Decorating & Design

July 3, 2011

Ask A Designer: Welcoming Entryway

Q. I need help choosing ceiling lights for my front foyer; I’d like to replace the two existing ones with matching lanterns. The space is 12′ x 18′, with a 9′ ceiling, and includes a closet by the door and a staircase. What size of fixture do you think I need?

— M.M., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Your foyer is already great — I love the character of the transom and the staircase! I think the Oxford lantern (shown) would be perfect here. At 10″ square and nearly 18″ high, it’s grand enough, and using two the same size will balance the space.

Your foyer can also handle more furniture and detail. Let’s bring some drama to the space by painting the inside of your front door Black (2132-10) from the Colour Preview collection by Benjamin Moore. I know, it sounds risky, but it’ll look great with your dark banister. A console table against the wall where your mirror is now will make a convenient spot for dropping mail and keys. I think a demilune table, like Bernhardt’s Huntington style (shown), will work — the angled stretcher at the bottom provides an unexpected graphic touch.

You could either keep the mirror you have now (just raise it a bit) or replace it with some artwork. A grouping of four or six etchings, like those by Lyndi Sales (shown), will build on the traditional architectural details, as in the Inspiration shot. I’d also like to see a tailored bench by the railing instead of your floral chair. Crate & Barrel’s Colette bench (shown) has classic elements like linen upholstery and nailhead trim that will fit well in your space.

A larger rug than the one you have will define the area and introduce pattern. Pottery Barn’s Webster Persian-style rug (shown) has a mix of warm tones that will complement your mushroom-coloured walls. As a final touch, a wicker umbrella stand (shown) will inject a casual note and a bit of texture.

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1. Oxford lantern, Hudson Valley Lighting. 2. Table, Bernhardt. 3. Lyndi Trees etchings by Lyndi Sales, Trowbridge Gallery. 4. Colette bench, Crate & Barrel. 5. Webster rug, Pottery Barn. 6. Umbrella stand, Indaba Trading.

Author: Cameron MacNeil

Jean Longpré (inspiration room); Kim Jeffery (rug, umbrella stand).