Take a moment to look around your home and consider: where are the highest traffic areas? You might be quick to answer with the kitchen, the living room, or the bedrooms. While these may be the most lived in spaces, they aren’t necessarily the areas that you move about in the most. What about the spaces between rooms, areas that function mostly as a means of transfer from one living space to another? This could be a hallway, staircase, or mudroom.
What about the foot traffic that moves in and out of your front door? Though it may not come to mind immediately, a foyer or front entry can be one of the most traveled spaces in a home, since it’s where you primarily enter and exit as you go about your day.
Form and Function
How does the entryway function in your home? Perhaps you have more than one: a formal entrance just inside the front door, where you greet house guests; and a second by a door from the garage or side door. Maybe your entryway is the place where items coming into your home are unceremoniously dumped. Or maybe you’re one of the proud, organized homeowners that stick to the idea that it is best for everything to be in its place: coats on hook, backpacks in cubbies, shoes on the rack.
Do you use your front door as your primary entrance? Or is it only for guests? Determining who will use the entrance the most will help you choose the best entry table.
In any case, there is a single piece of furniture that can achieve both impeccable design and practical function in your entryway. Commonly, in the front entry of a home, homeowners use a console table, sofa table, or other entry table to decorate the space. This furniture can also provide storage for a family’s personal belongings that go out and come back in with them: shoes, mail, school bags, groceries, sports equipment, and more.
If your front entry is more formal, an entry table is probably reserved for decorative purposes. It might be accented with a lamp, a plant, family photos, or other pleasant trinkets. It is usually open underneath, not enclosed like a cabinet. It is not made for storage, though more storage space can be quickly added to the area by using an umbrella stand or a floor basket.
In a less formal, more every day entryway, you’d expect a table to be exceptionally functional. It should offer storage via shelves or drawers. For your own sake, do your best to organize the top, as well, utilizing bowls, jars, sorters, and other organizational tools to help keep everything in its place.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to make form and function work together for the best, most welcoming and functional entry, whether it’s the primary entrance of your home or the foyer where you welcome your guests.
Some Lifestyle Items to Consider
There are a number of items to consider when deciding on the best entry table you’ll need for your home. First, what items are commonly brought in and out of the house with you? Do you bring a purse or a diaper bag everywhere? Do your kids have backpacks? Are there multiple drivers in your home who need someplace to store their keys? Do you frequently receive packages or have letters and bills that need to leave the house? Since this table will provide a landing pad for all this and more, measure your entryway and decide what shape and size will fit best in the space as well as provide an area for items coming in or going out.
To make this a bit easier, it’s also helpful to know who is bringing the most into your home. If you live alone, your primary entrance might function best with a short, narrow table that doesn’t offer much in the way of extra storage. However, if you have a significant other and children who also bring their belongings in and out, you might want to consider a larger piece of furniture with cabinet doors or wide shelves that would offer space for large baskets.
When most of us think of an entry table, we picture something tall with spindly legs. It’s long, but probably rather narrow, and doesn’t function more than as a place to hold your keys. These types of tables certainly have their place in the design of your home, especially if you use your front door more formally to welcome guests.
Here are a few traditional ideas to consider.
Norcastle Traditional Glass Top Console by Ashley Furniture
Very traditional, stunning, and stately, this option receives high marks for form. Elegant dark wood with lots of eye-catching detail makes this an outstanding feature for your foyer. Though, due to its classic design, it may not be best if you require storage.
Wood Console by WeYoung
This one is attractive, yet delicate enough for a formal entryway, and also offers a few drawers for keys and mail, as well as one shelf for knick knacks or small baskets. It’s traditional style would fit nicely with many different styles of decor, from simple elegance to farmhouse chic.
Console Table by VASAGLE
This option combines a simple aesthetic with a sleek design and industrial feel. Though low on storage space, baskets could easily be added to the lower shelf. The simple design also means it could easily be paired with another wall hanging rack above or beside it to provide more space for belongings.
Console Table by PURLOVE
Still traditional in its design, this option also offers multiple storage methods with cabinets, drawers, and a lower shelf. There is no need to compromise style for function or function for style, this offers a bit of both worlds.
Something with More Storage
While they are often high on style and become the focal point of an entryway or formal foyer, what the traditional entry furniture lacks is practical, functional storage—or someplace to hide the gym shoes, misplaced homework pages, forgotten toys, and errant socks.
Here are a few suggestions that feature more practical storage for everyday life.
The Stately Cabinet
One option is to consider a free-standing cabinet. This style would conceal any odds and ends on the shelves inside, rather than leaving it exposed. This also leaves lots of room on the top for personal decoration.
A cabinet makes a beautiful piece of furniture for the entryway. This may make the best entrance furniture if you prefer a vintage or rustic look. (“Entryway Makeover Reveal After” by Emily May / CC BY 2.0)
A Bedroom Dresser
A small dresser would also offer more concealed storage space, as well as a wider top. This option gives you even more flexibility in size, design, and the number of drawers or shelves.
This small dresser ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for a uniquely designed piece of furniture that also allows you to store lots of odds and ends. A similar dresser in an entryway would make a fanciful and creative first impression on your guests.
An Old World Option
With its abundance of small drawers and irresistible antique aesthetic, using an apothecary cabinet hits all the best notes as an alternative to the traditional. Hide away all your miscellaneous and knick knacks while making a trendy design statement when your friends enter the house.
For the Smaller Spaces
The Sofa Table
Does your house have a narrow entryway? If so, using a sofa table may be your best option. Often, these are designed to fit between the sofa and wall, or they’re shaped as a semi-circle and take up less space, so they tend to be long yet narrow. This option doesn’t allow for much storage space, so some small baskets, boxes, or crates could be used creatively to manage your belongings.
A Customized Option
If there simply isn’t space for even a small table, you can combine clever shelving with other organization standbys to create the best entryway space possible. DIYer April Colleen created an elegant entryway hanging shelf for her own home using corbels and an 8’ by 12’ piece of pine wood. If you decide on a similar solution in your home, some floor baskets, an umbrella stand, or a small shoe rack would easily create functional storage space to make up for a lack of shelving.
A Small Side Table
Another option for a small space is to use an end table. I preferred this option when I was living in an 800 square foot apartment. Using the larger of two end tables from a matching set gave me the functional furniture that I needed while tying into the style of furniture I also used in my small, adjacent living room.
Sometimes all you need to complete an entry way is a small side table. While it doesn’t offer much storage space, it minimizes the risk of getting too cluttered, because there simply isn’t the space!
Three in One
Nesting tables are a nice idea if you’re looking for versatility. Since they can be stored one beneath the other, they can be extended along a wall (or in a circular arrangement if the tops are not rectangular) then compacted back to their nesting position as needed. Since they come in all shapes and sizes imaginable, you should have no problem finding a set of two or three tables that fit your personal style.
Nesting tables often come in sets of 2 to 6 that conveniently fit one under another to create a tidy, streamlined look while also offering versatility in arrangement.
A Table with One Leg
By definition, a pedestal table has a single support column. Their top is often round (though it doesn’t have to be), so this option is not the most traditional. However, if you have a large formal entryway that allows for a table in the center of the room, a pedestal table might fit nicely.
Try Something Different
Many other pieces of furniture can work for your entryway space, as well. Here are some less traditional options that may work better for a less-traditional space.
Make the Space Work Overtime
What if you could make this piece of furniture do double duty by using a slim desk? Since this is the place you already sort your mail, now you can also use it to pay the bills, balance the budget, and keep your grocery list. For a minimalist or someone with small living spaces, this option may be best. It’s also a nice if, in general, you tend to bring less in and out of your house that would typically end up on an entry table.
Add a small chair and this piece of furniture easily doubles as a desk. If you live in a smaller home, apartment, or condo, this might be the best option to use space efficiently.
Create Seating with a Bench
Using a bench rather than a traditional table can be practical, especially if you have small kids. A bench instantly creates a space for them to sit while putting their shoes on and taking them off; shoes can then be conveniently stored underneath. There are no issues with decorating an entryway bench; if you feel that it needs anything at all, a few throw pillows add a nice, simple touch.
A Customized Bench Seat
If you want to go the distance, and if you have any craftsman skills, consider creating a built-in bench with custom features. Now everyone can have their own cubby for their shoes. The bench seat can be built on hinges so it lifts easily for extra storage. A high back could be added with hooks for decor, coats, bags, and hats. The possibilities in this scenario are truly endless.
Everything In Its Place
Though certainly not a small option, using a bookcase is a winning one if you need storage or just lots of space for personal decor. In addition to your books, baskets could be added to contain the keys, paperwork, mail, bags, and such that enter and exit your home. The remaining shelves could be used to show off your family photos, trinkets from favorite vacations, or display your seasonal decorations.
Helpful Decor Tips
Once you find the best entry table to fit your space and meet the needs of your lifestyle, make it feel like…you. The decor for this small, impactful place in the house should also fit your personal style.
Since this small area of the house is a busy place, it may be best to consider decor that gives you a sense of calm. A small house plant is a simple way to give a space a finished look, and research suggests that house plants help you manage stress and anxiety and stay clear-headed.
Plants are the best option for a simple decor solution because they improve the air quality of a home and provide a sense of calm for many people. They are also an easy addition to the entryway space.
Other decor items that can complete your style might include personal photos, memorabilia from family vacations or other travels, or a favorite painting or portrait hung on the wall. And never underestimate the power of your children’s artwork or some simple upcycled decor to brighten a space you see multiple times each day.
Check out this quick video with additional ideas for simple, practical decor:
At the end of the day, the entryway is really the unsung hero of your home, and it has a big job. For your house guests, it’s the first impression of your home. It’s the place where you greet your family at the end of a long day. It’s your first glimpse of the warm comfort of home, where you shed your load, quite literally. Hopefully, this short guide has helped you make the considerations and calculations that will lead you to exactly the best entry table to accommodate your needs.