The entryway sets the tone for your home. It’s the first space guests see when they walk through the front door. While small entryways can feel cramped or cluttered, they offer prime real estate for making a stylish first impression. With a few simple updates and decorating tricks, you can transform even the tiniest entry into an inviting, functional space for welcoming guests.

Here are 8 weekend decorating projects and DIY ideas to makeover a small entry.

Declutter and Organize

The first step in decorating a small entry is editing. Take everything out of the space and sort items into “trash”, “donate”, or “keep” piles. Be ruthless about removing unnecessary clutter. For items you’re keeping, invest in some organizational tools:

  • Coat racks or hooks: Hang coats and bags so they don’t take up floor space. Opt for a space-saving coat tree, decorative hooks, or floating wall racks.
  • Cubbies and baskets: Corral smaller items like gloves, scarves, and keys. Built-in cubbies keep essentials handy but tidy. Woven baskets also add warmth.
  • Shoe storage: Use a bench with built-in shoe storage or buy a freestanding rack. This keeps floors clear and shoes tidy.

Thinning out clutter makes the entry feel more spacious and welcoming. With surfaces cleared, you’ve also created a blank canvas for decorating.

Add Full-Length Mirror

A mirror is a must for small entryways to visually expand the space. Hang a full-length mirror near the front door so guests can check their appearance before entering. Opt for a leaner mirror to save space and highlight vertical height. Avoid ornate heavy frames that feel bulky.

Position the mirror where light hits it best. Well-lit mirrors cast a brighter, happier vibe in dark entryways. Place near a window, or install sconce lighting on each side.

Install Wallpaper or Wainscoting

Another decorating trick for small entries is installing wallpaper, board and batten, or wainscoting panels. These vertical elements draw the eyes up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold patterns or contrasting colors also help ground the space.

Stick with light, airy wallpaper motifs to prevent a crowded feel. Neutral or white wainscoting keeps things crisp, not cluttered. Limit wallpaper to one accent wall so the space doesn’t feel busy.

Paint or Stencil an Accent Wall

Painting one wall a different color adds character without overwhelming a tiny entry. Opt for a soft neutral or greige tone paired with crisp white trim. Use the accent wall behind a console table or mirror to highlight those features.

Beyond painting an entire accent wall, consider stenciling a pattern. Geometric shapes, floral designs, or nature silhouettes add subtle texture and interest at eye level. Keep the stencil minimalist and tone-on-tone.

Add Wall Sconces or Pendant Lights

Proper lighting helps set the ambiance in an entryway. Replace an existing overhead fixture with something more stylish. Wall sconces free up floor and table space in tight corners. For modern flair, hang a statement pendant light.

Aim for lighting that casts both ambient and task light. Layers create a warm, welcoming glow for guests. Put lights on dimmers to set the perfect mood.

Install a Skinny Console Table

Even the smallest entry can fit a narrow console table against the wall. Use console tables to stage decorations or as a drop zone for keys and mail. Look for a console with closed storage to hide clutter quickly.

Seek out skinny tables about 10-12 inches deep. Floating shelves work too. Opt for a console with an airy, open base to maintain visibility. Avoid chunky legs or accents that clutter up the space.

Add a Mirror or Art Above

With a console table installed, draw the eye upwards by hanging a decorative mirror or piece of art above. This balances out the furniture visually and keeps lines of sight open. Floating shelves can also act as ledges for displaying art.

For art, go for an oversized statement piece, or do a gallery wall with smaller prints. Include framed photos, florals, or abstract geometrics. The colors should coordinate with your entryway’s design scheme.

Spruce Up Floors

Don’t neglect flooring when decorating a small entry. Drab floors drag down the whole space. Upgrade with newer materials or quick DIY solutions:

  • Refresh hardwoods by sanding and re-staining.
  • Paint worn tile floors or concrete with epoxy paint.
  • Swap out dated carpeting for patterned vinyl flooring.
  • Lay peel-and-stick tiles or planks over existing floors.

Area rugs also help define zones in open entryways. Opt for low-pile fibers that handle foot traffic. Add a cushioned rug pad for comfort underfoot.

Incorporate Greenery

Plants instantly boost ambiance in small entries. Greenery infuses nature and freshness into tight indoor spaces. Go for hardy varieties that tolerate low light levels:

  • Succulents or cacti on console tables.
  • Snake plants or zz plants in floor planters.
  • Ferns or ivy in hanging planters.
  • Small trees (like a Meyer lemon) in pretty ceramic pots.

Avoid large floor plants that take up precious real estate. Focus on smaller accents sprinkled throughout.

With a few weekend mini-makeovers, you can create a small entryway that feels fresh, stylish, and welcoming. Edit ruthlessly, optimize storage, and use decorating tricks to play up vertical space. With smart planning, even tight corners can make a great first impression.

Frequently Asked Questions About Decorating Small Entries

What color should I paint a small entryway?

For a small entry, stick with light or neutral wall colors to keep things airy. Soft grays, greige tones, and off-whites work well. Reserve bolder colors for accents only.

How do you make a small entryway look bigger?

Use mirrors, vertical elements like wainscoting, and oversized art to draw the eye up. Floating furniture, glass shelves, and airyconsole tables maintain open sightlines. Replacing bulky storage pieces with hooks, racks and baskets also helps.

How can I decorate my entryway cheaply?

DIY projects like stenciling, using peel-and-stick floor tiles, or refinishing existing furniture save money. Target inexpensive upgrades like wallpaper, baskets, removable wallpaper, and lighting.

Should you put furniture in a small entryway?

Furniture can work if you choose narrow console tables and floating shelves. Avoid bulky cabinets or storage benches that clutter up precious floor space.

What flooring is best for small entryways?

Hardy and low-maintenance options like vinyl plank flooring, stained concrete, or ceramic tile work best for high-traffic. Materials that handle moisture are smart picks for spaces near exterior doors.


Turning a cramped entryway into a stylish, functional space is possible with smart decorating tricks. Editing clutter, maximizing vertical storage, and visually expanding walls makes a huge impact. Focus weekend makeover time on high-ROI upgrades like flooring, storage solutions, mirrors, and lighting. Incorporate greenery for an inviting feel. With strategic decorating choices, even the tiniest entry can now make a great first impression.