Small Entranceway Solutions: How to Put Your Thinking Cap On

Small spaces come with small entries, and no matter how you slice it, that’s a pain that causes a lot of complications.

It’s bad enough if you commute for work the old-fashioned way, but as an active cyclist on the Wet Coast, I’d do some pretty unthinkable things to get myself a real entranceway where I can ditch my often-wet gear without leaving a mess behind. Luckily, I have storage adjacent to my entry and it saves me with some minimalist solutions involving hooks and mats. It’s functional, but it could be prettier.

If, like me, you have a door you can close on all that, great. If not, a sexier solution is possible, but it’ll take a lot of searching, creativity, and even cold, hard cash, in order to make function and style meet in the foyer.

Entranceways: a reality check

Realistically, most modern urban small spaces don’t offer much entrance flexibility. These places have little hallways that can’t say “Put an entrance solution here!” because there’s no room.

Before you go seeking solutions, you need a reality check on just how much space you have, and what’s functions are most important to you by a doorway. Bust out the tape measure and really get a sense of your spot and the needs you must meet.

Need to hang  jackets there? Leave shoes there? Is it where you want your keys, hats, gloves, umbrella, and more? What kind of budget do you have?

Shoe storage

Shoes are the bane of every doorway, but it makes sense to have some by the door. The operative word being “some,” especially in small spaces.

With a really small entrance, you have to prioritize. You can’t keep all your shoes here. It will be insanity-inducing to even try. You need more than just a place to kick off shoes at the door.

Whether it’s installing a couple floating shelves for shoe baskests, using an already-existing shoe rack, or spending bucks to get something multipurpose, like a bench with shoe cubbies built into it, get used to the idea that some of your shoes belong in the bedroom closet.

You can think beyond the cubby for shoe conundrums, because some folks have solved it with everything from wine racks to storage boxes.


Closets are great, but for some of us they’re like little rooms with force-fields, and somehow the coat never quite makes its way onto a hanger. For us, coat-racks are a lifesaver.

Really, there’s no other useful way to store your coat beyond something with a hanger or hooks, like a rack or clothes-tree, but designs and styles are really where it gets choosy. There’s a whole world of hook options out there that’ll help you customize a personal solution too. A special board, some hooks, and a screwdriver, and you’re on your way to coat-control.

What else?

What makes sense in your entranceway?

Things that make sense to have near your entrance include a mirror for the last-minute vanity check before you hit the streets, a hook or platter to store your keys on, a shelf to drop the mail on, someplace to rest a dripping umbrella, and a spot sit on for tugging on shoes.

There are a variety of things we associate with doorways, and somehow you want it all to fit in place.

It’d be nice if I could give you more constructive, obvious answers, but the truth is, there are so many different entranceways and so many different personal needs, that there’s simply no one fix-all solution for any one space.

Combining a set of functional items together, with a little shelving and some hooks, is probably the best way for small-space owners to work. Pre-made pieces would be wonderful, but they’re probably not going to be the right size.

Maximize space, build in extra uses

With a great selection of hooks and creativity, this crafty homeowner broke down an old shipping pallet and made a nice modern entrance solution. Function comes first by the doorway, but style can come a close second if you’re thinking outside the shipping box for your space.

A perfect entrance, for me, has a spot to sit, a place to store 3-4 pairs of shoes, and then it changes if it’s winter, because then I need a spot for all my winter hats and gloves, scarves, an umbrella, and even kicking off footwear gets messier, so I need a tray to store them on. In the summer, I can pare back and simplify the entrance a bit.

That’s the life of the small space owner, always looking to maximize space and build in extra uses. With some hooks, a seating spot, and some storage, you’ll solve your entrance woes. There’s a world of solutions waiting for you to find a creative way to combine a few to meet your space’s needs. Have fun and think creatively.

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