At our house, the front porch and entryway are our first warm welcome. There’s this feeling that starts to unfold as soon as I pull into our driveway and see the rockers where we often watch the sunset on summer nights.
I can feel myself begin to unwind as I shut the door behind me, surrounded by the glow of our entryway. This soft light feels to me like the best kind of welcome, the front door shutting like the best kind of hello. The world and its chaos, the day and its demands – all of it falls silent. I am home.
We tend to pour much of our design energy into the core areas of our homes, the places where we’ll entertain or spend most of our time as a family – I get that.
And philosophically speaking, I do believe that what’s on the inside matters most. It’s a value I hold for myself, and that I teach to my children. But I’ve learned that tending to the outside has a pretty profound effect on how we feel on the inside.
The small, thoughtful details that are on your porch steps or by the entrance to your home, like the planters, sconces, or a welcome mat, can set the tone for the way your space welcomes you and your guests inside.
These details communicate something to our guests, but perhaps even more important, they’re communicating something to your own family. This is where everyone enters the house every day, so I think making that space feel important is valuable, and should be intentional.
In some homes, you might walk straight into a wide-open gathering space. In others, a large wall greets you first. No matter what shape your space may take, sometimes all it needs is a console table or a unique piece of furniture and a coatrack or boot tray to help it function efficiently. These practical elements also help to keep essentials such as shoes, jackets, and backpacks from ending up scattered around the house.
When we provide specific places for family members and guests to kick off their shoes and stash their keys or bags, it’s a way of saying: Come on in, we care about you, you’re welcome here. And something as simple as a lit candle can help these first moments communicate just that.
Entryways are often a challenge. Choosing to make this part of your home count by filling it thoughtfully is how we can create a space that really does welcome whoever enters. The small details are what greet us at the door and invite us inside, whether we are home after a long day of work or from a trip to the grocery store. When we intentionally design a space with our needs and preferences in mind, we can feel known as soon as we walk in. No matter who it greets, our entryway should be a well-thought-out welcome.
Left: This entryway provides a warm welcome to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Waco farmhouse. Photo: Cody Ulrich
Right: There’s not a lot of stuff taking up space in this entry, which lets visitors know that the pieces that are here
are important enough to to the homeowners to serves as the first things guests see. Photo: Cody Ulrich
'Homebody: A guide to creating spaces you never want to leave'
by Joanna Gaines is published by Harper Design, £25