Use an oversized urn with a sprawling palm tree. A 19th century Victorian Hall Tree in the right home would be beautiful and functional. An antique store would be the best place to look for a piece like this or better yet an auction or estate sale. Use a pair of corbels topped with marble or a pair of iron supports topped with glass for a shelf to hold a vase of flowers, keys and mail.
If you are using a pricey rug in your entry. Do what I do. Protect it with a small washable throw rug. Covering the spot most traveled on a daily basis. Then for special occasions stow the throw rug in the closet. Meanwhile, the better rug will stay clean. No space for a rug? Paint an interesting design on the floor. There are a wide variety of stencils that you can use if you do not consider yourself an artist. Be sure to use a sealer topcoat to ensure your painted design holds up to heavy traffic and will clean up easily.