• October 1, 2014

Simple fixes transform, improve home’s design

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Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013 4:30 am

In suburbs across America, traditional townhouses and developments come standard. But let’s say your taste swings more contemporary, or your house dates to the ’80s, is brass-infused and needs an update. One of the best places to start redecorating is the foyer.

“I think an entry should set the tone of the house,” said designer Raji Radhakrishnan of Raji RM & Associates in Washington. You want it to “hint at what’s to come inside.”

If your entry hints that you’re boring and tired, don’t despair. Designer Regan Billingsley offers this advice: “Updating an entry can be as simple as painting or changing light fixtures, rugs and accessories.”

Radhakrishnan and Billingsley, who are each working on foyer projects, offered a few ideas for inspiring awe upon arrival.

Furniture with form and function

The challenge with entries, Radhakrishnan said, is that “you want to balance both function and beauty. ... You want it to be useful to hang your coats, remove your shoes, bags, et cetera, but you also want it to be pretty.” Coat closets are traditionally the best way to tame the clutter. If you don’t have one, try a hall tree. “It is multifunctional — usually with a mirror, coat and hat hooks, and umbrella stand all in one,” Radhakrishnan said.

Entries should have “a great console table, a bench if possible,” Radhakrishnan said.

“I almost always use accessories that add a pop of color as an opportunity to introduce other colors that appear throughout the house,” Billingsley said.

For another way to introduce color, Billingsley said, try painting or wallpapering the interior of your foyer closets. “On a dreary day, a fuchsia, periwinkle or Kelly green closet can make putting on your winter coat a lot more fun.”

Welcome guests with lighting

Good lighting in an entry is critical. Use it as an opportunity to signal your style. “If the ceiling is not too short, hanging a light fixture — not a chandelier — such as a lantern or pendant will give the space presence,” Radhakrishnan said.

Bring your entry into this century with just one switch to a neo-traditional pendant.

“Entries with really tall ceilings will need a variety of lighting, including hanging light fixtures, sconce and table lamps,” Radhakrishnan said.

“One accessory I urge every client to add to their entry is a table lamp,” she said. “It can be set on a timer to ensure that everyone in the household walks into a lit space.”

Put accessories to work

“For a small space, entries do a lot. They hold keys, coats, rain boots, hats, dog leashes and more. I like to find accessories that are functional yet unique,” Billingsley said. “An umbrella stand, a shoe rack, a mail sorter and a key tray are all opportunities to organize in an artistic and individual way.”

And because rain and mud won’t contain themselves to boot trays and umbrella stands, look for a durable rug for the entry hallway. Make sure that it’s a “rug that will look good even when used for wiping dirt off your feet,” Radhakrishnan said.

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