First impressions matter, and the entryway to your business or home says a lot about you. Before new guests walk all the way inside, they are already evaluating things with a visual inspection, even though they may not consciously do it. A foyer needs to be appealing to the eye, and functional for specific purposes. Here are some simple tips for making a lasting impression with the first thing guests see.

Think function first, aesthetics next, beginning with the lighting and desired actions for the guests. Proper lighting in an entryway can make the difference between portraying success or struggles. Concentrate on the natural light or dramatic lighting fixtures to make a well-lit foyer that is inviting.

The door itself can make a difference. If your entry door is looking dingy and worn out, it may be time for a new one, or at the very least, some type of refurbishment. The door color can also represent success, if chosen to complement the overall appearance of the entryway.

Next, what should they do in the foyer? If it’s your home, you may want them to leave umbrellas, boots, and other wet things there. The same may be true for a business, but the entrance area is usually where the receptionist station is also, so this space doubles as a waiting room and conversation area.

Add some seating elements to your foyer to provide comfort while removing boots, or even just sitting down to wait for an appointment rather than standing around. An upholstered chair or bench invites people to come further inside and sit down to relax a moment. Choose pieces that won’t be too large, or they might overwhelm the small area. An occasional table is also a good idea, for placing small items when coming indoors. Furniture upholstery makes a difference here also, so find quality upholstery fabric in a pattern that complements the overall appearance.

Creative storage is helpful, since entranceways are often small areas, with a lot of activity. Consider finding a bench or an ottoman that serves as storage also, and some things can be kept inside, out of sight. For your home, add a key-hanging area or some decorative baskets to hold hats, scarves, and other small items.

Try adding a splash of color to the upholstered furniture with bright accent pillows, which gives the area a lush look and feel. The extra color can brighten up a dismal day outside, and is pretty easy to change out seasonally.

Décor can make a difference! Make the area look bigger with proper color selection, mirrors, and a clutter-free appearance. Some paint colors make a small area seem larger. An area rug or runner helps protect the floor, and seasonal decorations give the area a fresh appearance throughout the year.

For a small area like a foyer, function is important, and selecting the right furniture upholstery on ideal pieces for the space can make a difference, not only in comfort but also in visual appeal and storage.