Decorate Like A Design Boss with Kimberly Grigg | How to Design a Meaningful Entryway

When you come home and put your key in the front door, are you excited for what you’re about to see? Does your entryway welcome you home, make you proud, and light you up? If it doesn’t, we’ve got some work to do!

I believe that the entryway is the most important space in your home. It sets the tone for the rest of your design and allows you to express your personality in a meaningful way. When you’re in love with your entryway, you can’t wait to come home and welcome guests over too.

Now, I know that sometimes you can get stuck when deciding how to decorate this space, so I’ve come up with four easy steps for designing an entryway that screams you. I’m sharing why creating a meaningful entryway is a matter of necessity and some of the ways I’ve made my foyer and my clients’ foyers something truly special.

To celebrate the launch of this show, I will be giving away 3 of my adorable monkey bowls. This cool accessory ends up in almost all my designs, from cottage to edgy. It seems to fit every personality type and promises to make you smile. All you have to do to is subscribe, rate, and review the show in Apple Podcasts and I’ll be picking the winners in an upcoming episode.

 Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why your entryway is one of the most important spaces in your home.
  • 4 steps to make your entryway more special and meaningful.
  • What I’ve done to make my entryway feel more like me.
  • How to store things in your entryway without making it look cluttered.
  • Why I encourage you to use your favorite color in your entryway.
  • How to create instant drama in your entryway decor.


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Full Episode Transcript:

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You are listening to the Decorate Like a Design Boss podcast and this is episode five. Today we’ll be talking about creating a meaningful entryway. I’m not talking about just a random pretty entryway but instead one that sets your heart on fire and one that gets you excited when you walk in your door.

Welcome to Decorate Like a Design Boss, a podcast for design lovers who want to create beautiful spaces in their very own homes. My name is Kimberly Grigg and I’m a professional interior designer who teaches design lovers like yourselves how to decorate. And when I say decorate I mean decorate like a design boss. If you’re ready to create a space that your family loves and your neighbors can’t stop raving about well, buckle up honey because it’s time to design.

So let’s get started. I’m Kimberly Grigg, a professional designer and I’m on a mission to teach you how to decorate your own homes in a beautiful way. I take my 30 years of design experience and share it with you in a way that I hope will truly inspire you and teach you how you can be successful and confident in creating your own decors.

If you’ve listened at all to this podcast you know that I am a decorator who believes very strongly that your home shouldn’t just be a pretty space but really should instead be a space that is beautiful to you. But one, well, that lights you up, a space that screams you and a space that actually makes you happy because it embodies your personality, your vibe, your style, even your own expression.

I believe in this little thing that I like to call your design DNA. It’s my own term and it stands for your very own design make-up. There are no two DNAs that are the same. Just as you are an individual with your own cells, your blood type etc., I really believe you have your own make-up and design chemistry that is unique to you.

If you’re wondering more about this and how to discover your own design DNA then go back and listen to episodes one, two and three because this is where the magic happens really in my designs. This is the stuff that will elevate your spaces to an entirely different level but will also make sure that the spaces you create will resonate with you.

Your design DNA is comprised of your personality type, your fundamentals, which in biology is like your cells and then your style. Each of these is specifically explained in episodes one, two and three. And I assure you it’s important to know this if you’re going to create successful designs in your own spaces.

As we think about creating a meaningful entryway there are some specific things that I like to do once you know what your design DNA is all about. And the first is I want you to realize how important your entryway actually is. This is the space that greets you every day. This is the first and the last thing you see when you walk in or when you leave your home. Don’t overlook how important this is. If you want a magical experience in your own home then start right at the front door and make magic. It should be special.

Walking into a home that clearly says I love you, is like walking into a space that greets you with a smile and a warm embrace. So here are a few things that I want you to keep in mind when you’re decorating your entryway and some things that you can do to make your entryway or foyer more special.

Alright people let’s first start with something inspirational, something you love, something meaningful, something special. In my own foyer I have incorporated my décor around some key pieces that I really love. So I have this gorgeous set or pair of lamps. They’re swirly and black. They’re actually made of plaster. And I found them in Italy. I love them so much. I carried them back. I actually made my husband carry one and I carried one. And this was back when you could actually carry things. And I truly, those lamps just, they just make my heart smile.

I also have a gorgeous statue, a type of pedestal that I adore. I love working with pedestals. And I love beautiful sculpture and statuary. I just love these things. I also have a beautiful commode chest with a grand mirror. And you know what I have that I probably love the most in this foyer? Color. I’m a girl who loves color. It’s expressive for me. It makes me happy. It is such a statement for me. So my foyer is cobalt blue and it’s actually one of my favorite colors.

So the second thing I want you to do and I want you to think about is try not to have clutter at your front door. This is and can be difficult to do if you are a family who likes to take your shoes off at the front door. A lot of people, my children included, they love to just dump their stuff right at the front door. And I’ve tried really hard. And I’m always on a mission to figure out a way to have storage for the things that you dump so that you can have function and beauty all at the same time.

You have to be creative here and you have to allow for how you live but you can do this in a beautiful and clever way. Having a place for shoe storage, if this is your thing, something pretty to hold your keys, whatever you do to live, I say if it needs to function then by all means make it function. But with a little creativity and some hunting you can and should make it pretty.

So a few examples might be use a lovely tray for keys. My kids dump their keys, they dump everything, their mail etc at the front door. So you know what? I have a really gorgeous tray for keys. I have a big antique bowl they throw their mail and things there that they don’t really want to put up. We’re not take our shoes off at the front door. But I’ve decorated for many people who are and you can use all sorts of things as containers for those shoes. At my back door I’ve found a really cool antique wooden crest.

Sometimes the kids come in through the back door. I’m a front door user. And for the most part most people come to my front door. But at the back door I found an antique wooden crest and I added some little hooks to it and it’s perfect for a key ring. So often we hang keys there that we don’t use as much but that we know we need to get back to. For shoes use beautiful storage bins or convert your coat closet into a shoe closet. You can have both especially if you house your shorter coats in a coat closet then you can actually have racks in the bottom for your shoes.

I once used a set of antique buckets at a front door, there were four family members and I had one for each family member. And this is where they plopped their shoes. I used a tall bucket because I like to work in odds for an umbrella stand. And you know this ended up being quite magical for this family. And every weekend they would take their shoe buckets and they would put their shoes away in their closets.

So use your imagination here but also make sure to give this your full attention. You must marry function with style and just know it is possible. So if you have a coat closet consider paint or wallpaper on the inside so that it winks at you when you open it. I’ve done this in a closet in my laundry room and it is a beautiful hot pink wallpaper that I probably wouldn’t have used out in the open. But when I open that closet it’s magic to me. So think outside of the box just a wee bit here and consider doing something really interesting inside of a coat closet.

Number three is if there is hardware such as a door hardware or a cabinetry in your entryway even here make it amazing, turn it into jewelry. Make it pop. Make it something special. Your entryway should be one of the most special places in your entire home. When I talk about jewelry as hardware I mean make it speak. Choose carefully but be in love with it. It’s a detail that goes a really long way. Try and have some type of table in your entryway. If you don’t have room can you use a shelf or something like this?

I love a center round table, in fact I’ve always wanted one but I just don’t quite have the space for a round table and for my commode chest. In fact I’ve tried many times to squeeze it in, to make it work because I’ve always wanted one. But there’s nothing worse than a skimpy table in a large foyer. And the only way I can make it work is if the table were around 28 inches. And it’s just not enough to make a statement. But if you can do this I think a round table really has an amazing effect.

Is there a special space in your entryway for a pedestal? Perhaps you only have room for a pedestal. Well, you could steal my heart with this. I love, love, love a pedestal. It’s a go to item for me when I decorate and it’s an element especially special when I need something that is unusual or often when I get stumped on what to use. I love to turn to my friend the pedestal in this scenario. And I am able to really make a little magic with it, plus I can change whatever is on top of it with the seasons, with the holiday, with a number of things. It’s a very, very versatile piece to have in your home.

Remember, you’re looking for anything that works with your function and your own design DNA to set the tone for what is to come in the rest of your home. Maybe your space is small, then use a piece of art that really speaks to you to establish the specialness of your space. Or use an antique mirror as a wallpaper in the entire space, or at least wallpaper one wall to open it up.

I have used amazing wallpapers that a client would not necessarily want to afford for an entire room. But I have used it in a special way in a foyer entryway because I didn’t need so much of it and I am here to tell you it is a way to create instant drama.

Alright, you can paint your foyer your favorite color. This is one of my favorite tricks. One of the questions that I typically ask on a first meet and greet with a client is, “What’s your favorite color?” It actually tells me a lot about the person. And I never forget it. I actually could tell you the favorite color of almost every client I have ever worked with. So I say consider including your favorite color in your entryway. Use it in a small way; use it in a large way. Just don’t hold back.

This is an area that you really can go for it. I am such a color girl. I have a fairly large foyer entryway and it’s been decorated a lot of different ways over the years. Let me set the tone for you. My foyer has 14 foot ceilings, and very large moldings, and wainscoting which reads in a way a lot like a very historical space. It has hardwood flooring and giant stained arched doors.

The doors are a work of art and they do have a beautiful stain on them. It has a slight European French flair. It originally was painted a lovely shade of warm honey when we first moved into the house. And I had a darker brown family crest hand-painted randomly on this honey color. Once it was a gardenesque mural painted across all the walls in the foyer. And on that gardenesque mural it actually contained a family tree that subtly had our family members listed there. You had to look carefully to see it but it was really an all time favorite.

Another time I bit the white craze for a minute and I wallpapered the foyer with a white and grey trellis type paper. It was gorgeous. But I’m one of those girls, I love color and I quickly tired of all the white. I think its current version is my fave. It is lacquered and now you’ve got to imagine, 14 foot ceilings and heavy moldings, it is lacquered meaning it is finished in a very shiny paint from the wainscoting up in a gorgeous shade of cobalt blue. It really is amazing. But here’s the real point, when I walk in my door or walk out of my door I am happy. It transports me.

And this is just the thing that I want you to do is to create a meaningful entryway. Another thing that you can do is add a mirror. They’re wonderful for opening up a space and also for checking yourself coming and going. A mirror can be a great thing to have in an entryway just for the pure functionality of it.

Have a great light fixture. Don’t skimp, this might sound gauche, but I have a really huge and gorgeous metallic leather chandelier in my foyer. Most people get their chandeliers too small. And we’ll have lots of upcoming episodes on this very subject. But I want to encourage you to go a little bigger than you think you can and go a little splashier than you think you’re up for. The results are amazing.

Use an area rug. You do need to think about wear and tear. But you also need to think about something that is gorgeous. This is an important room, if you didn’t get the message already.

You can also create an accent wall. If you have an entryway that lacks architectural detail then add some by adding an accent wall. How? Well, try painting a focal wall a different color, or adding wallpaper, or even try upholstering your wall. I have achieved some amazing results for clients with foyers that you walk right into a wall. You know those foyers where you walk in and there’s a wall that kind of separates everything else? I typically in this case make this an accent wall by adding beautiful and interesting wallpaper or I have upholstered.

I’ve done all sorts of things with this wall but you have to remember it’s a focal point and you want to create a sense of entry and a sense of wonder. Is there room for a bench or some sort of upholstery piece in your foyer? Softening the space in this way can be lovely, welcoming and inviting. Sometimes you can add in a little bench or a settee right at the edge of a stairwell. Or sometimes you can get a pair of small chairs in somewhere in the entryway. If you have the opportunity this can be a game changer.

So what can we take away from today’s lesson? Creating a meaningful entryway is a matter of necessity. You can’t set the tone for a gorgeous space if you don’t address this space as your sense of entry. Don’t overlook what I consider to be one of, if not, the most important rooms in your home. So to sum it all up, step one, discover your design DNA.

Step two, lavish attention on your entryway. When designing for clients I tend to start at the entryway as a priority, not as a circle back around to it. This is an area that needs its own look as well as its own personality. In the end, clients are very happy that I insisted we get it right, right from the very beginning.

Step three, approach decorating this space with as much seriousness and enthusiasm as you would any other room in your home.

And finally, step four, make this space meaningful by using inspirations that are favorites.

So here’s your homework. I challenge you to really revisit your entryway. I want you to focus on it. If it’s not lighting you up then I want you to reinvent it. I want you to create an entryway that you love, and adore, and one that screams you. Your entryway should be a very proud moment. If you have guests, you should be happy to open the front door. And when you put your key in the door you should look forward to being greeted by something that is familiar, warm, inviting and screams, honey I’m home.

Alright, this episode is a wrap. As you know we are relatively new to the podcast world but I’ve just got to tell you, I’m obsessed with helping you learn to decorate your own homes. So this is truly a fun experience for me. So that we can continue to grow and create amazing content for you we do need your feedback.

If you could kindly subscribe, rate and review this podcast I would be so grateful. And to reward you for doing so you’ll be entered into the contest that I am hosting on this podcast. I will be giving away my favorite accessory, my infamous monkey bowl. It’s perfect in any design and I’ll be giving it away to three lucky listeners who subscribe, rate and review. Just go over to for the contest details.

Alright, thank you for joining me and as I like to say, today is a great day to decorate. Bye for now.

Thanks for listening to Decorate Like a Design Boss, if you want more info on how to decorate your space like a pro visit See you next week.

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