A Dozen Foyer Ideas for Under $100

When you open your front door, do you step into what looks like a lost-and-found? Here’s how to organize the jumble and avoid a bad trip.

foyer of home with wood console table gold mirror against gray wall and modern white front door of entryway
Image: PC Photography/Getty

If there’s one place in the home that cries out for organization, it’s the foyer. Navigating it can even become a safety hazard, not to mention other dire consequences. Lose your car keys, and you're late for work. Homework goes missing, and your first grader has a tantrum. Can’t find the dog’s leash, and uh-oh, there's a puddle on the floor.

Whatever the size of your foyer — whether it’s a grand, two-story space with commodious closets or barely a space at all — here are essentials for a more functional foyer that’s also more fun.

1. Wall Color

Conventional wisdom says white paint creates the illusion of larger space. But unless you have a really tiny vestibule, you can afford to go bold in a room you pass through quickly. So, go ahead and wow visitors with a pop of something fearless. Orange? Scarlet? Teal? Washable high-gloss paint makes short work of scuff marks and fingerprints. A gallon should do it. Average: $41

Do keep the ceiling white, though, to head off claustrophobia.

Related: How to Pick Paint Colors

2. Easy-Clean Flooring

A foyer needs a floor that can handle the wear and tear of comings and goings. Sure, ceramic or marble are nice, but self-adhesive 12-inch-by-12-inch vinyl squares go down easy, can be laid on a diagonal for a diamond pattern, and cost an average of $1.05 per square foot. Black and white checkerboard is classic and graphic, but you can also create stripes, a contrasting border, and any color combo you like. Just make sure you choose something that works with the colors in the next room.

3. Room Divider

Don’t have a dedicated foyer? Create one — or the illusion of one — with a room divider to ensure the foyer and all the stuff that ends up there doesn’t leak into the living area. It could be a bookshelf, a screen, or a couple of IKEA’s vertical three-pot plant stands for a welcome-home filled with greenery. $50

4. Boot Tray

Providing one or more trays for wet boots and shoes is a game-changer if you’re used to a pile in the corner. You can find a boot tray for $5 and up or borrow a large aluminum baking sheet with a lip from your kitchen collection.

5. Bench

You need something to sit on while taking off those muddy boots. If it’s built-in and hinged for inside storage (think soccer balls, ice skates), so much the better. But a less-expensive option is to gussy up an old blanket chest or old camp trunk with fresh paint. Find one on eBay or in a thrift store or flea market and you’re good to go.

Related4 Neat and Tidy DIY Storage Ideas

6. Key Rack

Make it an ironclad family habit: When you come in, hang keys immediately on a dedicated key rack on the wall just inside the door. Various options are available made of different materials starting at $12. DIYing one with the kids makes it fun.

7. Coat Hooks and Shelves

Be as generous with coat hooks as wall space allows, but don’t let things get out of hand. Stash anything not currently in season or in use in the nearest closet. If you need more space for hats, bike helmets, and items only the grown-ups need access to, add a shelf. A continuous shelf running around the room just a foot or two short of the ceiling makes use of vertical space and keeps less frequently used items out of the way. 

8. Umbrella Stand

Another must: a spot for umbrellas in a corner near the door. Buy a pretty one, or repurpose a tall wire wastebasket.

9. Table or Console

If you have room, go for a narrow table or console for library books that need returning, outgoing mail, a lamp. Many are available online for around $100, or find a spruce up at a flea market or thrift store.

10. Lockers or Cubbies

Really squeezed for space? You can still give each kid their own little cubby for books, homework, gym gear. Cubbies are available at all price points.

11. Mirror

A wall mirror for last-minute hair check and tie-straightening is vital. Bonus: It reflects additional light into the room.

12. Good Lighting

The all-important entry area needs ample illumination. Did you know that outdoor lanterns tend to be much less expensive? Nowhere is it written you can’t use one indoors. Styles vary from rustic to traditional to Arts and Crafts, and prices range by style and material.

RelatedLighting Isn't Cheap: Here's How to Do It Right

Cara Greenberg

Cara Greenberg is a veteran writer on architecture, design, and gardens for magazines and newspapers, including This Old House, Coastal Living, and Garden Design. Her blog, casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun and Profit, is based on her experience owning six properties.