How I Utilize Every Inch of My Tiny Entry

The Entry Way at Berrybrier is small, tucked into the corner of the front house addition between the porch and dining room. Because Portland is infamous for it’s rainy season, this little entry needs to work overtime to provide plenty of storage and a place for us to remove our boots. Of course, much like the living room, the entry has evolved a bit since I first moved here.

Let’s start in the beginning, as most stories should. When I bought Berrybrier, the entry looked was an empty box with an off-center, too long pendant light everyone kept hitting their heads on. The door was off center too — but that didn’t bother me — the space beside it provided a good spot for storage without blocking the flow of circulation.

So what did I do with then entry next? I don’t have a perfect photo as this area was left at the wayside while I tackled other things, but slowly, it did start to perform more function.

You may have noticed the entry in my February 2018 Renovation Realities video tour! Ah, chaos. Guard your eyes! Tucked in the corner amidst the insanity that was my house for so long is the entry way. Yes, I know this photo is horrifying, but it’s the only one I have showcasing the small antique hall tree I bought on Craigslist for $100 when I first bought Berrybrier. Looking back, I probably overpaid for it, but I’d wanted one for a long time and this one finally fit the bill. Tucked next to it, I placed a chair I already had and an indoor/outdoor rug I’d bought when I lived at the Duplex.

Ironically, even when the room was cleaned up as the renovations died down and my life returned to normal, the entryway stayed about the same. The noticeable exception was the pendant light fixture, which I swapped with the small Dining Room fixture, which didn’t have a cover, but the pendant looked great in the Dining Room! The rug was gone — it never could agree to stay put when the door was opened — but everything else was pretty much the same. We tucked some IKEA baskets at the base of the hall tree to hold shoes and called it good.

The problem with the hall tree though, was the hooks are all stacked vertically on top of each other. This meant that you really could only access the top hook and whatever jacket was there, hid any others below. It was frustrating and always looked frumpy. The worst part? It really wasn’t all that functional.

I needed a better solution, so I set out to switch things up and make an entryway that really worked for me. What did that mean? Let’s take a look…

  • Storage – Berrybrier has minimal storage on the first level and with no coat closet, the entry needed to work hard and hold as many winter raincoats as possible. Since we’re a shoe’s off house it also needed to fit plenty of shoe storage.
  • Mirror – this is the last place we are before leaving the house, it’s always nice to have a mirror so you don’t miss that leaf of spinach stuck between your teeth before you run off to a meeting!
  • Rug – we needed something underfoot that would allow us to walk in with boots on and remove them without tracking too much mud and water into the house. A rug would help to collect that debris, but it would need to be easily washable!
  • Chair – I’m not coordinated enough to take off rainboots without sitting down, so a place to perch was key.
  • Plants – I’m a plant-obsessed millennial, what can I say? I wanted a plant to sit in the entry and liven the space up.
  • Light – you can see in the photo above, the light fixture I stole from the Dining Room needed a bulb cover and even still, I wanted a lamp, because turning on an entry lamp during a gathering just seemed like a lovely way to greet people on a rainy, grey Portland day.

After living in the Dining Room and my Master Bedroom, a high boy dresser found a space in the entry. The chair that had sat in the entry for over a year was covered in paint splatters and although I kept telling myself I’d refinish it, I never did, but a sheepskin thrown over it covered the splatters and looked oh, so cozy!

Fun fact about the entry door: one of the first things the realtor who gave me my first tour of Berrybrier said to me as we walked in was “Oh you’ll have to replace that ugly front door too.” Ummmm… no! Even though it’s not exactly period-appropriate, I really like this door! Do I wish it was a slightly darker, less orange shade? Yes, but just add that to my to-list! Besides, it’s a pretty close match to the orangey floors which aren’t going away any time soon either.

I also got a new rug from IKEA that fits the space a little bit better. It has the same issues with the front door though. Dang it! Anyone have tricks for keeping the edge of a rug from curling up and stopping the door? It’s driving me crazy!

And the dresser? What’s in there, you might ask. Shoes. Lots and lots of shoes. It’s packed with them. All five drawers hold shoes. It’s amazing!

And, I got my lamp, y’all. This little guy is from Target and I’ve had him for ages. He’s a smaller size, but the perfect fit there in front of the antique mirror I got at the annual Laurelhurst neighborhood garage sale. Next to the lamp is a small silver tray I inheirited from my Great Aunt Alma. It has an “O” initial in the center which I love and it’s the perfect place to drop your keys when you come in the front door! Besides that is a larger wooden tray which I got from my Oma and painted the water damaged tray bottom with pink spray paint. It hold a tin of dog treats (gotta keep the puppy sitting when guests arrive!), a lovely ZZ plant, and a box from Target’s Hearth and Home Line. The box holds extra keys, a flashlight, a box cutter for slicing into newly arrived packages, and some other odds and ends. It’s an awesome addition!

Things started to come together all over the place. I even found a glass cover for the light fixture buried in the basement. Though, the chrome isn’t my favorite. Maybe I’ll take the whole fixture down and spray paint it black?

On the other wall, I added a piece of 1×5 that I painted in Benjamin Moore’s Forest Floor to match the trimwork in the room. I screwed it into the studs and then predrilled small holes and screwed in five of these simple Home Depot hooks. Boom! A hook rail! Instantly twice as functional as the hall tree too, even though it has fewer hooks!

Gerdie, my new puppy even likes running though here now. And I do mean running! Gotta make sure there aren’t any squirrels in the garden, you know?

So that’s where the Entry at Berrybrier has landed — for now. Who know’s what I’ll be cooking up in here next?! I’ll leave you with a little before and after, just so we can all take a minute to appreciate the power of paint and a few furnishings!

What do you do to pack storage into your entry? Or do you have a mudroom or garage that you usually come though? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “How I Utilize Every Inch of My Tiny Entry

  1. A opening bench would work well here also. withbaskets for each person’s shoes. it would be a place to sit and storage. Love the coat rack!

  2. You are making me think of my own entryway! I have a vintage hotel luggage cart (think big brass cage) that i use for hanging coats. I always wanted one, for no logical reason. I found one at a decent price, and now I have one. It’s nice because my house has no coat closet (because, Texas). but it blocks a window and is stuck back in the corner. (entry is directly into the living room.) I think I’d rather have it out more as show piece like a sofa table. Use the platform for my work, school, and gym bag landing area, but hang coat hooks somewhere else so the top stays open.

    tl;dr: My house has totally different challenges, but you still made me think. Thanks 🙂 LOL

    1. Chris that sounds like such an awesome vintage piece! I’m a little jealous! I’m loving my coat hook rail but I also considered a traditional standing coat rack. You might be able to make one of those in your space! Good luck!

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