First impressions last a lifetime. Though this axiom is most frequently employed to describe people, we think it applies equally to interior design. Consider the foyer. After all, a foyer — alternately, the entryway, entrance, vestibule and lobby — serves as a kind of design ambassador, introducing and welcoming guests to a home. And just like a smile or a handshake, it hints at what comes next: spaces that will either be inviting or formal, casual or dramatic, warm or minimal. The ideal foyer should be dazzling, demonstrative and tell a story unique to its inhabitants. To help get you started on the right foot, we’ve assembled a gallery of 17 beautiful entry ways, ranging from a spare Dallas atrium to a neoclassical Norman castle. It would be a pleasure to make the acquaintance of every one of them.
For the foyer of this Greenwich, Connecticut country home, interior designer Thom Filicia used round mirrors by Jonathan Burden and a Hickory Chair bench to balance the home’s neo-Georgian Colonial architecture.
Photo courtesy Elle Decor
A parcel-gilt ebonized console in the style of Napoleon III and a Chippendale-style mirror welcomes guests to a Richard Mishaan–designed suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
Photo courtesy The Monacelli Press
Photo courtesy Argent
Designer Frank Roop used an oversize tufted bench to add an “unexpected or dramatic” element to the entryway of this Boston-area colonial home.
Photo by Eric Roth
The foyer of this prewar Manhattan home includes a bench and mirror by Karl Springer.
Photo by Eric Piasecki/OTTO
To offset the dramatic concrete, steel and limestone architecture of this Dallas, Texas home, designer Emily Summers used a spare, geometric glass table .
Photo by Steve Wrubel
The foyer of Lee Mindel’s Manhattan penthouse is furnished with an assortment of iconic pieces, including Frank Gehry‘s corrugated chairs, a Siamese bench by Antoni Gaudí and a custom floor lamp by Maarten Baas.
Photo by Michael Moran
For a Palm Beach, Florida entryway, designer Ellie Cullman used a vibrantly colored Donald Sultan artwork to add contrast to an antique bench.
Photo by Eric Piasecki
Photo by Eric Piasecki/OTTO
A view of the reception rooms at Cuthbert, a historic, Gothic Revival Georgia home owned by antiques dealer and interior designer Furlow Gatewood.
Photo by Paul Costello
For the lobby of a Spanish winery, design duo Oitoemponto employed a 1940s French bas-relief depicting Noah and his son harvesting after the flood, and clad the walls with wood traditionally used for wine barrels.
Photo by Francisco Almeida Dias
Famed product designer Philippe Starck created this dramatic entry hallway for a residential building in Pune, India.
Photo courtesy Philippe Stark
Architect Robert A.M. Stern created this carefully proportioned, perfectly lit entrance for a residence in East Quogue, New York.
Photo by Peter Aaron
At his country home, interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot created an entry vignette comprised of a green18th-century Portuguese settee, early-18th-century wrought-iron plant stands from Spain and a mid-19th century French lantern overhead.
Photo by Xavier Bejot
Photo by Lisa Romerein/OTTO
The grand, antique-filled entry gallery of designer Howard Slatkin’s New York City apartment.
Photo by Tria Giovan
An antique porphyry bowl sits in the center of the entrance hall at the Château de Champ de Bataille, a 17th-century estate in Normandy owned by interior designer Jacques Garcia.