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What was once grand and inviting, a foyer today is treated as more of a pass-through room. It's simply a place to hang your coat, throw your keys and set down the mail.

If your foyer is more upscale, you might have a piece or two of furniture and a mirror to check your look before heading out. But foyers have evolved. Nowadays, the foyer is more than just the first and last stop on your way in and out of the house. With some easy changes, you can help your foyer really make an impression.

Separation anxiety

Today's open concept homes sometimes mean that the foyer isn't as clearly delineated. If you'd like to give your home a more formal foyer or add in a layer of privacy, there are a number of ways to isolate the space so it builds some separation from the rest of the house.

A simple way is to add track panels at the ceiling that can be left open or closed to create a foyer. Heavy curtains are yet another way to add privacy and define the entry. Another option is adding a large piece of furniture. For example, bookshelves can act as a wall to create a layer between the entry and the remainder of the house. Adding in a different type of flooring can also help create separation. At the very least, a rug can be placed here to define the foyer.

Entertaining thoughts

A foyer doesn't just have to be a pretty spot at the front of the house that's lacking function. If your foyer is large enough, consider using it more often by adding seating, a table and artwork. Treating the design of the foyer as a more traditional room is one way to start. When you're entertaining, a foyer can be used as an overflow room.

For foyers lacking space but requiring seating, consider a console table here to hold keys and mail, and add ottomans underneath that can be pulled out for extra seating. Or, set simple chairs on either side of your console to give your guests a spot to pull on shoes, sit with a drink at parties or hold coats when guests come.

Starting over

Think of your foyer as the star of your home; it's the first room someone sees and you want your entrance to make, well, an entrance. Painting it with a stylish color that's different from the rest of the house can make it stand out and make a bigger impression. This is the area where you can splurge on artwork, rugs and furnishings because they will set the tone for the remainder of the house. Think of your entry as the giftwrap and your home as the gift. By adding special, unique touches in the entryway, you'll make visitors want to see the rest of the house. This is especially helpful if your home is for sale, too, as a beautiful entry makes an impression.

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