Ideas for Decorating a Split Foyer


A signature design feature of bi-level homes, a split foyer typically consists of a small landing slightly above ground level with two short flights of stairs leading to the upper and lower levels of the home. A home with a split foyer limits entryway square footing, creating a challenging decor problem. An abundance of these homes with their open bi-level floor plans built during the 1970s makes them well suited for casual contemporary, modern, eclectic and western decorating styles.

Harmonize with Color

  • Split foyers can feel like a separate room unless you create a harmonious color flow that begins there and continues throughout the rest of the home. Look to the artist’s color wheel to help with ideas for a good color scheme and flow. Choose three colors for the scheme and then alternate between the primary, secondary and accent colors in a ratio of 60, 30 and 10 percent accordingly for a well-balanced and harmonious mix.

    Key strategies for creating color flow in your home include:

    • Creating a monochromatic color scheme that includes darker shades of the same color
    • Selecting neutral colors that have the same undertones
    • Keeping the saturation or intensity of wall color the same

    For example, a subdued charcoal gray color on dining room walls makes a striking accent color on the foyer wall surrounding the door. For a bold splash of color, paint the entry door in the foyer a deep red or blue. A lighter shade of gray or greige -- beige and gray mixed together -- makes a good choice for foyer walls that extend into the upper and lower levels. Stay consistent with the same color of cream or white on all trim. Neutral palettes offer timeless appeal for any decorating style.

    Muting or muddying a color by adding gray or brown can make the original hue appear more neutral. If you want to incorporate more color into a neutral palette, muted or muddy colors are a good place to start.

Create a Destination

  • One simple piece of furniture in your entryway can make guests feel they've entered a welcoming home. Turn a sterile foyer into a warm hospitable one by adding a comfortable bench to sit on. A hall tree with a built-in bench and a tall elegant back sporting built-in coat rack and hidden storage inside the bench offers dual service to family members and guests. Add warmth, texture and pattern with a few accent pillows and a colorful entryway rug.

    Alternatively, a narrow console table with a mirror mounted over it provides a handy place to check one’s appearance before leaving, or a drop-off station for keys or mail upon entering. Two hollow ottomans stored underneath provide storage for footwear and pullout seating when needed.

Design a Gallery Wall

  • For a trendy foyer in a contemporary or modern home, add a photo or art gallery wall in the foyer. A wall filled with your passion injects a sense of your personality into your home -- whether it’s family photos, Art Nouveau prints or scenic landscapes taken on your last vacation. Split foyers often have one or two tall walls ideal for designing a gallery wall of your favorites.

    If you want a display that reflects sophistication, opt for black-and-white photos outlined by white matting and black frames. For an eclectic vibe, mix and match frame styles, photos and artwork. Tie the display into the surrounding visible areas on upper and lower levels by repeating an accent color on the frames or mats.

    Repeating textures or materials can also create a look of unity with the gallery display and the style of the home. In a rustic setting with natural wood trim, use wood frames in a similar stain or finish. If the foyer features lighting with chrome or brass hardware, choose chrome or brass picture frames. For a feeling of spaciousness, use thin metal frames and large white mats.

Add Statement Lighting

  • The lofty space created by a split foyer provides ample room for a large hanging pendant or chandelier. In homes with very narrow landings that don’t provide enough room for furnishings such as a bench or console table, statement lighting helps take the focus off the limited floor space of the entry while creating the illusion of a larger space. An artistically sculpted light fixture becomes an instant focal point for a dramatic, impressive entry. Install a dimmer switch to fine tune the entryway’s atmosphere, whether you prefer it soft and inviting or bright and lively.

Additional Accessory Ideas

  • Enhance architectural features such as a plant ledge in a split foyer with decorative items such as faux or live greenery, baskets, urns and vases. A palm plant or indoor tree placed on the landing creates an entryway that warms and invites guests within.

    One or two large pieces of framed art offer a simple alternative to a gallery wall. Large antique wall clocks or a floor model grandfather clocks creates impressive traditional accents in contemporary settings. Other progressive ideas for split foyer wall art include copper or ceramic wall tile art, hung-on-the-wall wall fountains and planters.

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