Q: The small entrance foyer (5 feet by 6 feet) to my apartment has a wall opposite the door and an opening to the living room on the right-hand side. How can I make this cramped space look interesting and inviting? I like traditional styling, and I hate clutter.
A: Small foyers like yours do present a challenge, but they can actually be fun to decorate.
Yes, it's important that a foyer be given an inviting appearance, since first impressions will obviously influence how guests perceive the rest of a home. The main objective, however, should be to make the entrance area express the personality of the entire apartment and its residents.
Stylistic preferences will certainly affect the way in which you choose to decorate the foyer. Because you favor a traditional look, I'm not about to propose a country-type or an avant-garde treatment. But an eclectic approach might suit your taste, while also producing an enjoyable atmosphere. Asian-type decor or some other exotic styling for either the wall-covering designs or for the furniture can be very successful.
If you do decide to use wall-covering, be sure that it makes some kind of design statement, regardless of what general motif you select. Its impact doesn't have to be overwhelming, but the wall-covering really should identify the foyer as separate from the rest of the apartment.
Decorative borders can be quite helpful in achieving this effect. And keep in mind that they need not be restricted only to the ceiling level, but also can be appropriately applied around the doorway and other openings as well as above the baseboard. .
Movable, multi-functional furniture is a definite asset in most apartments. In your situation, I would recommend using a flip-top table as a console in the foyer. The photo shows a reproduction "D"-shaped folded table manufactured by Baker Furniture. The original on which it's based can be seen in the Joseph Manigault House in Charleston, S.C. With its mahogany and satin wood inlays, this piece is a real eye-catcher. And it's also superbly functional because it can easily be moved to another room in order to serve as a game table or even as an auxiliary dining table.
To produce a special flavor in your foyer, try illuminating it less brightly than the adjoining room. A few finishing touches, like a decorative mirror with a candlestick lamp and a cachepot filled with greenery or aromatic dried flowers, will guarantee that the space becomes much more than a mere passageway.