How to Build a Foyer Entrance


A foyer entrance is a receiving space for guests and a transition from outdoors to indoors generally identified by a waterproof flooring material. A well-planned foyer accomplishes both of these objectives functionally and attractively. However, many people live in homes where the front door steps right into the living room. Fixing this design mistake is not expensive, but the results can make your home feel more gracious and welcoming.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 1/4-inch graph paper
  • Straight edge
  • Tape
  • Tracing paper
  • Front door
  • Flooring
  • Light fixture
  • Built-in cabinet
  • Mirror
  • Chair
  • Measure the room that the front door opens into. Transfer the measurements onto 1/4-inch graph paper. Note the location of all windows, doors, closets, hallways, niches, fireplaces or other architectural features. Mark the closest overhead light fixture.

  • Tape tracing paper over the graph paper. On the side of the paper list the items your home is missing. You need an overhead light fixture inside the door. There should be a closet for coats, a separation from the foyer to other rooms, a place to sit, a mirror, a change of flooring material.

  • Draw a line at 90 degrees from the front door wall on your paper. This line should be 6 inches or more from the side of the door. If your living room is a wide room, use more than 6 inches. The door should open and swing toward an existing wall. If the door is centered in a large open wall, then you will draw a second line on the other side of the door. Make the second line the same distance away from the side of the door as the first line. The correct door swing can be determined by stepping outside your home. If there is a wall on the porch, the knob should be away from the wall. If the porch is open, the knob should be on the right side when entering the house. If your knob is on the wrong side, opening the door may feel awkward.

  • Draw your side line at least 3/4 inches long. This is equal to 36 inches or more than the width of an entry door. This is the minimum measurement so that the door will open over a floor that is waterproof, and the door will be flanked so that guests or the interior rooms are not mutually visible. If you have additional depth available, add at least 24 inches to your lines.

  • Draw a second line parallel with the front door wall. This line indicates the thickness of the divider wall between the entryway and the adjoining room. If your front door does not have a coat closet, you should try to create one by making the new cabinet wall 24 inches deep. If you have a coat closet, make the line 18 inches deep. Note on your plan that the wall should be base cabinets below and a nice countertop with square bookcase built above for decor objects.

  • Change the front door to a door with a built-in glass panel. This will bring light and a sense of importance to the door. Change or add an overhead light fixture that is attractive and appropriate to a foyer. Remove and replace the flooring to a waterproof flooring, such as tile or stone, from the end of the cabinet to the door. Add the cabinet to one side. With a deeper cabinet, you can use the lower base cabinet for shoe storage and the upper cabinet for coats. Build in the cabinet from floor to ceiling with appropriate moldings.

  • Add mirrors to the upper cabinet or bookcase area on the foyer side. For a modern look use a square or round mirror centered over the bookcase. This will allow the upper portion of the bookcase to be see-through and decorated on both sides. For a coat closet cabinet, mount two narrow mirrors, one on each cabinet door.

  • Place a basket for catching keys and the mail in a cubbie close at hand. Position a small stool, poof or other interesting chair just beyond the door swing for guests to use when removing their shoes.

Tips & Warnings

  • This type of foyer entrance creates a visual and functional pause that allows guests to prepare for entering the main entertaining spaces of the home.

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