A Warm Welcome – Making the Most of Your Hallway
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so getting your hallway décor spot-on is really important. However, because they are often small, dark, awkwardly shaped or simply too well-used, hallways often get neglected when it comes to design.
We come in from a long day and drop shoes and keys or pile up dog leads in our eagerness to settle down or tend to the rest of the house, and the hallway becomes a sort of dumping ground. Hallways deserve more of our attention, so we’ve put together some top tips to get you inspired to give your space an update.
Making it ‘life-proof’
From kids to dogs to guests, the hallway sees a lot of traffic so making your walls and floors hardy and easy to clean is the number one priority.
This makes tiles ideal: not only are they a practical flooring choice for hallways (they’re easy to clean, hide dirt and scuffs, and are ideal for high traffic areas) they can be very attractive. Give a traditional Victorian floor a modern twist by opting for monochrome and keep the rest of the space really simple so the flooring doesn’t feel too busy.
For walls, it can be worth experimenting with darker colours. Yes, the hallway is often small and dark, especially in period homes, but there are other ways to bring light into the area (more on that later) and dark colours can hide a multitude of sins. If you really don’t want too much dark paint in the hallway, consider installing a dado rail and painting dark colours below it, with lighter colours above (we recommend putting the rail at muddy dog height!)
As for what paint you use: a good quality, wipe-down paint is the best bet. It’s all very well plumping for that gorgeous suede-effect paint or designer wallpaper, but when you’re trying to wipe off the mud from your latest gardening exploits, you may come to regret it.
Let there be light!
How do you bring light back into the hallway if you’re using darker paint or tiles? First of all, you don’t need to rely on just your ceiling light – wall sconces look gorgeous when mixed with simple vintage décor, while halls without room for a table can benefit from a standard lamp. You can make lighting the main feature of your hallway, with a bold statement floor-lamp or ornate ceiling light.
Another way to add light is with mirrors. A large one placed to reflect light from windows or the front door will flood the area with light and make it seem bigger. (Not to mention it’s great for last-minute hair touch-ups before hitting the town!)
Add a console table
A console table is the perfect addition to a hallway as it allows you to display fresh flowers from the garden, your favourite sculpture that you want your guests to see, or a seasonal arrangement to mark the passing of the seasons. Make sure the table has a drawer or cupboard compartment and you’ll have somewhere easily accessible to pop your keys or wallet so they don’t clutter the area.
Add a feature wall
If you are decorating a narrow hallway, or you are otherwise squeezed for space, feature walls are a great way to add plenty of personality without taking up any square footage. It can simply be one that’s painted a different colour, but why not make it more personal? Get your kids’ drawings professionally framed and labelled as if the hall were an art gallery, or print out landscape photos from your favourite holidays to create a timeline of your family adventures.
Make use of storage space
The space under the stairs is prime real estate for storage, but don’t let it become just a dumping ground for shoes and bags, make it part of the design. If you need to use it for less aesthetically-pleasing items like shoes and umbrellas, opt for built-in closed storage that fits seamlessly into the space. You could make it a feature by wallpapering or painting the doors. If you have shoe storage elsewhere, why not go for a beautiful bookcase? Display books, candles, plants and more to turn that boring space into a real feature.
If your hallway is really tight then use a wall-mounted shelf to save space. Make sure it’s thoroughly secured to stop it toppling and try to find one with rounded corners in case of bumps. Hallways can be busy spaces, particularly in family homes, so making sure it’s robust is a must.
Use rugs not carpet
Carpets aren’t practical for a hallway, but you can add some softness underfoot by throwing down a rug. A single runner is great for lengthening a narrow room or go for a few shorter mismatching rugs dotted along the space for a more laid-back look.
Rugs can add a splash of colour and personality to a plain hallway, are easy to wash (if you get the right ones) and cheaper to replace than carpet. They can be easily stored so you can have several and swap them around for a different look each season.