Q: Our front door opens right into the middle of the living room, which is on the small side, yet I've always dreamed of a house with a beautiful entryway. What would it take to make it feel like an entryway, even if it isn't?
A: Welcoming entryways are the perfect way to greet your friends, your own family, and even yourself, every time you walk through the front door. For now, you can create a beautiful entryway with what you already have. No need to dream about a different house when you can have more of what you want right now.
Is your style more formal or casual? The essentials of any entryway, for a front or back door, would be to have a useful place to set your keys, bag or purse, and mail that is convenient and out of the traffic pattern. If you have space, a bench or stool is a nice touch. For a more formal style, choose traditional pieces like a narrow table with drawers for keys and your phone chargers, and a place for the mail. A mirror or art is great if you have a wall, and a decorative bucket or urn for umbrellas is both pretty and functional.
If you don't have a wall, it's fun to make a hallway out of furniture to separate the space. On just one side, try a low or counter-height bookcase. This keeps the view around the room clear when you're sitting or walking around. Add baskets across the lowest shelves for shoes, gloves, and hats. Taller bookcases with no back allow you to see through into the next space. Use one or two in a row, and secure them to the ceiling.
Or place your sofa perpendicular to the front door so the back creates a "wall" and separates the space. A sofa table will add some storage if you need it. A lamp or some tall candlesticks further divide the space without disrupting the view.
Make a room-dividing screen out of trellis panels, vintage windows, shutters, or narrow old doors. Carefully remove the glass, or have a contractor do it for you. Or replace the glass with two-sided antiqued or distressed silvered glass, which sort of looks like a mirror. You can also find a smaller window or screen and hang it from the ceiling above the sofa table or a low bookcase.