Did you know that when you show your home to potential buyers, they decide in less than a minute whether they want to see more? If you want to get them past the front door, that first impression had better be inviting.
So, how do you achieve a welcoming first impression? Begin by determining what elements of your home’s entrance might turn off visitors, and start making changes. Sometimes those changes can be as simple clearing clutter, giving it a thorough cleaning and one or two nice accessory pieces. But considering the stakes, you might want to aim for a more ambitious change than just a deep clean; consider what a rich warm color palate, updated flooring (or even a beautiful area rug) and the right accessories can do to charm up an entryway.
You want visitors to step into the foyer and imagine themselves living and entertaining in this wonderful space, and it’s the fine touches that make it happen.
Begin with lighting. Buyers today are looking for higher-end ceiling and wall fixtures that provide generous amounts of warm, rich light throughout the space and stand alone as beautiful accent pieces. Great lighting is not cheap, but if you keep your eye open for markdowns your return on investment will be well worth it. When selecting a chandelier or pendant for the ceiling, make sure the style is current and the size is appropriate. Many foyers have chandeliers that are just too small. Wall sconces should also be scaled proportionately and complement the chandelier or pendant.
A table lamp of 15-18 inches in height is also a nice choice for the foyer, provided there is an outlet behind the table so that no extension cords are necessary. Not only will a table lamp add extra lighting to the room, it can provide an elegant touch to the space. Make sure the base of the table lamp compliments the ceiling fixture and wall sconces.
The next step is to consider your foyer as a preview to the home. It should give visitors a sense of the space and style within, while providing that all important transition between the outdoors and the interior living areas. An accent table to set down a purse, a chair or bench to sit and slip off shoes (if space allows) are popular touches in the foyer. Once oriented to the foyer, visitors will notice how the space flows into other areas of the home.
Now it’s time to assess the space’s color palette. You want colors that compliment adjoining rooms and provide a welcoming feeling that suits the home’s style and price point. Begin by preparing the walls for color, which means removing wallpaper if necessary. If the home has white moldings throughout, then the foyer should also have moldings and trim painted white. We like semigloss paint in the foyer, since it provides a rich-looking color base and cleans easily, something that is important in such a high-trafficked area.
If the rest of the house has stained woodwork, make sure that the foyer’s woodwork is stained to match. Remember, your focus is to provide a preview to the rest of the home, so it is important that trims and colors are consistent. Bear in mind, your front door stands alone and is allowed to make a statement of its own without following interior themes.
Next, choose furniture for your foyer scaled to the space. Installing furniture pieces that are too big will make it appear cramped, cluttered and uninviting. A table (either round or console depending on the size and shape of the space) is a standard foyer piece, but if the foyer is very small or part of the living room, try to find a wall mounted shelf to avoid using limited floor space. A shelf needn’t be expensive and can show the prospective buyer that they’ll have a place to drop keys or a purse.
If the foyer is larger than 12′ x 12′, you may want to add a bench or chair (or both) to create a welcoming seating area. Accessories should be non-personal and limited—you don’t want to clutter up the space with accessories. Add just enough to provide a polished finishing touch. If there is a large expanses of blank wall in the foyer (and visible stairway) we suggest hanging a framed art piece in the space, as well as above a console table or shelf.
A vase of fresh flowers on the entryway table gives life to the space, bringing the outdoors in for an elegant touch. Choose local varieties of flowers in one color that will last a week for convenience. If the table you’ve placed in your foyer is large, a beautiful dish or bowl with or without wrapped peppermints is a nice touch.
One last bit of advice, if the foyer is carpeted have it deep cleaned before you begin showing the home, and take preventative measures to keep it clean, especially in wet weather. A mat outside the front door should be used by visitors to wipe their shoes, and a washable throw rug or mat indoors for people to slip out of their shoes on will help keep the carpeting clean and show-able.