How To Choose Entryway Lighting

The foyer is the first thing people see when they enter your house so your entryway lighting should make a statement! These foyer lighting tips will brighten any space.

The lighting in your foyer should create an inviting warmth and set the tone for the rest of the home. That means that you should take a little bit of time to consider the design, layout, wattage and style trend of your entryway lighting when designing this space.

This article will cover

  • Layout and design tips for your foyer lights
  • The best size, style, and wattage for bulbs
  • Current trends for entryway lighting and how to tie it into your home 
  • Some decor tips to tie the lighting into the rest of the space.

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Design tips for your entryway lighting

The design of your foyer lighting will depend mostly on the size of your entryway and the style of your house. Although you might have seen photos of large beautiful hanging lampshades, they might not tie in with the rest of your home's aesthetic! However, rest assured you can have tasteful, aesthetically pleasing lights that leave an impression even if you have a smaller space to work with.

  • If you have a small entryway, where the door leads into a closed hallway rather than a big room, then you will want to avoid large hanging chandeliers or lampshades. Instead, try looking for smaller, flatter decorative lampshades. If you are able to change the light fixtures easily, opt for semi-flush lighting so you still have some room to get creative with the lampshades without overcrowding the space.
Light Lantern Geometric Semi Flush Mount
Simple Globe Semi Flush Entryway Lighting
Industrial Bell Shape Semi Flush Entryway Lighting
Drum Semi Flush Entryway Lighting
Elegant Gold Semi Flush Entryway Lighting
3 Light Cylinder Semi Flush Entryway Lighting
  • For large foyers, where the door opens up into a larger room or the roof is higher than one storey, you can get creative with larger lampshades and statement pieces. Elaborate chandeliers, large-diameter spherical lights, or multi-light pendants will be your best bet.
Gold Globe Chandelier Entryway Lighting
Light Candle Style Classic Chandelier
Traditional Chandelier with Crystal Accent
Big Unique Chandelier Entryway Lighting
5 Light Shaded Classic Chandelier
Light Candle Style Wagon Wheel Chandelier
  • For statement foyer lighting, think big, think artistic. The entryway is a unique part of the house where statement pieces will not feel too cluttered or overbearing. It is your chance to get creative with colors, textures and design features.
Light Lantern Cylinder Pendant
Gold Elegant Drum Style Entryway Lighting
Grey Geometric Lantern Entryway Lighting
Cage Style Entryway Lighting with Crystals
Wooden Rectangle Lantern Entryway Lighting
4 Light Lantern in Geometric Style
  • To tie it in with the rest of the entryway, pick side tables, rugs and art that are in the same color palette. For example, try matching industrial, metallic sconces with similar art frames, or wooden, earthy lampshades with dried flower arrangements and a neutral colored rug. 

It is always worth taking some time to think about the design and layout of your entryway lighting- it is the first impression people will have of your home!

What size light do I put in the foyer?

Every entryway is different. So how do you know what size your foyer chandelier should be?

There are a few simple sizing rules you can follow to ensure that your lighting looks balanced. This will obviously depend on how large your foyer is.

Typically, American ceilings are 8 feet high, but you will find that more modern homes are around 9 to 10 feet. If you have a grand foyer that opens up to the second story, the ceiling will be a minimum of 17 feet high.

As a general rule, lampshades should hang at least 7 feet above the ground. That means that if you have a standard 8-foot ceiling, you will probably need to choose semi-flush lighting and much smaller lampshades.

For grand foyers that reach the second-story of your home, the light should be large enough to reach the first story.

As well as the height of the foyer lighting, you need to calculate the diameter. The size of the lampshade needs to be in proportion to your space.

To calculate the diameter of your foyer light, you can use the equation from Hinkley Lighting Inc. Simply add the length and width of the foyer, and then convert it to inches - this will give you the approximate size for your lampshade.

For example, if your entryway is 8-feet by 6-feet, then your lampshade needs to have a 14-inch diameter to look balanced.

If you are looking for timeless foyer lighting trends that will stay in style for years, here are a few of the best design ideas:

  • Metallic/Industrial - The industrial decor style with its hard edges and exposed metal has become increasingly popular in modern homes, and it is coming back into lighting designs in a slightly more subtle way. For your entryway lighting, you can incorporate this popular style by choosing artistic metal sconces with rods and exposed Edison bulbs, as well as opting gold and matte black finishes.
Black Metal Square Entryway Lighting
Geometric Lantern Metal Entryway Lighting
Metal Industrial Rectangle Entryway Lighting
4 Light Steel Entryway Lighting
Silver Metal Lantern Style Entryway Lighting
Cylinder Entryway Lighting with Iron Accents

Circle Lampshades - For a modern look in a large foyer, go for oversized circle lampshades in earthy tones.

Drum Shaped Circle Lampshades Lighting
5 Light Unique Circle Lampshades
Single Geometric Circle Lampshades Lantern
Silver Circle Lampshades Entryway Lighting
3 Light Cluster Bell Circle Entryway Lighting
Industrial Circle Lampshades Entryway Lighting
  • Wall Sconces - Not all entryway lighting needs to overhead! If you have flush lighting that can't be changed with statement lampshades or don't have the option of changing the position of the wires, wall sconces are an on-trend option to easily update the space. An easy way to install extra lighting is to choose lights that you can plugin and then simply hang them over wall sconces that match your decor. No need for re-wiring!
Brown Box Wall Sconces
1 Light Armed Wall Sconce
1 Light Industrial Aesthetic Wall Sconce
Bulb Shaped Wall Sconce
Vintage Metal Wall Sconces Set
Golden Metal Swing Arm Wall Sconce

What are the best bulbs for entryway lighting?

So what light bulbs will you need for your foyer once you have decided on the design?

  • As a general rule, calculate the square footage of the room and multiply it by 1.5. This should give you the overall wattage required for adequate lighting. For example, if you have a foyer that is 6x12 feet (72 square feet), the overall wattage will need to equal 108. So for a small entryway, two 60W should be sufficient to light the area. 

  • If you want warm lighting, go for yellow bulbs. The wattage will depend on the equation above. 

  • If you have more of a minimal, clean design aesthetic, opting for a white bulb will increase this crisp, modern feeling. Again, you will need to calculate the wattage. If you only have one overhead light, and the maximum 120W bulb is not enough, you may want to look at installing a lamp on a side table for extra lighting.

  • For exposed lighting, put in a bit of effort to find classic Edison style bulbs. Little details like these, rather than standard lightbulbs from the supermarket, will make the most impact.

  • Semi-Flush Lamp Shades - Semi-flush lighting is where the light hangs slightly away from the ceiling, but it is not hanging down like a foyer chandelier. Choosing this style will give you more freedom to tie the lighting in with your aesthetic- whether it is coastal, industrial, rustic or minimal!

What mistakes should be avoided with foyer lighting?

Although foyers are not designed for living in, there are still a few general lighting design mistakes you should avoid if you want ambient, effective lighting.

  • Firstly, if you have a high ceiling, you should not just have flush or recessed lighting pointing straight down. This will result in a lot of wasted energy and dark spaces. Instead, opt for hanging lampshades that have direct beams of light and allow light to come through in every direction.

  • Secondly, make sure you figure out how much light and energy it will take to adequately light the space before you focus on aesthetics. It will be a waste of money and space if you have a beautiful artistic lampshade when really you needed multiple lights.

  • Lastly, don't limit yourself to the existing entryway light fixtures. There may be several overhead lights, however adding freestanding lamps on the ground or on a side table will add to the ambiance when people enter your home. Adding lights next to any entryway mirrors adds practicality and makes the foyer look bigger.

Take the time to find the perfect lighting for your entryway - you will thank yourself every time you come through the front door!