Foyer Lighting Ideas and Design Planning Guide

The exterior of your home is one of the most important areas to home lighting design as this is the first thing you see when you come home, and where first impressions are made. The foyer or entryway sets the first impression of the interior of your home, making foyer lighting an important part of interior design. There are a wide range of foyer lighting ideas to choose from. The space of your entryway will determine what ideas and lighting plans will work best.

The Different Types of Entryways and Foyer Designs

The first thing to do when planning foyer lighting is to evaluate the layout and space of your entryway/foyer. Here are a number of different foyer layouts:

  • A Compact, small foyer – usually with a standard height ceiling.
  • Some foyers are a small hallway leading into the rest of the home
  • Some entryways are met with a wall/corner – so you face a wall when entering the home
  • Large foyers: 1.5 (the ceiling is coved) or double height ceilings

Some lighting ideas are more suitable for certain foyer designs than others.

The 3 Forms of Lighting

When lighting your foyer, or any part of a home, there are 3 types of lighting that you will need to keep in mind.

Ambient Lighting: This is general lighting – used to make a space feel comfortable and easily navigated.

Task Lighting: There are a number of tasks that are done in a foyer area: tying shoelaces, last minute checks in a mirror, reading mail, etc. Task lighting is used to make these activities easy to do: some task lighting ideas will include using table lamps.

Accent Lighting: This is ideal for larger spaces, but if you are creative, can be done for small foyers. Accent lighting helps create focal points. It is used to highlight certain objects, such as a vase of flowers, an art piece on the wall, or a certain wall texture – adding a luxurious touch.

The common standard foyer will only incorporate ambient lighting. You can make your foyer feel and look more elegant by incorporating all three forms of lighting.

Foyer Lighting Design Basics

Small/Compact Foyers (Short / Standard Ceiling Heights): Many modern homes will have a small and compact foyer. One ceiling light will usually provide enough light (while adding other forms of lighting, will add to the visual beauty and comfort).

Flush mount lighting

Types of ceiling entryway lights:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Flush mount lighting (Dish shaped ceiling lights)

Making The Foyer Feel Larger: There are a few lighting design tactics that can help you achieve this.

  • Lighting the walls will make the area feel more spacious
  • If you have a light colored ceiling – lighting the ceiling will create a more formal setting and the illusion that it feels larger (use wall washers to wash the ceiling with light).
  • Add a mirror to the foyer area with lighting around it
  • Light up all the corners of the space
  • Vertical light fixtures: such as vertical sconces
  • Hanging lights can make a space feel larger, but are more recommended for making larger coved/double height ceiling foyers look grander.

Making The Space Feel Cozy: If you would rather create a more “cozy” environment when you walk into your home, you will want to do the opposite of making the foyer feel larger. Bring light lower down to the ground, i.e. using table lamps/floor lamps/low wall lights makes an area feel cozy. Avoid lighting the ceiling.

Coved or Double Ceiling Heighted Foyer: For a large space you will want to use foyer pendant lighting. With a larger space, it is recommended to use as many different types of light fixtures (pendant lighting, floor lamps, wall lanterns). Using a range of light fixtures creates a number of different lighting effects. Whereas only using one type of lighting creates a monotone look.  Incorporate other lighting forms such as accent lighting (on vases, art work, textured walls).

An example of foyer pendant lighting: Moroccan style

Depending on your space, you can look to incorporate the other foyer lighting fixtures listed below.

Foyer Lighting Ideas

– An angled, localized, downlight from the ceiling: pointing down to a mirror/table

Directional ceiling lights

– A downlighting from the ceiling focusing on entryway décor such as an art piece or a textured wall: a good idea if your front door opens onto a wall

A textured wall being highlighted with light

– Use plug-in uplights on a table pointed at wall with a hanging painting

A column of lighting will make the foyer seem taller

– Place uplights on the floor, directed upwards onto a wall making the space feel taller

– Elegant wall lanterns

– Use multiple contemporary wall lights to create a column of light

Vertical or Horizontal Sconces. Work especially well around a mirror

Track Lighting: An elegant way of providing hallway lighting that leads down the foyer

Cove Lighting: a major undertaking but a sophisticated way of lighting an entryway. Cove lighting is when you build a fake ceiling and lights are fitted in a cutaway section

Floor Lighting: This can be done by lining the bottom of the walls edges with rope lights, installing recessed floor lights or as seen in a scene from the movie Inception – floor cove lighting

Floor Lamps are another way of bring light downwards creating a more intimate and cozy ambiance. A lighted twigs floor lamp is a decorative way of adding ambient lighting

– An Entryway Chandelier add grandeur for high ceiling foyers

Furniture in a foyer

Other foyer ideas include Adding Foyer Furniture: If you have the space, you can always add a table. The table can host a lamp or two, with a mirror placed on the wall. Not only will the mirror make the space feel bigger, it is ideal for last minute checks before leaving the house. The table lamps are ideal for adding task lighting

Al Fresco Painting: If you have a high ceiling, one idea would be to have the ceiling painted artistically. Then use entryway lighting fixtures such as wall washers or up lights to highlight the ceiling

Bring Natural Light Into Your Home: There is nothing more elegant and better for home living than using as much natural day light as possible. There are a number of ways to bring natural light into your foyer area during the daytime:

Doors: use frosted or stained glass front doors

Windows: Have columns of windows (frosted or stained) on either side of the door. Or have one fitted above the door either in an arc or rectangular shape

Using windows beings an abundance of natural light into the foyer

Foyer Design Pictures

In the top left we can see recessed and cove ceiling lighting has been used to light this foyer. One recessed light is directed highlighting the displayed artwork.

Foyer pendant lighting and a table lamp will light up this entryway at night

Natural light shines through the windows in the door, the column besides the door, and the sky light.While a pendant light fixtures provides light at night.

A contemporary wall light highlights the textured wall

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