It's important to make a good impression right at the start, says NRITHYA RAJAN, and tells you how

Do you have a covered porch? Is the landing wide enough for guests to wait until you open the door? Is the entrance lighting warm and welcoming? All these make a difference to your home, so it might be time to tackle them. An entranceway makeover can give your home a distinctive touch and character. A few aspects like landscaping and lighting help create the perfect entrance.

Build up style

The entrance is not just a doorway but a transition from the outside to the inside of the home. Ideally, it should reflect the home’s character. Simplify it if you’re in a small house or apartment. Change the door and update the way your door number and nameplate is displayed. When you have limited floor space, focus on the walls by hanging a painting or mural and lighten it up. Always remember the fifth wall, the ceiling. Use different material or paint to highlight it. For example, silk has made its way from upholstery to lighting and you can create a focus point by hanging a chandelier. Create a canopy around the foyer in the absence of a covered porch by adding a pergola.

If you want clean lines, then keep the attention on the flooring and use a simple door, maybe in a wood-glass blend. Use modern fittings and artefacts to frame the entry. Work in grandness into the design with wider steps, a huge landing space or an interesting canopy. Elaborate carved doors and antique grills and fittings make a traditional statement. Decorative columns or a traditional bench are also good ideas. You can create a very modern look by opting for a pastiche of styles — bright colours, lighting, and mixed styles create drama. It need not follow a particular style or theme, but make sure it all blends together.

Go green

Paving, lighting, and plants create a lovely overall effect at the entrance. If there are steps at the front door, make them wide so that potted plants can flank the entry. Use plenty of air purifying plants like Bamboo and Areca Palms, Snake and Spider Grass, Peace Lilies and Gerbera Daisies. Use slip-resistant tiles and make sure there is plenty of light.

Formal entryways are usually symmetrical, with both sides mirroring each other. Tiles and potted plants are set in regular patterns leading to the door. Informal spaces lend scope for creativity — stones set in irregular patterns, shrubs mix-and-matched, a crazy paving path, or a series of potted plants of varying heights.

Light it up

Lighting changes the ambience completely and makes even a simple entry or apartment door into something dramatic. Fix small lights in the steps, hidden lights that wash the door or wall with rays, or recessed fixtures. If you have an overhang above your entry, hang an outdoor pendant fixture. Create upward or downward lighting effects on either side of an apartment door.

Importantly, don’t overdo it. Shadows work well to define areas and the contrast between light and dark adds much more drama than a floodlit area. Try to hide light sources behind shrubs or landscape boulders. Or use fixtures that are both sculpture and light source.

Specific beliefs

Chinese Fengshui and Indian Vastu treat entranceways differently. Fengshui believes that a house absorbs its main energy or chi through the main entrance; hence advocates that the entrance be kept well-lit, uncluttered and free to let the chi in. Avoid overgrown bushes, broken structures or footwear outside the main door. Fengshui also objects to mirrors facing the main door as it pushes away all the good energy. Just inside the door, Fengshui advocates lush plants, a fish tank or a bowl of water.

Vastu Shasta says the entrance should be to the north-east, with the main door the largest door in the house. It prefers two-leaf doors, to allow good vibes to enter and bad vibes to exit. The door should be a few feet away from the corner junction, and in apartment blocks, the main door should not directly face the opposite house. A water body or other water element in the north-east side with an idol or statue at the centre is suggested. Avoid septic tanks or underground tanks near the entrance.

Integrating these simple theories with creativity can add a unique touch to the entry and define the rest of the house.