Foyer + Hallway


Up until we recently installed the new pendent light fixture, it’s safe to say that our foyer is the the most neglected area of the house. We’ve done pretty much nothing to this space and since day one; it has simply acted as a passage way between the bedrooms and the rest of the house. Because of this, it hasn’t ever really felt like an honest-to-goodness foyer, but that’s about to change!

Foyer / 7th House on the Left

In the back of my head, I keep asking myself why we haven’t done anything in here until now. I think it comes down to being scared to make decisions, which is funny because you wouldn’t think the smallest area in the house would be that scary. On the other hand, this is the first thing people see when they come into the house. The excuse, “We’re just getting things settled,” expired a long time ago. To help light a fire under us, the ultra-awesome folks at Target hooked us up with a Q+A session with one of our favorite designers and Home Style Expert for Target, Sabrina Soto! More on our partnership with Target and the Target Inner Circle here. Wait, let me add a few more of these … !!!!!!!!!!!

Foyer Talk with Sabrina Soto / 7th House on the Left

I’ve been a huge Sabrina Soto fan for a while – I mean, come on, The High Low Project is genius! The fact that they paired us up with her had me on cloud nine. On top of that, we were extremely excited to tackle the foyer once and for all. To get the ball rolling, Greg and I sat down and put our heads together and came up with a list of questions to ask Sabrina. We also sent her a few photos of the foyer (as empty as it may be) and a photo of our kitchen (since it’s the only room “done” in the house that could give her a since of our style), and a floor plan of the foyer. Here are our questions, along with her responses…

Our foyer is so small and, right now, just acts as a “passage way” between the bedrooms and the rest of the house. What are some easy ways to define the area as a true foyer?

Sabrina: Consider repainting the foyer a different color. Perhaps a shade lighter. This will allow it to stand out a bit from the surrounding paint colors. Warmer colors are considered more inviting and pleasing for guests upon entry. Purchase an exciting lighting fixture. Something that both catches the eye and defines your personality! Hang a mirror for some depth; mirrors also reflect light for a brighter space!

What would be some fun and unexpected ways to throw in our individual personalities in a small space like a foyer?

Sabrina: Artwork is great for visual interest; this is the first space guests see when entering, why not show them a little bit of your personality!? Add some color. This can be accomplished through paint, accessories, or even plants. Choose three colors and work with those. Wall decals are great! Find a favorite quote or image, remove and replace with a new one for a quick change when you want a new look!

This has been one of our big questions around here… does a foyer have to have a mirror?

Sabrina: It isn’t necessary to have a mirror in a foyer, however I would recommend it. Mirrors help reflect light, foyers can often be lacking a full light source. Mirrors in the foyer also allow for those last minute checks before you leave your house. They can also act as a beautiful design element, especially if they have a stunning frame or detail.

What type of rugs hold up well to a lot of traffic, but still look good a few years from now?

Sabrina: Braided rugs and carpet tiles are very durable and hold up very well. There is no pile and therefore great for places with a lot of traffic. Synthetic blends or polyester. Their stain resistant nature is better used for areas with heavy foot traffic than under furniture. Easy to clean and maintain, making them a very durable choice.

An idea that we’ve played around with since we moved into the house is adding clean-lined wainscoting to the hallway and into the foyer and maybe adding wallpaper to the wall on the top. But we keep dragging our heels because we’re wondering if it would make the hallway look smaller or too traditional. Or, with the wainscoting being white, it may make the hallway look larger. What do you think?

Sabrina: Wainscoting is a more traditional look. Consider your design preferences. If you decide to go with the idea, I would paint the upper walls with a neutral paint color. The combination of wallpaper and wainscoting may overpower the hallway slightly. In many cases, less is definitely more. Keep small areas like hallways simple, yet stylish.

If you think the wainscoting would be a good idea, any tips for installing? How high should it go? How would we (or should we) hang art on a “wainscoted” wall? Is “wainscoted” a word? haha!

Sabrina: Typical wainscoting is approximately 36” high off the floor, however there is no specific rule to follow. If your art piece is large, center it between the ceiling and the top of the wainscoting. There should be a minimum of 3-4” between the art and top of the wainscoting.

We’re thinking about painting the interior of the front door black. We thought it would add some interest and make it stand out since it’s so close to the closet doors. We painted the interior side of the exterior door in the laundry room back and we really like it. But, is it a good move for the foyer or should we pass?

Sabrina: Painting the door any color definitely does add visual interest. Darker doors do add a heavier element to the space and certainly stand out to make a statement. If you want your front door to be defined, I think it’s definitely an idea to consider!

If you had the chance to do a total makeover of the space, what do you see? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sabrina: Incorporate pops of unexpected color through accessories and art. Hang an oversized art piece adjacent to the door or something that defines you and your personality! As there are no windows in the foyer, I would definitely consider incorporating a decorative mirror for some light reflection. Play with your elements and textures. Natural woods look great paired with some glass or reflective surfaces or accessories. Consider a console table for key storage, etc.

To be able to pick her brain was seriously like a dream come true!!!!! I just had to add a few more exclamation points! After our chat with Sabrina, we had a brand new outlook on the foyer and what we wanted to bring to it. For starters, we’ve decided to nix the wainscoting. Sabrina was totally right: even though we love the idea of it, it’s a more traditional look, and since we’re going for “fun rustic modern”, it would probably end up being a step backward for us. If for some reason we decide later down the road to go a more traditional route, we can always add it to the mix.

After a little list-making session, Greg and I have come up with a game plan:

  • Paint the inside of the front door red to match the outside. After loving the look of the foyer door open, we ditched the black and with went red. Photos coming on Wednesday!
  • Repaint the walls a lighter shade to brighten up the space.
  • Shop for and hang a fun light fixture. Check out that here.
  • Find the perfect low-pile rug.
  • Find a foyer table that will fit the space well. More on what we got soon!
  • Hang a mirror over the table.
  • Pair natural wood tones with some glass / reflective surfaces.
  • Add personality with art, photos, books and color.

Now that we have a solid plan in action, this space should come together in no time flat. Over the weekend, we tackled painting the front door (more on that on Wednesday!). and we’re excited to get the ball rolling. Oh, and two more things to add to the to-do list: Stop thinking so hard, and don’t be afraid to make decisions! ; )

PS: Be sure to enter our latest giveaway, hot off the press!

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  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    March 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

    What a dream come true! I love Sabrina. How awesome to get her specific ideas on your space. Can’t wait to see it all come together!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 10:50 am

    So jealous! Sabrina is awesome & it sounds like she had some great ideas for you guys. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space.

  • Reply
    Sarah M. Dorsey
    March 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Amazing – Sabrina is awesome! And some great tips, your space is going to look great!!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Wow, amazing to hear from her. I’m also a huge fan and really appreciate how realistic advice about how to restyle, revive and recreate spaces. I can’t wait to see what you did.

    {an inner circle friend!}

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    OMG!!!!!! I would totally be going fan girl on her! lol!
    Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Reply
    Meghan B
    March 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Wow! Having her as a sounding board like that would totally make my year. What valuable information and advice!

  • Reply
    Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog
    March 25, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Ahhh! You lucky ducks! What a fun opportunity! I loved Sabrina’s suggestions and your future plans for the space! Can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

    ~Abby =)

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    How exciting. Good luck with everything.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    How fun! I love her ideas for the space-I bet you had so much fun! I like the extra exclamation marks πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating
    March 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    What an amazing opportunity! Sabrina is portrayed on TV to be a very down-to-earth designer, and I’d bet she’s that way in real life as well. I do love the concept of “The High/Low Project” because most HGTV viewers have small budgets. I watch “Million Dollar Decorators” if I want inter-personal drama. I watch shows like Sabrina’s if I want reality!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      She is! Out of all of the TV designers, she and Genevieve are our favorite πŸ™‚

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