Entryways not only connect the outside of your home to your interior (see my last two blog posts, Entryways and Interior Design – Moving from the Outside, In – Furniture and Color on the Walls, they are the first impression of your home’s style and who you are.  Is your home traditional?






Have a small entryway?


Lighting is extremely important in any interior; for an entryway, there is typically some kind of overhead fixture, that will allow you to see where you are going!  

What if you only have a recessed fixture?? There are kits that allow you to convert the recessed light to one that will accept other types of fixtures.  Amazon, Home Depot and other retailers carry these conversion kits.  You can then add a flush or semi-flush fixture, or depending on ceiling height, even a pendant or chandelier.  Or you may already have a ceiling mounted fixture, but it’s time for an upgrade. How do you decide what type and size of fixture?

Ceiling fixture size...width.

Let’s start with how to determine the correct ceiling fixture size: one rule of thumb is to take the entryway width and add that number in feet to the height (also in feet) which will give you the diameter of the fixture in inches.  If you have a small entryway, and your width measurement is 4 feet, and your ceiling height is 8 feet, you would select a fixture with a 12 inch diameter.

This is by no means a hard rule;  think of it as a guideline.  For this space, if you were to find a great 14 inch diameter fixture, go for it!   If you prefer oversize fixtures, there is no problem with going larger, but be aware of both the diameter and the height of any fixture.


What about ceiling fixture height?? If you have a lower ceiling, a flush or semi-flush fixture may make the most sense, but with a taller ceiling, the height of the fixture can increase with an increase in ceiling height;  pendants and chandeliers are a great choice for higher ceilings.

A rule of thumb for taller ceilings is 2-3 inches of height for every foot of ceiling height.  For a 12 foot ceiling, you could select a 24-36 inch fixture height.  In a larger entryway, you may be able to also add sconces, particularly if there is a table or chest against one wall.





Make sure that you pick a ceiling fixture with adequate lighting for the area (at least 800 lumens, but ideally more, 1100 lumens) and put it on a dimmer.  Also, I don’t recommend table or floor lamps in small entryways, since they are easy to knock over; they are fine in larger entryways, where table or floor lamps are not in danger of being bumped.

Color temperature is also something to be aware of, for any room; what is it?  It’s how cool or warm the light being emitted from a fixture is.  On the chart below, going from left to right,, warmer light that makes us and our surroundings (living rooms, bedrooms, etc.) warmer is typically in the high 2000’s (measured in degrees Kelvin), second from the far left.  I would recommend 2700K for entryways.


For task areas, like kitchens and baths, slightly cooler warm light (measured in degrees Kelvin) is usually a good choice (like 3000K). And some lighting experts recommend even cooler light, in the 4000K range for task work in offices, garages, etc., with commercial applications approaching daylight, at over 6000K.

It is best to match the color temperature of all the light fixtures in one area, so if you have multiple fixtures in your entryway, select light bulbs or integral LED fixtures in the same color temperature.  And you can find color temperature information on any light bulb packaging;   if a fixture comes with an integrated LED, the color temperature will be specified in the fixture details.

As always, select a fixture (just like other details…) that makes a connection to the rest of your home!