A well-designed foyer reflects your lifestyle and sense of aesthetics
A foyer is an entryway to a home. Often, the design and decoration of foyers are overlooked as they are considered to be just a passage. However, passageways are fast diminishing and many homes have front doors that open out directly into the main living area. With apartment dwelling and the scramble for square feet, we have forgotten and underestimated the foyer’s value.
Foyers have both utilitarian and design roles to play within a living space. The utilitarian aspects of a foyer include storage and security space. Design-wise, you can set the tone of an entire house right at the entrance while still providing visual privacy.
An effective design is achieved typically only when form follows function. A good home design is one where clear demarcations have been made, based on the various levels of privacy required. Every home has public, semi-public, semi-private, private and absolute private spaces. Foyer is the first public space within the privacy of one’s home. A foyer typically leads to the living room and sometimes the dining area, which are considered the semi-public areas of your home, where guests are entertained.
A well-designed foyer will cut both visual and physical access into the living areas of the home. Imagine walking into a home and being able to see everything from the main door? It is also aesthetically unappealing.
The foyer sees the highest traffic within a home and needs proper storage planning. You would be surprised at the number of activities that actually happen within that small space! Typically, lifestyle and culture dictates a foyer’s storage space design.
Generally we Asians, especially South Indians, do not wear outdoor footwear inside our homes. Both from the point of cleanliness and of emotional detachment, of not bringing in worldly worries into one’s home, we follow the practice of leaving our footwear at the doorstep. Thus, a storage space there makes a lot of sense. There is no formula to calculate the space you need for footwear, as it is lifestyle dependent, but you could design space for overlooked items such as shoe polish, cleaning cloth, shoehorns, and foot sprays. These cabinets need proper ventilation, as we don't want to walk into a smelly foyer nor invite foot-related diseases.
Provide seating for easy donning of footwear. Vaasthu and Fengshui suggest a mirror at the entrance to ward off evils, and it makes practical sense as well -- you want to take one last look at yourself before leaving the house. If you have very little or no foyer space, at least keep aside a minimum space for footwear. This could be combined as a design element installed for visual privacy.
A foyer also needs to house other items such as umbrellas, raincoats, a key stand, a bucket and cloth for the car wash, cap soap oil, raincoats, kolam/rangoli powder and so on. This list is neither exhaustive nor restrictive.
Most of us have grown up being asked to pack our school bags the night before and leave it near the door. Not only do these patterns continue, most families use this area to keep things that they need to take with them when they leave home in the morning for work or school -- a sort of memor area for lunch bags, car keys, bills, office bags, laundry items and so on. An attractive hat or umbrella stand with mirror could make a great design statement.
Many families also typically install their inverters in this space, as the main electrical line is often located at this point. This is practical.
Evaluate your foyer and redesign your foyer to make the most of this space. A well-designed foyer has proven to reduce irritations in most households. Design a space that not only houses practical necessities but is also aesthetically appealing.
While foyers give guests the first impression about your home, even more important, it is the space that greets you and your family when you come home every single day.
The writer is a design specialist who heads Edge Design House, a retails solutions practice.