The First Class Reception was a room located on D Deck, at the foot of the Grand Staircase. The First-Class Dining Saloon on D-Deck was preceded by a large Reception Room, measuring 460 m2 (4,951 sq ft), located at the foot of the forward Grand Staircase and encompassing the entire width of the ship. An ornate candelabra rested on the middle railing at the base of the staircase, the light oak color of which contrasted warmly with the white-painted Reception Room. The Reception area would have been the first impression of the Titanic for many First-Class passengers entering through the two semi-enclosed entry vestibules on either side of the staircase. Around the corner from the Reception Room, forward of the staircase, was the set of three First-Class elevators which ran the length of the stairwell.
The Titanic and Olympic both featured duplicate entrance vestibules on their port and starboard sides within the D-Deck Reception Rooms. There were sets of double gangway doors within the hull, screened by wrought-iron grilles. The vestibules were partially enclosed areas in the same white Jacobean-style paneling and each contained a large sideboard for storing china. One set of French doors led into the Reception Room, but there was also a broad arched entryway leading to the elevators. Separate corridors led off of the vestibules to the First-Class staterooms in the forward part of D-Deck.
The Titanic's vestibules differed from those on the Olympic – they were reduced in size to make the Reception Room larger and they eliminated the communicating corridor between the two sides in order to enlarge the elevator foyers. The Olympic vestibules contained Third-Class staircases that led down to E-Deck, which were eliminated on Titanic, and the elaborate wrought-iron grilles which covered the gangway doors were unique to Titanic.
It was reported that during the sinking 2nd Officer Lightoller ordered crew members to open the port side gangway doors on D-Deck for loading more passengers into the lifeboats nearer to sea level. The 1986 expedition confirmed that one of the port-side doors was wide open and the inner doors pulled back. This would have significantly increased the Titanic's flooding if the crew neglected to close doors.