Make an Entrance: Warm Up Your Entryway This Winter

Winter. It's a time of crisp air, gently falling snow, and piles of coats, slushy boots and soggy mittens in your front hall. This season, make your entryway organized and inviting. Here's how:

Make first impressions count.

Give your door a fresh coat of glossy paint, and put down a new doormat. Hang a nice winter wreath or plant an evergreen in a sturdy urn.

Store your stuff out of sight.

If you don't have enough closet space, add storage by hiding a garment rack behind a curtain, using an armoire, installing a coat tree or hall stand, or by trying one of these storage ideas:
- A bench with built-in storage holds your stuff and offers a convenient spot to sit down and put your boots on.
- A small bookshelf with labeled baskets is good for storing small items.
- A chest of drawers can make your front hall look more like a furnished room, and it gives you a surface for photos, a lamp or incoming mail.

Stay in season.

Move non-winter items to a different part of your home. Leave some extra space and extra hangers for your guests' coats.

Tame your shoes.

Set a limit to how many pairs each person can keep by the door, and install a shoe rack to keep footwear organized. Avoid putting boots on a mat that doesn't drain � they won't dry properly and the leather will get damaged. A perforated tray with a mat underneath will let your footwear drip-dry.

Hook it.

Heavy-duty hooks keep backpacks, scarves, purses and coats off the floor. Hang them at a height where kids can reach them to make it easy for them to put away their things.

Make a place for your misplaceables.

How much time do you spend hunting for keys, sunglasses, cell phones and dog leashes? Dedicate a basket or bowl to these important items by the front door, and you'll never have to search under the couch cushions again.

Design idea 1: Install a hook and small shelf for each person, and stencil their name on the wall beside it.

Design idea 2: Hang an ornate frame and fill the blank space in the middle with small, pretty key hooks.

Floor décor.

Offer a warm welcome with a soft, washable rug that doesn't show dirt easily. Put a mat outside, too; wiping your feet before you go in will mean less muck and less cleaning.

Don't forget to decorate.

Paint your entryway a striking colour, hang a graceful mirror, incorporate family photos or a favourite piece of art, add a table lamp and an accessory or two. Make it welcoming and beautiful. After all, it's the first place people see when they come into your home.