Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Decorator Phoebe Howard shares her formula for establishing the right mood for your foyer.

Furnish it Like a Room. 
"Your foyer sets the tone for your house," says Phoebe. "It can lift you up or let you down." Choose a color palette that leads well into the adjoining spaces. Start with a rug to soften and define the space. Don't automatically go with a runner—let your foyer's size dictate the rug's size. "Consider a wool rug with some pattern for durability," Phoebe says. A console table often works best—just leave plenty of room to greet guests with the door open.

Accessorize Smartly. 
A lamp is essential because it makes your foyer warm and welcoming. Hang a mirror or a piece of art over the table for a pretty focal point, and include a small dish or tray to serve as a catchall for keys and mail. Also add a potted plant. "Having fresh things inside is an instant pick-me-up," says Phoebe.

Indulge All the Senses. "Remember the real estate agents' old trick of baking cookies," says Phoebe. Use a scented candle or fragrant flowers, such as 'Casablanca' lilies, to keep your foyer smelling fresh. And ensure everything is sparkling clean, paying particular attention to door hardware, window glass, and light fixtures.