Strapped for Space? Make the Most of a Small Front Entryway

February 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm Interior Design

By Tamara Eaton

Got a small entryway? Like many apartment dwelling New Yorkers, you’re probably tight on time and space, so it’s important to design an entry way that helps you get in and out the house quickly without sacrificing your precious little space.  This article highlights design tips and creative storage products that will reduce clutter and keep things calm and classy in your small apartment’s entryway.

In an earlier article, I mentioned that an entryway sets the tone for your home and is capable of making a big impact. However, as the front entry ranks as one of the most traveled spaces in the home, it must double as both a welcoming reception as well as a hub for the morning grab-and-go and after school depository of shoes, keys, mail, backpacks, umbrellas, and coats–making the front entry a vulnerable area to haphazard clutter. In this article, I highlight creative ways to design front entries that are inviting, but also functional. These spaces will accommodate the daily routines and necessities of any New Yorker living in a small apartment.  Be sure to read the article for tips on space-saving products ideal for creative and stylish storage solutions.

It’s a challenge to design and organize a small entryway because it’s a space that lends itself to clutter – the aforementioned deluge of shoes, keys, mail, backpacks, umbrellas, and coat – but given all the traffic passing through this space must be streamlined and efficient. So how do you organize an already tight space without overcrowding it with superfluous furniture and storage units?

It’s important to make the most use out of everything that already lives in the space. Transforming existing pieces into hidden storage by tucking away your possessions is one way to maximize utility. For instance, if your existing console is lacking in drawers, turn it into a secret storage unit by adding custom shelves for shoes and baskets for knickknacks. Then, slipcover the whole console to conceal its contents and place a glass panel on top to anchor. Arrange a nice vase of flowers on top and the family’s favorite photos, and no one will be able to tell what lies underneath.

Benches are another front entry regular to make into a useful hideaway. Often times, when the bench does not provide spaces for storage, the bench becomes the space where coats, hats, and bags are strewn about. Instead of only using the bench as seating, think about going for one that has hollowed out spaces where you can easily fit bins and baskets. If you already have a bench, invest in some pretty baskets to fit underneath where shoes and backpacks can be thrown. Toss on a decorative pillow and not only do you have a handsome seating area but a functional storage unit for the daily hustle and bustle.

Colonial Mills woven baskets

Floating storage is a great way to get things off the floor, organized into their respective places, and redirect your visual attention. Wall mounted woven or wired baskets are cute and quirky alternatives to chests and drawers. Use them to organize items according to categories or get one for each family member to give getting ready in the mornings a little more structure.

family-organizer smaller

Philadelphia-based Lostine produces old school Storwell Wall Gym Shelves that have personal cubbies and even numbered coat hangers that rock a nostalgic schoolhouse vibe. Of course, we can’t forget those city dwellers with bikes. From David Rasmussen Design come wall mounted bike racks that effortlessly suspend bikes off the floor and onto the wall. With a choice of various edging colors, these bike shelves give subtle pops of color to the entry and even act as nifty shelves themselves!


Finally, hanging coat racks are essential to any well oiled entryway. Select hooks or racks with interesting materials such as the Lostie rack with leather, or Anthropologie hook with pyrite.

Lostie rack with leather

Lostie rack with leather

Raw Pyrite Hook from Anthropologie, $128

Raw Pyrite Hook from Anthropologie, $128

Instead of installing a run of the mill rack, opt for something a little more individualized and unexpected like a DIY, upcycled collection of mix-and-match hardware such as door and cabinet knobs. You can find a huge assortment online at vendors such as Anthropologie, House of Antique Hardware, or Etsy.

If you want to go more vertical, leaning thin ladders against the wall can act as a more abstract take on a coat rack by draping jackets and hanging umbrellas on each rung.


Our increasingly busy schedules and never ending to do lists can bog even the best of us down. However, by thinking outside the box and taking a moment to reassess you space will allow you to realize unused spaces and the potential of your entryway. With a fresh look at your threshold, you’ll be able to make maximize storage, making both the space a little easier to manage and your life a bit smoother.

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  1. Frank says:

    Go to I shiope this site all the time to find furniture and accessories of all size. They have wonderful itmes for loft living. Check ‘em out!!

  2. Good article. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well.

  3. May Hall says:

    This article is interesting and fun. It thought you how to be resourceful and creative in your own way. Glad i read this one. Thanks for sharing

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