Tips for a Functional Yet Beautiful Hallway Entrance

Whenever we move, I always fix up the entrance hallway first. It’s the first thing people see and it’s the most used part of the home. It also has a tendency to be a complete mess because we have a tendencty to leave things in the entrance i.e. coat, bags, coins, keys, etc. So I work really hard to design furniture that can keep it organized and clutter free.

the diplomatic wife berlin hallway

Please click on the links below to check where I found the items. All recycled teak furniture on this post was made by Danni Roestam. Contact details at the bottom of this post.

Hallway (after)

I asked myself and thought really hard about, “what are the last things we grab before leaving our home?” Remember those times that you are about to step out of your house, but you remember you forgot something (i.e. cap, shawl, yoga mat, shades…) and it’s such a hassle because you need to remove your shoes and head all the way back to your room? It can be inconvenient and annoying.  That’s what my entry hallway is about. I don’t have to rush back into my room after I’ve put on my shoes because, what I need is already sneakily-hidden in the hallway.the diplomatic wife berlin hallway-002

CLICK HERE to see where I purchased the metallic colored pot (the one with the green leaves sticking out) in Jakarta.

I carefully designed these hard-working but beautiful hallway furniture pieces and had them made in Jakarta. The great thing about them is they are all separate pieces designed to look like one piece when placed beside each other. A cohesive look also makes it look neat and put together. I could have bought traditional console tables like this, which is great in theory but can lead to a very cluttered looking space because there is no storage.

In Jakarta we had a longer but narrower hallway so we had all this furniture on one side. Now we have a wider hallway with 3 wall spaces that are broken up by the doors


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  1. Shoes
  2. Shades
  3. Sports accessories (i.e. goggles, elbow support, pedometer, etc.)
  4. Shawls, cardigans, caps
  5. Sports equipment (i.e. yoga mat, bicycle pump, etc.)
  6. A full length mirror – for that last check  before leaving the flat. Gotta be sure it’s not only the flat that looks put-together! I love that this mirror has a separate base and body. It doesn’t need to be drilled to the wall either. You can read about where I had it made here.
  7. Hidden compartment – yep, that is where I hide all the other crap haha! It is also a hidden charging station. Gotta keep all those wires hidden!



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  1. Floor mat to leave shoes on
  2. Hidden drawer for socks
  3. Bench with hidden drawer
  4. Shell shaped bowl for coins (from Vinoti Living)
  5. Oil burner to greet guests with delicious aromas
  6. DIY Photowall to add some personal touch
  7. Magnetic board to place things that we use often around the house (i.e. timer, level) and things to remember (i.e. DIY birthday calendar, invitations to events, etc.)
  8. Sturdy magazine rack to hold catalogues and magazines that we receive


For me, no entry way is complete unless there is a bench for sitting on when putting on your shoes. (We don’t allow shoes inside the rooms to prevent scratching the parquet flooring and to keep outside dirt out.) The hidden sock drawer under the bench is very convenient. It just makes moresense to me that the socks are stored in the entrance instead of the closets in our room. Grab socks + sit down + put on shoes! I added a sturdy mat to place just-removed-shoes so that it looks neat instead of cluttered. This delineation of space for shoes makes a big difference in making the area look less cluttered , rather than just having shoes all over the floor without a visually marked area for them. This also helps us remember not to leave shoes in other parts of the entrance. The shoe horn is also within easy reach.the diplomatic wife berlin hallway-008

I read in this book, Speed Decorating, that magnetic boards, magazine racks and hooks can really help one place everything in properly instead of just dumping things on available surfaces. I have to agree! I wanted mine to be white to blended with the wall.

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I also placed a white basket on the floor so we can place our last used bags there instead of dumping it on the bench. Does that ever happen to you that there is so much stuff on the bench that you can’t even sit on it? This helps a lot!

DIPLO TIP: If you are like me and tend to lose things inside your bag (“I just can’t remember which bag I had it in!“) then I’ve got the tip for you. Just used bags are dumped into the bag basket if I plan to use them again soon. If not, I put them back in the closet, but not until I’ve checked all the pocket and emptied out all the contents into a special a tray (specifically for this purpose). When I get different bag to use, I transfer stuff from the tray to the bag. I never put bags in the closet, until I’ve emptied out all the pockets. Otherwise I end up not being able to find my things! Especially small things like lipsticks or calling cards.

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Wall #3


This wall has my Indonesia keepsake, a stamp used to make the ubiquitous batique. This wall is mostly decorative.

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  • Framed batik stamp
  • Teak tray with pebbles to hold candles (from Dunia Yogyakarta)
  • Console – used to be my shoe cabinet, but since there is a built in one, we use it as storage for bags
  • Fisherman’s fish basket decorated with a sack cloth

the diplomatic wife berlin hallway-007

I am not fond of batik, however a framed batik stamp is a beautiful keepsake of Indonesia since batik is their traditional fabric and seen worn by everyone in the archipelago, especially on Fridays (wear your batik day). You can buy these framed stamps in stores like Vinoti Living but it will be expensive (IDR 1 – 4 Million). We had a friend visiting Yogyakarta buy the stamp for cheap (IDR 350.000) at Mirota Batik and then had it framed in Koncept Gallery (Kemang Timur, for only IDR 150.000.


The hallway is almost complete. The only thing I haven’t finished yet is the coat closet. Since it is the very first and last stop of anybody coming and going to our home. What are the last-last things we grab before leaving the house?

  • Coat
  • Umbrella
  • Reusable bags for shopping or grocery
  • Trolley for big purchases
  • Keys
  • DiploDogs leash
  • Anything for repair or cleaning

I plan to address these needs once I can think about how to do it in a way that is still pleasing to the eyes. Right now it looks like below with a comparison to how we got the flat. Not much difference except for the custom-made umbrella holderUmbra mail/key holder and my shoe cabinet.

the diplomatic wife berlin hallway-010

I hope you liked this post and it gave you inspiration on how to personalize your foyer or entrance hall so it can serve your entire family better.

What do you think of my tips? Can you share tips of your own on how to have a multi-functioning yet beautiful entrance? I’d love to hear it!


Teak furniture by DANNI ROESTAM

Mobile: +62 818 863326
Other furniture I designed and had Danni build for me here!


Lovely comments

  1. says

    Looks great and beautiful!! I bought the same letter and key holder back in Jakarta before I left and now it was hung on the wall yesterday beside my shoe box. I love it!!

    • says

      Hey Kaho! Thank you so much! I love Umbra products! They are designed so well. And I like that this key/mail holder is so light that I can put this up on the wall without having to drill any holes. Perfect for expats!


  1. […] and can do many different styles. It’s also quite affordable at only IDR 150.000. Right now this framed batik stamp is hanging over my hallway. We did not use teak for this frame or it would be too heavy to hang. I had her to the frame in […]

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