Answering Your Questions Part 3: How to Deal With a Front Door That Opens Into The Living Room

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Amie wrote: "Although I am not in the design field professionally, I do love the beauty and functionality of a well-designed space and get so much inspiration from your blog posts.  Your idea of devoting some posts to design solutions for specific spaces/issues is wonderful!  I would love to see you address an issue I have been struggling with.  My home is an older ranch style where the front door opens directly into the living room; I need ideas on how to create an entryway 'without walls'."

Ok, this is one a lot of us have. I have spent waaaay more time than I should wishing my foyer was bigger. But it's never going to be, and we all are far healthier, I think, if we work with what we have rather than trying to make something into what it is not, or worse, obsessing about what we can't have. 

So, for all of you who have front doors that open into living rooms, here is how I would work with it:

1. Make the front door a kick-ass one.

Like it or not, it is going to be a focal point of the room, so it may as well stand out, in a good way. This isn't really a font door, but what if it were? It would be awesome: 

2. Define the entry space and separate it from the living space

You can build an actual division like this: 

Or use a room divider (I like this better):

Or use curtains to define a "foyer" or entry space:

Or even use furniture to define it. Here, a table and a chair, facing in rather than toward the door, does the trick: 

I also love this idea of building a half wall for separation and a mini mudroom:

3. Ignore it.

If the room is more like these, with the door opening into the stairs, leaving a natural walkway and ignoring that there is no separation between rooms is the way to go.

Billy Joel's wife lived in this one, so even people with big bucks face this "problem." In this case, the room is wide enough to just ignore that the door opens into the living room - it's decorated as if there is a wall separating the spaces, and it works great:

The same here - the console and sofa define the space, and would probably be in the same place even if there were a wall separating the entry form the living room:

3. Consider Clutter

Using a console with baskets for keys, shoes, etc., is important.  Especially because the entry area will be seen from virtually every point of the room, it's important that there be no clutter to take away from the intended focal points in the room.

I hope this helps! I love doing this series, so keep the questions coming!!

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Karena Albert said...

Terrific thought and ideas for this design dilemma. Like Billy JOel's wife's living room. I just treat my entry as separate and it works just fine! Thanks Stacy!

The Arts by Karena

Jennifer@ClassicStyleHome said...

I used to have the same problem until I made an entryway by turning the living room into an office with walls. I tried separating it with a console and really tall vases/lamps to block the view. But, I really should have embraced it after seeing how my extended family works around theirs. They open the front doors and live indoor/outdoor while in the living room. Of course great views of old oaks and pretty flowers on the porch help, too.

Cluny Grey (aka Donnachloe). said...

Love these! But Joel's wife's place does have an anteroom; the door from the outside is not opening directly into the living room. I love the idea of the half wall if there is room, especially with that bench!

Meg said...

I have this problem in my new house. I just try to keep the media console which houses a pretty display of blue and white Asian pottery as clean as possible, despite my husband's best efforts to litter it with his keys and mail and other odds and ends. ;)

Merlin said...

Whoa that front door!! Statement! I'm a believer in stand up screens....just saw the perfect one for that space..all foxed glass. Folding screens can "change" on your whims, seasons, etc. Super ideas! franki

designchic said...

So many great ideas - just love the image from Elliman real estate…gorgeous!

freddyandpetunia said...

GREAT post Stacy!
I LUV your opening salvo to MAKE IT A KICK ASS DOOR! ~Gave me a good giggle too!

Sandra Lee said...

Really good ideas. Our front door opens to a small foyer and when you walk through the door you're faced with the adjoining hallway closet. What were we thinking!!!