The foyer is the first space that greets clients when they enter a design studio. It sets the tone for the rest of the office and makes that all-important first impression. Unfortunately, many design studio foyers feel cold, cluttered or dated. A foyer makeover doesn’t have to cost a fortune, however. With some savvy style strategies and a modest budget, you can transform your studio’s foyer into a warm, welcoming showcase space.

Evaluate the Existing Space

Before making any big changes, take a hard look at how the foyer is currently functioning.

  • What is the overall aesthetic? Does it align with your studio’s brand and design sensibility?
  • What kind of impression does the space make? Does it make clients feel comfortable and valued?
  • How is the space being used on a daily basis? Is it cluttered with furniture or supplies that could be relocated?
  • What architectural elements could be better highlighted, such as columns, arched doorways, windows or moldings?
  • What improvements would have the biggest impact? Is it better lighting? New flooring? A fresh coat of paint?

Set a Style Direction

Once you’ve assessed the existing space, define the overall style direction for the makeover. The foyer should reflect the studio’s unique personality while still feeling cohesive with the rest of the office.

Some inspiring style options to consider:

Sleek and Modern

Focus on clean lines and minimalism to evoke a hip, contemporary vibe. Think white walls, polished concrete or wood flooring, Edison bulbs, metal finishes and modern furnishings like Barcelona chairs. Add punchy accents with artwork, greenery or a bright rug.

Warm and Inviting

Make the space feel like an extension of home with warm, natural materials and textures. Incorporate wood furniture, cozy throw pillows, area rugs, abundant plants and flowers. Paint the walls a rich, welcoming color and arrange framed photos gallery-style.

Sophisticated and Polished

Convey refined elegance with a neutral color palette, ornate moldings, stately furnishings and luxe accents. Go for a light gray or greige palette, tufted leather sofas, antique mirrors, pendant lighting, marble console tables and fresh floral arrangements.

Artsy and Eclectic

Showcase your studio’s creative spirit with an eclectic mix of colors, textures, finishes and furnishings. Layer on artwork, collectibles and ephemera. Choose an accent wallpaper or eye-catching paint color. Mix modern, vintage and antique pieces to keep it feeling curated.

Focus on High-Impact, Low-Cost Improvements

You don’t need a huge renovation budget to makeover your foyer. Many simple, affordable fixes can make a big visual impact. Focus your efforts and dollars on just a few strategic upgrades:


Improved lighting instantly elevates a space. Swap out dated overhead fixtures for sleek, linear pendants or dramatic chandeliers. Add adjustable track lighting to accent architectural details or artwork. Install sconces for ambient lighting and wall washing.

Furniture Arrangement

Move around existing furniture and accessories to create better flow and lines of sight. Angle seating toward focal points like views or architectural elements. Float furniture in the center of the room rather than pushing it to the perimeter.


Freshen up accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, curtains, plants and objets. Shop flea markets and thrift stores to find stylish accessories at bargain prices. Display collected items like books, vases, framed photos or small sculptures.

Paint Color

A new coat of paint can entirely transform the look and feel of the space. Opt for soft, neutral hues or make a bold statement with saturated, mood-boosting colors. Accent walls, trim, doors and ceiling beams are great ways to add pops of color.


Replace worn carpeting with hardwood, laminate, polished concrete, tile or vinyl plank flooring. Area rugs layered over hard floors add warmth and visual interest.

Entryway Furniture

Welcome guests with a stylish console or desk, mirror, storage bench or coat hooks. Wood, metal, stone and lacquer pieces make great entryway furniture options. Look for vintage finds or contemporary designs.

Customize the Client Greeting Area

The entry area where clients are first greeted and check in is especially important. Make sure it is tidy, comfortable and aligned with your brand image.

Comfortable Seating

Provide seating where clients can relax while waiting for their appointment. Choose upholstered side chairs or a tufted bench. Top with plush throw pillows and a cozy blanket. Arrange seating in groupings for conversation.

Stylish Reception Desk

The reception desk sets the tone. Opt for a substantial, high-quality desk in a finish that fits your aesthetic – think rich wood, polished metal or lacquer. Streamline cords and supplies. Add a small vase of flowers or tray for business cards.


Make it feel special by showcasing artwork behind the desk. This could be a large statement piece, a salon-style gallery wall or even framed work from your clients.

Waiting Area Amenities

Make the wait comfortable with amenities like:

  • Coat hooks or closets
  • Side table with books, magazines and decor
  • Tray with water glasses and pitcher
  • Wireless charging dock for devices
  • Fresh flowers, plants or small indoor tree
  • Tabletop zen sandscape or water fountain
  • Soothing background music

Branding Displays

Incorporate displays that reinforce your brand, like:

  • Framed client testimonials
  • Portfolio books of project photography
  • Tabletop model or material sample displays
  • Branded pillows, rugs or artwork

Positive Messaging

Use artwork, signage or wall decals with positive phrases, words or images that reflect your brand values. This might include:

  • Typographic quotes or phrases
  • Custom neon signs
  • Framed inspirational manifestos
  • Meaningful photographs, sketches or logo murals

Design a Stylish Reception Desk

The reception desk anchors the client greeting area. Make it worthy of a design studio with these tips:

Choose a Substantial Shape and Size

Pick a desk shape and scale that makes an impression, like:

  • An oversized rectangular slab desk
  • A standing-height angled bar-height desk
  • A spacious round desk or oval racetrack desk

Avoid anything too petite or makeshift looking.

Select a High-Quality Material

Natural wood, marble, metal, lacquer and glass all look chic and luxe. If budget is a concern, get the look with laminate on a plywood substrate. Avoid flimsy fiberboard desks.

Include Built-In Organization

Look for a desk with built-in drawers, shelving and closed storage to keep essentials tidy but out of sight.

Layer in Decor

Top the desk surface with decor that communicates your brand identity. This might include:

  • Leather desk blotters
  • Ceramic planters or bud vases
  • Geode bookends
  • Modern desk lamps
  • Frames with inspiration imagery
  • A tray for correspondence

Mind the Cords

Use cord covers, raceways and zip ties to neatly conceal unsightly computer and phone charger cords.

Light it Up

Use pendants, sconces or accent lighting above or around the desk to create a focal point. Go for bronze, brass, black metal or nickel finishes based on your overall aesthetic.

Add a Personal Touch

A framed photo, fresh flowers or potted plant are small but meaningful personal touches.

Select an Impactful Focal Point

Every foyer needs a focal point – an anchor that immediately catches the eye. This could be a singular dramatic piece of furniture, a collection of artwork, a lighting statement or an architectural feature like a fireplace.

Oversize Mirror

A statement mirror expands the perceived space while also creating shape and interest. Go for an ornate floor mirror, round sunburst design or series of metal framed mirrors.

Eye-Catching Lighting

Make a sculptural pendant or chandelier the star. Cluster glass globes for an exuberant look or choose an oversize drum shade for tailored elegance.

Art Display

Salon-style groupings, oversize pieces and triptychs draw the eye. Float art off the wall with clips or cables for added dimension. Illuminate with picture lights.

Furniture Anchor

A substantial console, armoire, tall bookcase or credenza grounds the space. Top with decor objects, books or plants.

Water Feature

The soothing sound of water attracts attention. Try a small tabletop fountain or modern wall waterfall.


If original to the space, refresh an existing fireplace with new tile, a custom mantle or flanking built-ins. A flameless fireplace insert adds ambiance without venting.

Add Warm, Welcoming Touches

Small personal details make the foyer feel more like an extension of home versus a cold, impersonal office. Incorporate these humanizing elements:


Frame special memories, client testimonials or studio team shots. Arrange in clusters or gallery style displays.


Fill shelves with visually appealing books relevant to your industry. Try coffee table volumes on interiors, architecture, art and design.

Houseplants & Flowers

Scattered greenery infuses life and freshness. Opt for low maintenance tropical plants or change out fresh flower arrangements weekly.


Layer rugs over flooring and include plush throw pillows, blankets and drapes. Select natural fibers like wool, cotton and linen.

Art & Objects

Display a rotating collection of art, ceramics, sculptures or other handicraft. This allows you to showcase different makers and styles.

Incorporate Brand Identity Elements

While the foyer should feel welcoming, don’t lose sight of reinforcing your studio’s brand identity.

Color Palette

Use your brand’s signature color palette in the foyer – painted walls, furniture upholstery, pillows, rugs and accents.


Echo your project material preferences – metals, woods, marbles, etc. This might mean a brass coffee table, marble end table or wall paneling.


If you have a custom studio typeface, put it on display – framed manifestos, signage, wall decals, pillow embroidery.


Proudly display your logo on framed prints, 3D wall art, signage, sconces or custom furniture.


Showcase your work with framed project photography and portfolio books styled on shelves and tables.


Let the foyer reflect the general vibe of your brand – minimalist, warm, moody, playful, modern and so on. Each choice should feel cohesive.

Create Separate Zones

Use furniture arrangement and flooring changes to define separate activity areas within a larger foyer:

  • Entry / greeting zone
  • Waiting area
  • Children’s area with kid-friendly furnishings
  • Working / meeting area with wifi, desk and chairs
  • Display zone to showcase products or materials
  • Lounge zone with more casual seating
  • Reading nook with bookshelves and comfy chair
  • Coffee bar setup with beverage counter

Transition between zones with area rugs in different styles and sizes.

Update Flooring

Worn, outdated flooring can really drag down a space. Replacing it entirely might be cost-prohibitive, but you can fake the look of new floors cleverly:

Area Rugs

Layer antique, vintage or new rugs over older floors. Choose sizes and layouts to define separate zones.

Refinish Existing Floors

Wood floors can often be refinished and restained to look fresh and new again. Tile and terrazzo can also be restored.

Floor Mat

For high traffic entry areas, add a stylish floor mat in a natural fiber like coir, sisal or jute. Use one large mat or a few smaller overlapping pieces.

Vinyl Plank Overlay

This budget DIY resurfacing option clicks together like floating wood floors. Choose a handsome wood look print.

Paint or Stain

Give tile, concrete or wood floors new life with stains and high-durability paints designed for flooring. Think beyond basic gray – try black, navy, emerald or indigo for drama.

Etch & Dye Concrete

Create an aged patina on plain concrete with specialty dyes and etchants. First etch lightly with acid, then apply dye in layers, wiping away top residue to allow color variations. Seal when done.

Display Showcase Objects

Take advantage of the generous foyer space to display special furniture pieces, collectibles or artwork that reflect your brand story and design perspective.

Iconic Furniture

Show off select classic midcentury or modern chairs, sofas or tables. Keep them out of daily work areas, protected and on display.

Architectural Salvage

Fit reclaimed wood beams, factory carts, school lockers or aviation parts into the decor as iconic industrial design objects.

Client Products

With their permission, creatively showcase products you’ve designed for brands. For example, display an iconic sneaker or perfume bottle on a floating shelf.

One-of-a-Kind Finds

Make a statement with unique acquired objects like geodes, fossils, taxidermy, globes, statues or scientific equipment. Prime pieces for focal points.

Archival Studio Material

Pull inspiration by exhibiting archived studio treasures like old prototypes, samples or equipment. Dust off the vintage pen plotter or first-edition portfolio.

Curated Collections

Make arrangements of related objects like stack of vintage suitcases, collection of bird cages, assortment of industrial lights, or wall of old maps.

Add Architectural Interest

Beyond decor and furnishings, drawing the eye upwards reveals the beauty of existing architectural elements. Find ways to creatively spotlight these:


Highlight ornate columns with uplighting or underlighting. Build out column enframements. Drape fabric between columns for a softening effect.

Trayed Ceilings

Paint the sunken panels of a tray ceiling in a dramatic, moody color for definition. Install recessed lighting. Lean floating shelves against the ledges.


Accent wood beams with light. Wrap them in planked wood or metal for a more substantial look. Drape pendant lights from key intersections.


Trace perimeter cornices, intricate medallions and arched transoms with LED strip lighting. Layer mirrors against the wall to reflect and multiply details.


Maximize natural light. Display artwork or products in front of windows as colorful silhouettes. Punch up plain windows with new trim or framing.


Play up beautiful arched doorways and openings by flanking with furnishings and decor. Use adjoining walls creatively for shelving or display. Frame with architectural salvage pieces.


Even unused fireplaces become striking focal points with a fresh coat of paint or tile. Build out the surround with cabinetry, shelving and lighting. Top with artwork or a T.V.

Infuse Creativity on a Budget

Don’t have the big budget to fully remodel your foyer? Get creative with thrifty DIY and upcycling projects:

Chalkboard Surfaces

Turn walls or door fronts into chalkboard surfaces. Frame with trim or custom paint edges. Use for changing displays, scheduling or creativity.

Framed Fabric

Make amateur textile art by stretching and framing scrap fabrics in ornate old frames. Try framing embroidered doilies, lace or flour sack tea towels.

Salvaged Materials

Upcycle salvaged or scrap materials creatively. Ideas include using old window frames on walls, making side tables from machine parts or constructing lights from plumbing parts.


Bring personality with natural elements like pressed leaves and ferns in frames, shadowbox displays of shells or butterflies under glass cloches.

Student Artwork

Ask to exhibit work from local university art students. Rotate the collection quarterly for freshness. It’s a win-win – free wall art for you, exposure for them.

Gallery Walls

Quickly change the look with removable wallpaper or acrylic paints on one focal wall. Start with a bold painted pattern, then layer with eclectic framed art and photos.


Hire a local artist to hand paint a custom mural. Or photograph some of your own designs, print on fabric and create DIY removable wall murals.

Add Fresh Greenery

Plants are an easy and affordable way to breathe life into your foyer. Position containers in corners, on the floor, hung from the ceiling or mounted on walls.

Statement Tree

An indoor tree like a fig or fiddle leaf instantly becomes a sculptural moment. Use grow lights if needed.

Vertical Garden

Attach a series of small graphic planters vertically using a store-bought kit or custom metal strips. Great on plain walls or framing doors and alcoves.

Hanging Plants

Suspended air plants, string of pearls, ferns or succulents are low maintenance. Work above seating, reception desks or open floor areas.

Large Specimen Plants

Place an impressive fiddle leaf fig, monstera or palm in an oversize basket. The larger the plant, the bigger the impact.

Trailing Greens

Let ivy, philodendron or pothos trail elegantly from bookshelves, floating shelves or the tops of tall furniture.

Small Succulents

Use low maintenance succulents to add pops of green. Cluster in a driftwood planter, hang in macrame or display on a floating shelf.