An entrance to any home is a special and vulnerable place. It is the gateway from the public realm to the private. It is often the only interior space that visitors to your home may see. It is also a functional and ceremonious place, a significant one where someone picks you up, drops off a food delivery or the perfect refuge for a first kiss after a good date. Depending on the architectural treatment, it can be called entry, entrance, entry hallway, hall, reception, vestibule and foyer.
Decorating an entrance hall or foyer can be a great deal of fun. It can be the one space in your home that is a little over the top to suggest the overall tone of the decor of the home. It is also the location where many choose to decorate with elements that have inherent meaning to establish good luck and protection. These decorative accessories have historically and culturally carried meaning.
A horseshoe is a classic symbol of good luck generally placed above the front door. Placed with its open side facing up is supposed to contain good fortune for those that live in the home. Placed with the opening side down, mean good luck bestowed on anyone who walks underneath it or through the doorway.
In most southern homes, a pineapple is a symbol of graciousness and hospitality. This delicious fruit can be found as a motif on a wallpaper to cut-glass lamp bases, to brass finials for drapery or as a door-knocker. It is now an international symbol for the hotel industry worldwide.
Elephant figurine or drawing of an elephant is meant to imply strength and stability. Originally, in Hindu, the elephant represents the deity of Ganesh, god of good luck and good fortune. Elephants are also gentle giants, and elephants with upward turned trunks are sought out decorative accessories also believed to hold good fortune.
Finally, Foo Dogs are the darling of foyer decor. These small statues are really lions, even though some may find them similar to Chow-Chow’s or Shih Tzu’s. Foo Dogs are guardians and have been used for thousands of years at the entrance of a home. Usually in pairs they symbolize a family, one with a ball and the other with a cub.
Of British lineage, Staffordshire dogs are reminiscent of the foo dogs. Their pose and scale are similar to those coming from the Orient. Used mainly in fireplace mantles and entry halls, their function as a talisman for good luck is the same.
According to feng shui principles, the color red is a sort of fix-all for problems with the flow of chi (energy) into the home, which explains the many red entry halls, libraries and dining rooms throughout the decorative world. Strands of white lights, are also eschewed by those that follow feng shui, and these can be put in plants or swirled in glass containers to add light and sparkle to an entrance.
Remember it is important to put your best dog, fruit or elephant forward, when receiving someone in your home, but most of all at the entry.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla.