Staging a Foyer
Quick! You have less than a minute to make a really good impression on your potential home buyer when they walk in through the front door. How are you going to make them feel welcome? What can you do to keep them from turning around and walking back out the door?
This is where first impressions do count, so make yours one to remember. You've already cleaned and decluttered these rooms, staging a foyer is the polish that gives a glimpse of the lifestyle that awaits the buyer of this wonderful home.
Keep in mind what today's buyers are looking for: a well-kept home that is spotless, spacious, stylish and up-to-date. You can hit a bulls-eye on each of these targets - just follow along as we tackle each "first impression" room one by one. Continuing below, we start with the foyer. We have organized our tips for staging the living room and dining room on separate pages to make it easy for you to follow along.
Staging the Foyer
Think of the foyer as the "Table of Contents" for the home. It gives a sense of the amount of space in the home and its style - a sort of preview of what's in store.
The potential home buyer will evaluate a few things when standing in the foyer of a home they are about to tour. Will this room impress my guests? Is there enough room to take off a coat and hang it up? A place to sit and put on shoes and drop a purse? Does the room flow nicely into the other formal (or entertaining) spaces?
This is where you will tell (with your non-verbal staging choices) the prospective home buyer that this is the well maintained, up-to-date, perfect place to raise a family or entertain home that they are looking for.
Task 1. Assess the color palette
Staging a foyer is all about creating a welcoming feel and an ambiance that is appropriate to the style and price point of the home.
- That warmth starts with the wall color and we usually choose a light tan such as Benjamin Moore's Baby Fawn OC-15 or Cedar Key OC-16.
This means removing all wallpaper. For our favorite wallpaper removal method, without messy spray bottles or tedious scraping, you can
find it here.
These colors are rich enough to provide that warm feeling, dark enough to let mouldings pop, yet still light enough to allow the foyer to look bright. Again, we will choose an eggshell finish for the paint for easy cleaning and the sheen.
If the home has white mouldings throughout, then the foyer should have the mouldings and trim painted white as well.
- Semi-gloss white paint is our choice here. If the rest of the house has stained woodwork, then we make sure that the foyer's woodwork matches that in the rest of the home. Remember, the foyer is the preview of what to expect in the rest of the home - so try and keep everything consistent.
- The exception is the front door. If it is a richly stained wood door as in the photo above, then it is all right for this to be different than the other interior doors if they are painted. The front door makes a statement all its own and it has its own rules.
Task 2. Choosing furniture
The basic furniture pieces for the front foyer of a home are a table (either round or console depending on how much room there is ) and/or a
chair or bench.
Unless the foyer is larger than 12' x 12', you usually will not want to put anything else in the space.
If the foyer is very small or part of the living room in warmer climates, we usually will try and fit in a wall mounted shelf instead of using up the limited floor space for furnishings. This shelf can still say "foyer" to a prospective buyer and does show that the home has a place to drop keys or a purse. The shelf needn't be expensive and it won't take up any floor space. The one we use repeatedly is pictured at the right.
Task 3. Lighting
There are usually two types of lighting in a foyer or entryway. The first is general lighting, coming from a chandelier or perhaps sconces. The second is decorative lighting which can be in the form of a table lamp.
- It is important that the chandelier be the right size - many chandeliers or pendants in foyers are just too small. If possible, get a new chandelier that is a current style and finish. (Notice the chandelier in the photo above. The style of the home is gothic, and the wrought iron chandelier is the right size for the foyer and has gothic details.) Our choices can be found in our Resources pages. This the the jewelry of the room, so it should sparkle and have a presence.
- A table lamp will add extra lighting to the room.
- If there is a nearby outlet to plug one in, we recommend a decorative lamp be placed on the foyer table. If there is no outlet nearby that you can reach without a maze of extension cords, then omit it.
- A lamp of 15-18" in height is a good size in a foyer.
- The base of the lamp should be in the same finish as the chandelier. You can also choose a lamp base that coordinates in pattern and color with the rug you've chosen.
Task 4. Art and accessories
Accessories can add texture and interest to a foyer, but we need to be mindful not to reclutter the space when we accessorize.
- If there are large expanses of blank wall in the foyer (and visible stairway), then we will usually select a framed artpiece for the space. Stick to landscapes and abstract art subjects - they are gender neutral and will not offend anyone's taste. Above the console table or shelf are good places for a nice artpiece. Check out our favorite art choices in our Resources pages for good selections.
- Most of the time, we put a plant or vase of fresh flowers on the entryway table. Fresh greenery gives life to a room and you want your foyer to exude warmth, not a do-not-touch, sterile environment. For cut flowers, we choose mums, iris, calla lilies or a local variety that will last at least a week. Choose a single variety of flower in one color. It will be simple and elegant and easy to replace each week. If there isn't room for a table in the foyer, we will sometimes select a nice peace lily and put it in an inexpensive basket and set it on the floor in an out-of-the-way corner.
- If the table is large, you can also opt to place a small dish of wrapped peppermints on it. This is an inexpensive accessory that is also a gesture of hospitality.
- If the foyer has a chair or bench, then it should be left empty. This seating is also handy if you are requiring viewers to wear booties when they are in your home. (TIP: If you have replaced and/or cleaned your carpeting, then booties will reinforce that you are serious about cleanliness and keeping the carpeting in tip-top shape for the new owner. Not a bad reminder to have on the top of viewers' minds.)
After the foyer is completely staged, you can move on to staging the living room or you can move right to staging the dining room for more home staging ideas.
You might also want to return to our main home staging page from Staging a Foyer.