Design Advice - Cailean's Entry Way

Cailean asked me for some help with her entry way table and surrounding area. Here's her e-mail and a picture of the space as it looks now:

I'm wondering what you would do with a space like this? It's right by our front door. The entry table is very helpful for library books and to have a lamp but it ends up looking very blah. The space above our mantel is also empty. I really love bright colors with black or white as a base. I wouldn't mind an all white house with pops of color! Anyway, colors like bright canary yellow, turquoise, red or hot pink, etc. I think my main issue is we have a mantel with two blank spots on either side and I'm not sure if we should hang something on either side of the mantel AND above it or just above the mantel. The side table needs......something! But it needs to be useful for the books.


Here's what I came up with to brighten up Cailean's space.

cailean plan

Cailean's plan 2

1. I think an entry way table is a great place to hang a mirror; you can give yourself one last look before leaving the house. This one from Target is affordable and cute.

2. For above the mantle I wanted to find something large enough to make a statement without spending too much. Framing this beautiful gift wrap meets both criteria, it's size is 22"X34" and it's only $3.75.

3. Although not shown in the picture, Cailean was worried about the blank wall on the other side of the mantle. I think this is a great place for some more art work, but in a smaller scale. These butterfly prints have all the bright colors Cailean loves and are only $25 for the set.

4. An entry table always needs something to catch mail and keys. Something like this simple bowl would be perfect.

5. Right now Cailean's kids use the table as a dumping ground for their books and school work. A couple of baskets placed beneath the table would be a great way to keep these items organized and out of sight, but still accessible to the kids.

6. A few modern vases on top of the mantle would add a little interest.

7. Lastly, a canister to collect loose change would also help to organize the entry table.

Good luck Cailean! Need some design advice? E-mail me!


  1. Oh my goodness, seriously!? This is way beyond what I thought I'd get when I asked you for help! I really appreciate the details and ideas! I love it! Thanks so much!

  2. I love those colors and that every single thing is affordable!

  3. Always love what you do! And how I wish we had a Target here! Long live Target.

  4. I really think you should start an interior decorating business! People will pay for great advice like this. And maybe one day I'll turn on HGTV and I'll see you with your own show!!! LOL.

  5. Erica you need to do this for a living. C'mon, seriously.

  6. wow! You are truly talented. :) Im hooked on your blogspot!

  7. Ok, so many comments here! 1. Awesome, I especially love that the advice is for extra thrifty furnishings. 2. You HAVE to do this for a living! You are excellent at it, and design advice does not come cheap - people like us *need* people like you. :) 3. My living room needs help and I want to be your next victim, and if you will not take money, I am going to try overnighting our famous sponge candy from Buffalo. A lot of it. And possibly a bouquet of Target gift cards. 4. Question: What programs did you use for the sketch up and for the mood board? Thank you!

    Excellent job, as always!

  8. Love the sketch that you did, and that is a perfect solution! I would have stared at that for hours without knowing what to do.


  9. you know you're a genius right?