An entryway can reveal a lot about someone. Do they toss their keys in a catchall bowl or tuck them away in a drawer? Do they use the front hall as a dumping ground for daily gear or is their coatrack next-level tidy? These are the details that shape our first impressions.

There’s more to designing a great entry than topping a console with a few trinkets and a vase. And while there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, we’ve noticed that all our favorite entryways share a handful of key characteristics. Here are seven things you’ll always find.

A High-Contrast Mirror

PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEPHEN BUSKEN Photography by @ERICAREITMAN

Bordering on the avant-garde, Ben and Aja Blanc’s signature Half Moon mirror makes an immediate statement. In designer Shannon Wollack’s Los Angeles home, the borderless piece is surrounded by translucent accents, including a pair of elongated sconces and a vintage glass chandelier.

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Half Moon Mirror by Ben and Aja Blanc, The Future Perfect ($2400)
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A Vintage Runner

pHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY RYAN Photography by @LONNYMAG

Of all the reasons you should be buying your rugs vintage, it’s for the simple fact that they promise instant character. A bold Turkish option, like the one in this Manhattan apartment, designed by Lori Paranjape, lays a solid foundation for furniture. Given the piece has already proved it can stand the test of time, you won’t have to worry about it taking a beating from shoes or pets.

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1900s Antique Persian Karabagh Rug, Chairish ($3800)
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Leaning Art

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA HUDSON FOR SOCIETY6 Photography by deardesigner.co.uk

Art instantly makes an entryway feel personal. If you are short on wall space or afraid of losing your security deposit, skip the hardware and casually lean your favorite prints. Holli Zollinger landed on a laid-back, nail-free look for her minimal entry by letting the plaster walls and rad credenza shine.

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Summer Urban Landscape Print by Alisa Galitsyna, Society6 ($49.99)
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Breezy Lighting

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARISA VITALE Photography by brit.co

The two best words that can come out of a guest’s mouth the moment they walk through the front door are warm and inviting. George Nelson’s bubble lamp is both of those things. Seemingly made with sun-drenched hallways in mind, his iconic lanterns deliver a sense of lightness that high-traffic spaces often lack. In this restored mid-century home by Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs, the airy fixture provides a point of contrast for the saturated runner and rich woods.

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Nelson Ball Bubble Pendant, YLighting
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Round Coat Hooks

pHOTOGRAPHY BY DYLAN LARK Photography by dreamywhites.blogspot.com

Never mind curb appeal, Barnaby Lane founder Rae Maxwell’s soulful entryway has serious curve appeal. Whether used to catch jackets or house hats, these knobby accessories will one-up the front-hall closet any day.

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Punched Metal Hook Large by Julien Renault, Hem ($29)
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A Cool Stool

PHOTO BY MIA BAXTER Photography by trendhunter

We have a lot of respect for Consuelo Pierrepont Spitler’s “buy only what you love” ethos, and the designer’s Austin entry is a testament to the power of tossing out the rule book. Blurring the lines between a desk and a vanity, the unconventional arrangement defies all norms by inviting you to pull up a seat and stay a while. Unlike a full-size bench, a short-and-sweet stool can be tucked away beneath a table or pushed to the side when not in use.

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Calo Stool, Anthropologie ($96)
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Oversize Branches

photo by Colin Price Photography by skonahem

Fussing over a fancy flower arrangement with a short life span isn’t just time-consuming—it can get expensive. Take your greenery game to new heights by committing to a long-term solution. Clara Jung’s tiny pink Victorian home is a shining example of what can happen when you elevate a vignette with a wispy bundle of branches.

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Faux Dancing Lady Orchid Branch, West Elm ($44)
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This story was originally published on April 28, 2019. It has been updated. 

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