Samantha Pynn’s Design Lesson : How to Design an Entry in Three Parts

Samantha Pynn shows us how to design an entry in three parts: exterior, threshold and interior.


The goal to a great entryway is to create a visual link from the porch to the interior hallway, and that starts with a fab exterior. For a house, the architecture often influences the exterior palette. Check out the beachy vibe of this clapboard house (shown left). Its breezy sky-blue colour reinforces the coastal mood, and the cool tones of the grey-painted porch floor and sparkling white trim pop thanks to the flourishes of red and black. The potted palms and the lantern-style sconce strengthen the seaside look. For apartment dwellers, it’s a little trickier. The facade and public hallway of your building might not be what you want to emphasize in your home, but do you have a balcony where you can explore the indoor-outdoor connection? In this case, let your interior decor influence your outdoor space, repeating living room colours in your outdoor cushions and potted flowers. Often, it’s the smallest detail that makes the biggest feel-good impact.




The biggest decorating element of the threshold is your front door, and there are many ways to make it beautiful. You can keep the look cohesive by painting the door in a shade found in your home’s brick or stucco, and connect inside and out with hardware in the same finishes. Painting a door black will add a formality and you can create cohesiveness with easy-to-find black accessories. Or throw caution to the wind and paint your door an unexpected colour. The most gorgeous front door I’ve ever seen was painted a glossy coral, and while the colour didn’t speak to any other exterior colour, its glossy finish referenced the glamorous furnishings inside and out. If you’re in an apartment and painting your front door isn’t an option, you can still create a hint of connection. Repeat the hardware finish or colour of your suite door on a runner or accessories in the entryway for a subtle but effective connection.


Whether your entryway is grand or you step right into your living room, the furnishings need to echo the outside and the threshold, as well as hint at what’s to come in the rest of the house. If you don’t have much of an entry, a rug will delineate the space. Choose one that relates to an exterior element. If your home or building has a red door, have a touch of red in your rug or hang a piece of art with just a hint of red (shown left). A console with a catch-all for keys and a bench for putting on shoes will keep the space organized; opt for pieces with built-in storage. In this entryway (left), a black rattan stool salutes the outdoor sconce, and the closet’s gold handle sings back to the front door’s gold hardware. Again, the small touches connect all three zones and make a memorable entry!


Photography, Allan Pynn

Keep Your Entryway Tidy

  • Edit coats and shoes seasonally and shop for furniture where you can stash shoes, hats and gloves.
  • Spurge on stylish hooks for the dog’s leash and seasonal coats.
  • Consider a coat rack if you’re short on closet space. It can be a sculptural element that adds presence and a vertical feature.


    Acapulco CHAIR in Yellow, $529, CB2,



    Vrensted flat-weave indoor/outdoor RUG, $50, IKEA,



    Fulford outdoor LIGHT, $375, Luminaire Authentik,



    Farrah brass-plated entryway CONSOLE with mango wood top, $598, Renwil, for retailers.



    Raghorn indoor/outdoor woven PLANTER, $30, IKEA,


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