We open our homes and invite the world in through our front doors. It often provides the first impression that we give to newcomers, and it welcomes our returning friends and neighbors. But despite its important role giving the initial impression in our homes, the entry to our home is a space that usually gets walked through, but not really lived in. Or does it? Furnish this space properly, and it becomes a reliable support to the entire family.
The hardest working furniture in the foyer are the entry tables. No, they’re not quite as important as the kitchen table, and they don’t get the workout that the coffee table in the family room does. But these tables are the reliable places that help us keep the details of our lives in order. It’s where we drop our keys when we walk in the front door–we don’t need to think about where to look for the keys when we are rushing out in the morning. We leave the stamped bills and birthday cards to drop in the mailbox right inside the front door, at these trusty tables.
Our foyers probably often hold multiple entry tables-maybe one is a console that anchors a mirror (good for last glimpse before you head out to face the world). Maybe another one that acts as storage-it’s got a drawer for the dry cleaning claim check, or room underneath where you can store the diaper bag when you return home or keep the dog’s leash between quick jaunts around the block. But the surfaces of these tables often hold the things that document the work and accomplishments in our lives-this year’s school photos, an award-winning drawing from the neighborhood art fair, or that trophy you won when you finished a 5K walk.
Entry tables come in all varieties. Perhaps you selected one that coordinates with your elegant dining room, one that holds a treasure carried back from a European adventure or a prized wedding gift. Don’t overlook tables that can handle overflow storage from the dining room-stemware and wine bottles, or the box holding your grandmother’s silverware. When you entertain, you can use one of your entry tables to set up a wine bar to greet your guests as they walk in the door. If you have limited space for a home office, you can forego the usual choices for entry tables and use a furniture-grade horizontal file cabinet. It looks like a bureau, but it works like storage.
If you don’t have much floor space for actual furniture, you can install a shelf on the wall opposite the front door, or place a top on a pony wall in lieu of the traditional choices for entry tables. Some entry tables are designed particularly for small spaces, with just a shallow table top and a pair of front legs; you attach it to the wall like a shelf but the legs make it look like furniture.
Since entry tables stand alone in a foyer, and are not necessarily tied to a suite of furniture such as the ones you would see in a dining room or a family room, you can experiment with furniture in different styles or materials in this space. If you have a home filled with contemporary furnishings, you can easily place a family antique in the foyer. Similarly, if you have a country home filled with warm pine and painted furniture, entry tables made of wrought iron and glass might be an easy way to add variety to your furnishings.