For the last few days I have been working -- on and off -- on creating our front entry way. The major inspiration for tackling this part of the house came from the January 14th Cure assignment (linked). Since moving into the house, I have given minimal attention to this area of the house and it shows.
At first, we had the entertainment center right next to the front door. It didn't really work for me because the window was blocked by the television and we had to reach through one of the cubes to get to the lights. Our house doesn't have a dedicated mudroom, so once you walk in the front door you are directly in the living room. Making matters more interesting, the "coat" closet is across the room and up three stairs. We quickly realized that something needed to be done since neither of us were keen on walking through the living room to the coat closet as soon as we got home to drop off shoes and jackets.
After reorganizing the living room into a different configuration, we had a defined entry way. We added a place to hang our coats, a rug, and a bench to help provide a defined space for our stuff. Yet, something still seemed to be missing.
After reading the challenge guidelines and reviewing some pictures for inspiration, I realized that what was missing was a place to put our mail and the other stuff that comes inside. Since I didn't want to spend any money on providing an entry way, I re-purposed the bookcase from the office to serve as a place to put mail, shoes, and dog stuff. In addition, the bookcase sits next to the couch. Now we have a place to put drinks while we watch television or play games.
By reorganizing the room and using existing furniture in a new way, we were able to create a welcoming entryway and cozy living room out of one room. I still plan on painting the door white so that it blends in with the interior and changing out the mini-blinds for some Roman shades, but so far the downstairs seems to be coming together nicely.