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How to light an entryway so guests feel welcome

Guests can immediately form opinions about the rest of your home when they walk into your entryway. It’s their first clue as to whether you’re into minimalist design or modern mid-century, nautical style or traditional. Do you prefer mirrors or artwork? Wall sconces or pillar candles? Even the rug they step on before entering matters. No matter your taste, you can make your entryway an inviting and comfortable space that welcomes visitors and makes them feel right at home.

Make a good impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and that’s usually formed in about 3 seconds after a person walks into a home. A good rule of thumb to consider if you opt for electric lighting in your foyer is to use warm-color light bulbs such as incandescent or halogen, says Michael James Kutner, a New York-based interior designer, to YLighting. If you want something high efficiency like LED bulbs make sure to use a 2700K temperature. This lighting is good for earthy tones and wood pieces, as suggested by Elemental LED.

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Keep in mind that scale is as important as the lighting you choose. For example, is your entryway single story or double story in height? What are the other furnishings in the room? Can you view the outdoors from this space?

Here are a few ways to make your space feel welcoming.

Woman welcoming friends at front door
courtneyk / Getty Images


Bright spaces are more inviting than dark spaces that make it hard to see where you’re going! One way to bring light to your entryway is through a decorative mirror. Entryway mirrors reflect light making space feel bigger than it actually is. Depending on the mirror you choose, it can also be a statement piece in your entryway. A mirror in your foyer is also handy for last-minute touch ups before you rush out the door.

Pendant lights

If your foyer is tall and open, one or several modern pendant lights can be very effective, providing sufficient light while becoming a central focus point. There are also mini pendant lights if your entryway lacks height. These will draw the eye upward, giving the illusion of a taller space, states Pottery Barn. There are so many styles to choose from that this type of light works well in both modern and traditional entryways.


With the right sconces, you can create a warm glow that is inviting for your guests without taking up valuable floor space. These are available in numerous finishes and styles to give your space the vibe you’re trying to achieve. You can also choose from sconces that come with uplighting, downlighting, and multidirectional lighting if you want to highlight a particular object in your entryway. A set of sconces on either side of a mirror can be stunning.

entryway color wall
New Africa/Shutterstock

Floor lamps

This style of lighting might not be the first thing you think of when considering light for your entryway. But floor lamps on either side of a console table are not only functional but can bring symmetry to your furnishings. Floor lamps can also add a stately presence to your room. If you’re into DIY projects, you can make custom lamp shades to make the space truly unique and reflect even more of your personality.

Table lamps

Besides being cozy and inviting, table lamps can add visual interest to your room. Lakeside View suggests, “You’ll typically want to use tall and thin lamps to get a good balance on a long and slim table.” The options are endless for table lamps, but for your foyer we suggest keeping the lamp simple and top it with an interesting shade. These can be used on side tables or shelving. You can also move them around in your space for an immediate refresh. Here again, you can make your own lampshade or look for one that’s unusual and unexpected.

Ceiling lights

Chandeliers are one type of ceiling light that is traditional but has never gone out of style. Instead, the fixture has just changed and morphed through the generations. They are definitely not your grandma’s crystal monstrosity anymore! Available in a variety of metals and styles to fit any modern decor, they also can be a showstopper when your guests first enter your home. Of course, there are also countless low-profile ceiling lights if your room isn’t conducive to a chandelier. Flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures are great choices for attractive ambient lighting. They come in every finish and style you can think of, from formal to rustic to contemporary.

Lighting for artwork

Track lighting is a good option for highlighting that piece of artwork hanging in your foyer that cost a fortune! Picture lights are also ideal and come in a variety of styles and finishes. Before you purchasing lighting, though, one thing to consider is what type of artwork you have. Different types of lighting are required for oil paintings versus acrylic paintings versus artwork that has been placed behind glass. You may want to check with a framing company or a local art gallery before you decide.

Lighting up your entryway can be as fun and exciting as your style dictates. You can make a grand statement, even if you’re working with a small space. The main thing is to have an area that immediately says to your guests, “Welcome to my home!”

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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