Design · Design Dilemma · Foyer · Inspiration · Interiors · Tips

Design Dilemma: What to do if You Lack a Foyer

A friend was recently expressing how frustrating it is to have a house where the front door opens directly into the living room. It seems that most of the homes built in Chicago in recent years are designed that way. While these homes often have mudrooms by the back door, where people would enter the home from the garage, there are rarely front foyers. The absence of foyers seems especially odd given that these new homes tend to be much larger than the old homes that they have replaced. For some reason, builders have chosen not to allocate any of that extra square footage to front foyers.

The absence of a foyer can be problematic. It can be disconcerting for guests to find themselves in the living room immediately upon entering the home. Often, there is no coat closet by the front door, and it’s unclear where to put your coat and shoes. One of my friend’s biggest complaints about the absence of a front foyer is that whenever the front door opens during the long Chicago winter, the living room is subjected to a direct blast of Arctic air.

So what do you do if you have no front foyer?

Fake One!

This solution won’t eliminate the cold air coming in, but it will give you a place to put your coat, shoes, and keys. If you have a wall on one side of the door you can add hooks for coats and place a small bench underneath for changing shoes. If there is sufficient space, you can add a small table on either side of the door, as well.

Here are some images of small fake foyers:

Erin Gates from Elements of Style

In the entryway shown above, Erin has made the most of a tight space behind the door, adding coat hooks, a basket, and a place for boots.

Better Homes and Gardens

A small table next to the door provides a convenient surface on which to place your keys and purse. In the above example, there is room underneath for boots. The lamp and painting are nice touches. A mirror on the wall above the table would also look good.

House Tweaking

The solution shown above is simple, but pretty. The artwork above the coat hooks is a nice decorative touch.

Traditional Home

Shown above is a very skinny, small console table that may work in a tight space. The garden stools are pretty and useful. If you don’t have a coat closet and have room next to the table, you could add hooks for coats.

Design Sponge

In a very tight space, you could add a narrow shelf, as in the above photo, which may be particularly helpful if there isn’t room for a table. This shelf even has hooks!

My foyerless friend is clever and resourceful, and she has already added a small table, coat hooks, and a bench. What else is there to do?

Build a Partial Foyer

Building a partial foyer is a much bigger project, but I have seen some homes that have successfully added half walls to create a foyer.

Here are some examples of this:

Better Homes and Garden

In the above example, they created a half wall with a built in bench and space underneath for shoes.

building half wall bookcase.jpg
Thrifty Decor Chick

The half wall shown above includes a bookshelf—a functional and visually appealing feature—on the side facing the living room.

Here is a terrific full foyer addition that incorporates a second door:

Douglas Design Studio

The interior windows on the foyer addition keep the space light and open. You would need quite a bit of space to create something like this, but it would definitely help to contain the cold air from outside!

The Spruce

The partition shown above is beautifully done, incorporating a half wall with molding and a classic column, bringing elegance to the space.

Sarah Richardson Design

Above, we see a room with a half wall on one side of the door with sculptural details at the top for added interest.

I hope this post will help generate some ideas for my friend and others who are dealing with the absence of a foyer.

If you have faced this problem, how did you address it?

header image from Cottages and Gardens

3 thoughts on “Design Dilemma: What to do if You Lack a Foyer

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