There are two ways to do this... create a physical barrier, or a visual one. You can use furniture pieces to create a physical barrier. A sofa can be positioned so that it's back creates a walkway, or mini hallway. You could also use a large (securely fastened) bookshelf or cabinet.
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A visual barrier is created by giving you something to instantly focus on as you enter the house. A console or hall table gives you a place to pause as you enter, also a place to pop your keys or the mail.
A mirror or piece of art above the table helps to anchor the setting, and a rug or runner is perfect for leading you into the room.
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A long stool works well too - it provides a place to put your shoes on as you're heading out, or pop your bag down when coming in. Again, the art helps define the space and the rug welcomes and leads you in.
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This little round table (below) is placed just inside the doors, working in the same way as the console tables and stools. The cowhide rug is the anchor this time, stopping the table from floating aimlessly in the space.
The room our clients first walk into is large and open plan, so we will be using quite a long credenza. Plenty of drawers will provide storage for mail and bits and pieces they want to hide away. On top we'll be able to create a lovely welcoming vignette, and hang a favourite piece of art behind.
Does your front door lead straight into a room rather than a hall? If so, what are your tricks?