How To Make a Great First Impression....

First impressions are everything. Whether you have a small porch, a hallway (lucky you!) or are stepping straight into your living room, there are creative ways in which you can be organised and hide or display the everyday paraphernalia needed when dashing out of the house. It is possible to create a functional entryway and still make a winning first impression in what is probably the smallest space in your entire home.  

This little space has to work super hard, its the last thing you see when you leave the house and the first thing to greet you and visitors when you open the front door so why not make it great.

Carving out an area no matter what you currently have is definitely the key to managing a home with kids.  Anyone with school age children will sympathise, the chaos that is the school run, getting out of the house is no mean feat. The packed lunches, PE kits, book bags, homework and art master pieces alone are enough to create a mini Everest at the foot of your front door if not organised well. 

Firstly, assess your situation.  Do you have an under stairs cupboard in your hallway or entry way that accommodates your coats, boot and bags? If not consider how many people are likely to be unloading at the front door, and every season comes with its own gear, therefore plan at this stage, do you need a hook or two for everyone?  A set of peg hooks over a bench would accommodate a number of coats and bags as well as offering a seat when struggling to get shoes on or off.  Maybe a set of vintage school lockers, or a old armoire if you have the space.  If not foldaway pegs, such as the Bjarnum folding wall hooks from Ikea are a great option. Spray paint them to tie them in with your decor as silver may look a bit too functional (and it can't always be about function!).  I am about to spray paint some in copper to make them look a bit cooler next to my off black walls.  When opened these little hooks can hold multiple items and fold away when not in use. These can be installed at different heights, encouraging all the family to hang their stuff, even the tiddlers. 

Aim for functional beauty.  As a very wise man once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" William Morris.  Try to choose items that make you happy - this is never to underestimated! When you use it everyday, see it morning and night, the items need to work well.  If that beautiful coat stand topples every time you fling a coat at it, it will irritate you beyond belief, get rid and choose something that strikes a balance between beauty and function.

Shoe storage is your best friend.  The number of shoes in our house could give Clarkes a run for their money.  With the unsettled weather we are blessed with, its very likely we'll have flip flops and wellies on the go at the same time, therefore everyone gets a basket each. But these baskets are edited regularly.  The shoes used less often are sent to the wardrobe upstairs and the shoes that are needed quickly are stored in the basket.  You may find a welly rack useful, a small metal bin in summer for the lighter shoes or a full on shoe storage system.  Decide what shoes will live where and buy something suitable.

The hallway rug is integral to your happiness. I'm not joking.  All of us have had moments in our lives that test our courage and grit and taking children into a house with cream carpet is one of them! As it happens i'm fairly carpet phobic as it is so I have wood and tiles.  Easy to maintain and mop up the muddy footprints.  I do however need rugs to offset the practical floor, some of my favourites include Jute & Sisal, they add texture to any room.  They are eco friendly because they are constructed of natural fibres and compliment any decor.  Persian rugs are eye-wateringly expensive but so beautiful! There is a reason Persians are around for decades and still command insane prices  - they last and last. Darker shades hide the dirt well and one with a high knot density will be higher in price but can withstand cat claws, dogs digging for imaginary bones and most feral children.  Kilim rugs are also made to endure and offer the exotic feel of Persian rugs but are much kinder to the purse strings if you are looking for an alternative.

Creating a command centre in your entryway will save the mild panic stations when you are late and can't find the car keys.  A small shelf or slim console if  you have the room will do the job perfectly.  I don't actually have room for either of these so I have adapted a window ledge to do the job.  A small metal plant pot means all of our keys are in one place along with phone chargers or anything else we might need on our way out.

Once you have incorporated all of the essential items it's time to add a little fun.  Remember this is the first place people see when they arrive at your home so give them a glimpse of the treat that is to come.  Often hallways  and entryways are neglected because they are passed through so quickly.  But by adding a bit of personality in the way of colour on the walls (a place to be brave and experiment I say as you are unlikely to linger for long periods of time).  A vase with your favourite flowers or a few inspirational quotes, whatever floats your boat - incorporate it in some way.  It will make the difference when you arrive home after a hard day to see an organised space with a few of your favourite bits around you. 

What do you think? Do you have any clever storage solutions? As always let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend all!