wardrobes for coats, perhaps a little table that serves as a convenient resting place for items going out the door or coming in with you. Tying in nicely with smaller paintings, family photographs, artfully arranged mirrors, or other such decorative items, sconces provide a lovely accent while also helping illuminate tying and untying laces. Picture lights can punch up the paintings while all lighting choices add an inviting character to the room.  

Design: Cecilia Walker | Light: Roundout by Hudson Valley Lighting

But setting an entryway up right, with thoughtful décor and the perfect light, is not just about trying to impress guests, friends, and family, nor is it purely functional. As pleasing as it is to receive those compliments and act all humble, it’s really for you, to say "Welcome home" to yourself. When you walk through that door, you want a peaceful, re-energizing atmosphere that lets you know it’s okay to take any armor off you need out there in the world today. 

To tie the space together, you don't necessarily need to use different category fixtures from the same family—which we do offer—nor do you need to match the finish. Or, as a great interior designer likes to say (with disdain), it doesn’t need to be “all matchy-matchy.” You can mix metals, so a polished brass and polished nickel finish fixture play off each other, for example. You might complement features—an arm that scrolls,  a linen shade, a sphere-shaped finial.  

All seasons create muddy days, sometimes muddy weeks. Let your mudroom be the last stop for the mud on your bootsoles, and the first stop for luxury at home. A pop of colour also creates a refreshing contrast to the conditions that create mud.   

Design: Holly Hollingsworth Phillips | Light: Leigh by Mitzi

Here's some quick ideas & tips:

• Maybe you have a little table where you keep keys, a spritzer to freshen up as you walk out the door, and a couple of other last-minute essentials? Get a single-light pendant and hang it low. Really low. Lower than you would usually hang a light, so that it hovers a foot or two over this table.

• When a window allows a view into the entryway from the outside, approaching the house, center the hanging fixture and scale it to this window. 

• Be sure that fixtures in single-story foyers preserve 7' of space from the floor to the fixture's bottom. 

• Flush mounts placed approximately every 10' provide safe passage through hallways, while sconces add eye-level ambiance.

Light: Travis by Hudson Valley Lighting

Header image: Vixen chandleier and Flirt sconce by Corbett Lighting

Design + Photo: Cynthia Soda, Soda Pop Design, Inc. | Kokoro by Troy Lighting