Kendra Smoot’s Entryway Tips

February 17, 2016

Reader, a confession: when it comes to making an entrance—make that, an entryway—we could use a little help. Perhaps more than any other, these to-fro spaces befuddle us, requiring some mysterious combination of form and function that never feels quite balanced. First impressions count, however—we’re looking at you, pile of mail and jumble of dog leashes—so we called in Bay Area-based freelance stylist Kendra Smoot when shooting our spring House & Home catalog. Here, she shares some expert tips for making your own home look photo-ready.

Let’s start with the front door. What’s a quick way to make a statement in the entry area?
Creating an inviting entry can be as simple as a beautiful rug. People usually err on the side of getting something super durable and functional for these spaces, but as the introduction to your home, it’s worth finding something lovely and representative of your style. I’m obsessed with the Double Diamond Rug and think it would be so beautiful in an entry! Because these spaces are usually more compact, you can get by with a smaller rug or runner, so it isn’t as big as an investment.

What are your other must-haves for this high-traffic area?
I’m a big fan of mirrors for a running-out-the-door lipstick check. Other than that, people’s needs are so personal here. Think of your top-five requirements for your entryway and go from there. Do you have a dog and need a hook or basket for the leash? Do you prefer people take their shoes off and need a bench or chair to accommodate them? Do you live in a wet climate and need a place to stash umbrellas? Once you’ve established what your needs are, think of what type of organizational items will work best in your space.

Once the essentials are covered, what would you put in an entryway that’s unexpected?
I’d be sure to have a few personal things that bring you happy memories. We keep a little nature collection in our entryway—special shells and rocks collected from recent outdoor adventures. In my key bowl there is a gorgeous peach flamingo feather from a family trip to the Santa Barbara zoo; it makes me smile every time I see it.

As for mudrooms, they often live up to their name: messy transitional areas where the outdoors meets the indoors. As a mom, how do you keep your mudroom shipshape?
It’s a work in progress to train myself and my little ones to use the storage in the entryway. Sometimes it’s worth creating a little game out of it—my friend uses colorful tape to make squares where she’d love her kids to put their shoes. My kiddos have a hook with their initial on it where they put their backpacks, and I’ll give them a big kiss each time they remember to put it there.

Speaking of storage, any brilliant solutions for key storage? We’re, um, asking for a friend …
I’ve been in that boat! As a reformed key scrambler, I keep a bowl right next to my front door for my keys and sunglasses; as soon as I take my key out of the lock I place it there. If you don’t have a place for a bowl, a hook on the inside of your door frame would be a good solution. This system works for me because I generally switch up my bag a few times during the week. Knowing where my favorite lip pencil is, well, that’s a whole different story!

From hooks and hardware to shelvesbaskets and more new arrivals, we’ve got the inspiration for your entryway organization.