Decorate with Crafts

15 Ways to Make a Grand Entrance

Wave good-bye to winter and welcome spring with inspiring decorating ideas for your entryway from the Country Sampler stylists

I0309WDWC00t always feels like springtime inside Chris and Walter Sheldon's Arlington Heights, Illinois, home, where bright-colored walls and cottage-style furnishings establish an enticingly cheerful atmosphere. "Our style is warm and cozy," Chris says. "It's comfortable and not formal. Even the 'formal' living room isn't that formal!"

In fact, it was a pair of yellow couches in that living room that inspired the sunny color scheme of the adjoining staircase and entryway that welcome guests into the 100-year-old home. Because of the house's age, Chris and Walter recently took on some remodeling projects to repair its trouble areas. One of their undertakings involved building on an addition in front that resulted in an enlarged entryway -- a space that Chris was eager to furnish. "I found a door-turned-bench at a local store, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it belonged in the entryway," she says.

To get more fresh ideas for outfitting the area, Chris turned to Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker for their creative input. "Chris' cottage style and preference for bright colors make her home the perfect spot for a spring display," Sally-Jo says. "And, because the exterior siding is light yellow, it's a natural introduction to the entryway's darker shade of the same hue."

Catherine adds that coordinating the accessories was key to maintaining the cohesive tone set by the wall colors. "We suggested keeping the style consistent inside and out with lots of bird- and garden-themed decor," she says. "It's amazing how 'put together' your home feels when the inside matches the outside!" Read on for 15 wonderful ways to invite spring style into your entryway.

0309WDWC01 Stack the Deck
1. Be bowled.
  For a clever alternative to an ordinary pot, place a houseplant atop a tower of decorative bowls. Simply stack the bowls inside of each other, using floral foam for height and moss to camouflage the foam. "This is a really easy project, and it's perfect for a sunny porch or an entryway," Sally-Jo says. "Add more garden charm with miniature tools tucked inside."

0309WDWC02Come Home to Roost
2. Pick a pair.
  To complement the cottagey door-turned-bench on one side of the doorway (see last photo), the stylists hung a tea-stained sampler with rustic charm above the coat hooks.
3. Feather your nest.  "Nothing says spring like bird-themed accents," Sally-Jo says, so help your style take flight with a few creative additions. In Chris' entryway, a birdbath relocated from outside offers a spot for a floral arrangement, or even for keys and mail. And, beside the stairs, a salvaged pillar topped with a rustic birdcage holds colorful potted primroses and a cute bird accent.

0309WDWC03Stop and Stair
4. Pop it out.
"In addition to cottage accents, Chris likes a lot of primary colors in her home, so we brought punches of red into the entryway to tie it in with the rest of the house," Catherine says. For visual interest, a basket-design quilted wall hanging, a matching pillow on a painted chair and a red-and-white accent rug contribute graphic pizzazz to the space.
5. Refresh your look.
  The top section of this wicker plant stand typically holds only an oversized fern; Sally-Jo and Catherine revamped the display with a few smaller pots of ivy, red and white tulips, and a church-inspired birdhouse that continues the bird theme found elsewhere in the area.
6. Hop to it.  Along with baskets, flowers and birds, bunnies rank high for their spring-suitable style. Here, a ceramic rabbit peeks out from the bottom of the plant stand, and a primitive bunny picture stands out against the light yellow wall.

0309WDWC04Wreath All About It
7. Plant some pizzazz.
  Place a small terra-cotta pot filled with tulips inside a larger vessel with an overflowing fern for a fun display that really stacks up. To enhance the arrangement, insert a metal flagpole holding a spring-themed flag into the soil in the bottom pot.
8. Roll out the welcome mat. 
It may be underfoot but it's never out of sight, so choose a doormat with an attractive design, such as a monogram or a floral motif.
9. Deck the walls (and doors).
  Dress up a pillar or a post with a cheery sign that greets guests when they arrive. Or, embellish an everyday wreath with a seasonal adornment, such as a pair of gardening tools. "We chose green-handled tools for their color, and tied them on with raffia for natural texture," Sally-Jo says.
10. Shed some light.
  With spring's bountiful sunshine, there's no need to light a lantern. Instead, replace the contents with a faux bird's nest and eggs, an unexpected touch that heralds the warmer weather.
11. Be shelf-centered. 
"Chris' little white wire stand fits perfectly in the small space next to the door," Catherine says. "For the makeover, we loaded it with a variety of seasonal items, including a white clay pot, a tall pail, a watering can and a colorful birdhouse." If frost is still a threat, feel free to fill pots with faux flowers until natural blooms can thrive.

0309WDWC05Simply A-door-able
12. Fill 'er up. 
An oversized, unique piece of furniture, such as this door-turned-bench in Chris' entryway, makes a larger-than-life impact in a small area. Next time you're outfitting a space, think big to maximize your style potential.
13. Have your say.
  "Signs always play double duty in decorating," Sally-Jo says. "Not only do they look attractive, they also help set a tone with their wording." Here, a long stenciled sign greets guests as they enter, and a letter-E plaque subtly announces Easter's arrival.
14. Pursue purses.  "Pretty handbags don't have to be stuck in the back of the closet when they aren't carrying your wallet and keys," Catherine says. "If you have a purse that fits with your decor, bring it out and use it!" The flower embellishment on this tote basket suits the vignette's spring theme and brings in a pop of color to complement the red tulips and primroses.
15. Get eggs-cited! 
Easter decor, such as the cute chick resting on the bench or crackle-finish painted eggs, lend a touch of whimsy to any scene.

Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.

Mixing bowls, Piper Classics

Primitive fabric bunny picture, Painters Alley & Decor
Green Easter chick in birdcage, Blackbird Creations

Quilted wall hanging/throw and pillow, Choices Quilts
Church birdhouse and button flower sampler, Cute as Country
Ceramic whittled rabbit, Mountainberry Candles & Keepsakes

Welcome sign, Huckleberry Hollow Designs
Red license-plate birdhouse, Hoppie Creations
Monogrammed doormat, Country Creations
Bluebird Waterpump flag, Flags for Sail

Spring Blessings stencil, Scrappin' Along Craft Stencils, LLC
Letter-E block, Klages Kollectibles
Flower tote basket, Joanna's Collections
Bonnie Easter-bonnet chick, Henny Penny's House

Written by Elizabeth Preston
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Produced by Dennis Morgan