May 30, 2024
Artwork that reflects homeowners’ culture or personalities is a fun way to brighten an entryway.

Builders embrace the fact that flexible space and cohesion between the indoors and the outdoors are hallmarks of today’s living. In fact, new-home design plans began answering the need for indoor-outdoor transitions before homebuyers actively demanded it.

That’s especially true in the Bay Area and Northern California, where nature is as much a part of our lives as family is.

Over the past few years, new-home construction has emphasized greater use of natural light. Juxtaposed with metals, glass, woods, concrete and light-colored stone the result is a sense of welcoming brightness from the threshold through to the back patio.

Although curb appeal may play a part in first impressions, people generally live in the homes they buy, not on the curbs in front of them. That’s why each entrance to the home provides an opportunity to set the mood, the ambience or the tone for what comes next.

Front porch and walk

Whether it’s a walkway to a few concrete stairs, a long front porch or a courtyard that’s either private or shared by neighbors in a townhome community, think of the approach to the front doorway as the appetizer before a gourmet meal.

Give it character by installing flagstone for the walkway. Or position plants on either side of the front step in colorful, mosaic-tiled pots.

Create dimension by adding solar-powered garden lighting weaving up the walkway. A trellis can attach to a front porch railing for growing fragrant vines such as wisteria or jasmine.

If space allows, add an outdoor cafe table and pair of chairs with comfortable, colorful, weatherproof cushions. Keep a lightweight umbrella nearby to shield the chairs from sunlight at certain times of day.

Open the front door

Talk to the builder in the early stages of construction to learn about choices of front-door styles. Upgraded front doors can make a significant impact on the feel of entering the home.

Glass panes in the upper portion of the front door, panels of side lights on a single-door entrance or a French door option with added windows not only provide texture to the exterior look, but bring natural light inside.

Ask about paint colors for the door. Each builder or community may offer various colors or natural finish options.

Seasonal wreaths can add animation to the front. But some homeowners prefer the simplicity of an unadorned front door. If that’s your style, a subtle welcome sign or saying above the doorway can add a personal touch, as can hanging a planter from an exterior wall next to the door.

Don’t forget the front mats, one outside and one inside. Placing a small, attractive shoe rack just outside or just inside the door with a pair of sandals on it gives guests the gentle hint to remove their footwear.

A good first impression inside

Once inside, give yourself and your guests a place to put things. A stylish coat rack can also be used for hats or purses. A handmade metal or clay dish is a good spot for placing keys.

Mirrors make great artwork, too, and give people a chance to check their windswept hair upon entering. Position a framed mirror with hooks beneath it just inside the entryway for hanging keys, hats or even dog leashes.

Artwork that reflects homeowners’ culture or personalities is a fun way to brighten an entryway. Go ahead and choose scenes or photos that make you smile.

Enter smoothly from the garage

On the garage side of this entryway, consider placing a bench seat, a row of hooks or shoe racks atop a durable carpet or rug.

Just inside the home from the garage, some builders include what’s called a valet bench at this entryway. The valet bench serves as a drop spot for everything from backpacks to shopping bags.

A customized valet bench can even include shelving or drawers for slippers, towels or other items frequently needed upon entering. Add a shelf to the wall above the valet bench for displaying photos or art.

Make sure that shelving or hooks above the bench are high enough that they aren’t in the way when people sit on the bench.

Create patio, deck or balcony transitions

Wherever patios, decks or balconies offer a chance to go back outside, create continuity by blending design elements from inside and outside. In some homes, this might include indoor-outdoor luxury tile flooring that extends to both sides of the glass doors.

Consider positioning planters made of similar materials on both sides of the doorways. Also join the inside with the outside with similar color schemes on window treatments and shade covers or with a permanent fire pit outside to invite mingling.