Go outside the property you are selling. Come back in the front door. What do you see? 

What you see will be what greets prospective buyers as well. 

If curb appeal is what gives buyers their first impression, an interior entranceway runs a close second. 

The entrance to a home for sale has a tall order to fill. It needs to telegraph immediately the value of your home as soon as buyers walk through the front door. And it still has to function as a space you use.  

Whether buyers are actually stepping through your front doorway, or viewing it as a real estate agent shows it via Facetime or as a videographer has recorded it, the first glimpse inside a home is a sales opportunity. Whether you're selling a one-bedroom, 600-square foot condo or a luxurious, 5-bedroom, 5,000-square foot residence, capturing the hearts and minds of buyers starts when that door opens. 

Make that initial impression count

Since every buyer likes spaciousness, the more spacious your entryway feels and looks, the better. It's not difficult to "get them at hello."

A demilune table like this black one
takes up minimal space, but gives you a
surface for staging a vignette.
The lamp is cordless. Photo: Room for Tuesday

One way to make your small space feel bigger is with good lighting. A well-lighted hall looks larger and more welcoming. 

If there is no overhead light or wall sconce, and no outlet for a lamp, you can use cordless lamps that are battery-powered. One of my favorite bloggers, Kristi at Addicted2Decorating, shows how to convert a standard lamp into a cordless one.  

Another way to magically enlarge the look of a room is staging with some transparent or translucent furniture pieces. A see-through table that almost disappears is perfect for a small foyer. The more floor that's visible, the larger the room will look. Mirrored furniture is also a great choice, since it bounces light around, and seems to erase boundaries.  

Most well-staged entryways include a wall mirror. Reflections create the illusion of spaciousness by tricking the eye. Some real estate pros insist that when buyers see their reflection in a mirror, it helps them envision themselves actually living there. It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but for sure it's true that a mirror enlarges a space visually. That's especially true when the mirror is oversized. 

Another trick decorators use is to ensure there is a view into other rooms. Even if the entry is small, it should offer a glimpse of the rest of the house. Don't let visitors be greeted by a blank wall. 

A small entrance is a perfect opportunity to use a 
Lucite console that practically disappears,
but adds a contemporary vibe.
Photo: Kim Scodro Interiors
When guests enter your home, are they starring at a closet door, or a flight of boring stairs, or a narrow space where coats and shoes are piled? Or do they see an open space tastefully staged, and a view into at least one other room? Ideally, the view from the foyer will be an open walkway that encourages them to enter the next room.   

Tease buyers with a preview 

Let the style of the entry reflect the style of your home -- rustic, modern, formal, coastal, urban, farmhouse, eclectic, or whatever you've decided your home "wants to be." For a together, more intentional appearance, your decor style should play nicely with the architecture of your home. When buyers see a McMansion decorated cottage style, it devalues the property in their minds. And your simple ranch home filled with formal furniture and 18th-century antiques doesn't do your home any favors either. Be true to your provenance.  

So, what you put in your front hall tells buyers what to expect -- a home they can't wait to tour, or one that leaves them lukewarm, or even disappointed. Disappoint them at the door, and it's difficult to dispel those poor first impressions.  

Add some decorative touches  

Just the way you'll do in other rooms of your staged home, add some props to your entrance to make your house look interesting, friendly, and desirable. You can round up the usual suspects: books, vases, plants, sculptures, candles. pictures, or interesting boxes and baskets, and choose two or three (not all!). A rule of thumb is that a staging prop should be no larger than a cantaloupe. That means it's big enough to be interesting, but small enough to not steal the show or disappear into someone's pocket.  

A runner or rug is usually a grounding element and makes the space feel pulled together. You just don't want to create a tripping hazard or add an area rug that's so small it looks like an afterthought or one that hides a beautiful floor that's a selling feature.

This hall runner breaks up the dark expanse of
flooring, yet coordinates with the black and white
color scheme of the area.
Photo: Tracey Ayton. Room design: Karla Amadatsu

There's something so Hollywood about a mirrored
piece of furniture. In this entrance, its look
is softened with books, a large plant, and some
charming vintage luggage. Photo: Adore Magazine

When the architectural details of your home  
are what you want buyers to notice, simple decor
in the front foyer is best. Photo: Unknown source

A roomy foyer can tolerate a useful addition like 
this cabinet. Clearly, this entrance is part of the front
room, but still acts like a separate area. Photo: BHG

When your entrance is this grand, a simple staging
shows it off best. A mirror over a clean-lined table with a tray
and some flowers won't steal the show from the gorgeous
flooring and staircase. Photo: Laura Casey

When visitors enter this home, it's clear they'll be
treated to a beachy interior. Photo: BHG

Get the look, get the  book

Be sure to visit my Pinterest board for more inspiring photos of hallways, foyers and entrances.  

And for everything you need to know to get you off and running, or just fine-tuning your existing home staging, you'll want my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar.  

Top photo by Michael Graydon; Room design by Montana Burnett