Room by Room Guide to Lighting your Home

Room by Room Guide to Lighting your Home: Entryway

As the entrance to your home, the entryway or foyer acts primarily as a functional space. People use it to enter or exit, put down their things, remove or put on shoes and coats, and pass through to the rest of the house or the outside world. Because it is often only briefly used, it can be easily overlooked when it comes to lighting.

This area acts as more than simply the introduction to your home for guests; it is also the light that welcomes you at the end of the day and sends you off at the start, which means that proper illumination is important. Here’s how to accomplish it:

A Well-lit Welcome

The size and shape of your entryway or foyer will dictate the type of lighting and fixtures you can use in the space, but there are some general tips you can follow to ensure a well-lit and welcoming entryway.

The size of your light fixtures should reflect the size of the space:

  • If you have a two-storey entryway, you can have extra fun with the main fixture, starting your home off with a bold statement piece or two. Chandeliers are a classic choice for this area, but you can always opt for unconventional options, such as multiple pendant lamps or wall sconces with uniform or staggered height placements. Just make sure it blends with the rest of your decor and that any hanging lamps come no lower than 7 feet off the ground.
  • In a smaller entryway or one with less vertical space, opt for flush mount or semi-flush mount fixtures that don’t pull too much focus. Adding pendants or other hanging lamps can crowd the space, making it seem cluttered.
  • Long and narrow entryways benefit from decorative fixtures that help lead you into the rest of the home. Utilizing table and floor lamps can help create a more homey environment and keep this type of entryway from becoming too intimidating.

ENTRYWAY LIGHTING TIP: It’s easy to tell if a fixture is too large for a space when you’re looking at it within the space. To ensure your lamp fitting isn’t going to overwhelm the room before you install it, use the following calculation:

Length (feet) + width (feet) of your entryway = approximate fixture width in inches

Because of how they are utilized, entryways rarely need very complex lighting, but it is still important to build in those layers of light using the three types of lighting:

  • Ambient Lighting – Ambient lighting provides atmosphere and a general source of light throughout a space. In some entryways, ambient lighting may be all you need–a single fixture may be more than enough to illuminate the entire area. Ambient lighting doesn’t have to be limited to overhead fittings – a well-placed floor or table lamp can help enhance the ambient light and lead people further into the home.
  • Task Lighting – For anything that requires more intense focus, such as reading or detail work like sewing, task lighting is a requirement. This may not be necessary in entryways, but it can be helpful when you are trying to look for your keys in a dark purse on your way out the door. If your foyer includes closet space, LED strip lights lined along the inside of the door can help illuminate jackets, shoes, and other outdoor accessories, so you can easily see and grab your favourite scarf in the winter.
  • Accent Lighting – If your entryway is a large enough area that there is space to hang some photography or artwork, or features some exceptional architectural details you want to show off, you’ll want to include accent lighting.

Let There be Light Bulbs

The entrance to any home should be warm and welcoming, so a bright light bulb with a warm colour temperature is ideal, like something equivalent or similar to a 60 watt incandescent bulb. In both CFL or LED light bulbs, look for something that is 2700k or warmer, such as:

If you have a mirror in your entryway for last-looks before stepping out the door, you may want to select something with a high CRI rating to ensure your colours match and you are looking your best:

As always, it is a good idea to make use of dimmer switches in your entryway. They provide you with additional flexibility and control, allow you to adjust the lighting to suit the mood and time of day.

1 X 400w Trailing Push On And Off 2-Way Mirror Chrome Varilight Dimmer Switch

3 X 300w Trailing Push On And Off 2-Way Twin Plate White Varilight Dimmer Switch

2 X 250w Trailing Push On And Off 2-Way White Varilight Dimmer Switch

1 X 400w Trailing Push On And Off 2-Way White Varilight Dimmer Switch

ENTRYWAY LIGHTING TIP: Don’t forget about the outside of your entryway. Enhance this area with motion detector lights or dusk-to-dawn LED sensor lamps to avoid struggling in the dark with your keys at the end of a long day.


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Read the rest of our Room-by-Room Guide to Lighting your Home for more lighting tips and expert advice for lighting every space.

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