Hallways can be tricky areas to decorate and are all too often overlooked. They are difficult to keep tidy for starters. Most become choked with coats, bikes, unwanted post, extra keys and all manner of everyday clutter, so why even attempt to make them look nice? Because they are the first room visitors see, and it’s important to make a first impression. That’s why. With a little planning, decluttering, and careful thought, it is possible to create a hallway that is practical and stylish.
French Farmhouse Console Table from Oak Furnitureland.
A lot of hallways are narrow but finding stylish storage solutions to fit the space is not all that difficult. A console table with drawers will allow you to hide keys from sight, and provide a surface for more decorative items. Add some baskets for hats and gloves and a few hooks for coats and you have everything where you need them. The trick to keeping this looking nice is to ruthlessly edit what you are hanging on those hooks. Put winter coats away when they are not needed and only hang the coats, unbrellas and hats that you use every day.
A good alternative to a console table is a low bench with storage for shoes underneath. Somewhere handy to perch while pulling on the wellies but also somewhere to drop bags before they are put away.
Wall Hooks from Amara (available from September).
Practical and Stylish Flooring
Hallways get a lot of footfall, not to mention muddy pawprints, and dirty pram wheels trailing through. Practical flooring is a must but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. In fact it’s a great opportunity to make a statement with patterned tiles, hardwearing solid wood or rustic flagstones. All of which are easy to keep clean and will improve with age. Those Victorians knew what they were doing with those beautiful encaustic tiles!
Havisham Navy Wallpaper and Sidmouth Oak Effect Storage Bench from (affiliate link) Dunelm (available August 2020).
Wall Treatments That Will Endure
What you decide to use on the walls will depend on your home and your tastes but there is something for everyone. Washable paint in light and airy or deeply dramatic shades is always an option, but walls will get a lot of knocks and so be prepared to re-paint often. Traditional anaglypta used on the lower half of the walls is having a resurgence due to its practibility. It’s able to withstand knocks much better than painted plaster and can look sensational. Wallpaper will make a statement and often hide the odd scrape but be careful where you use it. Wallpapering every few years is not fun. Wood panelling is a good option if you have straight walls. It’s tougher than most wall coverings and can look very stylish.
Autumn Hall Lights from (affiliate link) Lights 4 Fun.
Light The Way
Most hallways will have a central pendant so why not hang something that really makes a statement. If money is tight even an oversized shade will create impact. Wall lights are also a good choice as they are high enough not to get in anyone’s way. But consider a lamp or occasional light that can be left on during those darker days. Not only will it provide soft and practical light when moving from room to room but it will create a welcoming glow when visitors arrive too.
Hamlet Heathers Twist Carpet In Grey Stone from Carpetright.
Hallways don’t have to be bland and boring. A little colour can go a long way. Even if you are an all-white decorator, you will no doubt introduce colour in some other way. In the hallway this could be in the form of artwork or just a hint of colour to highlight period features, bannisters, and door frames. Long narrow spaces often benefit from some punctuation marks to break them up and create visual interest.
Notgrove Hallway Bench And Fulbrook Mirror from Garden Trading.
Mirrors are my secret weapon when designing hallways. Not only do they throw light around when it may be sadly lacking, but they come in all sorts of decorative shapes and sizes. And they are practical of course, for checking hair, makeup and whether your hat is on straight before you walk out the door.
Period Etched Glass Effect Design by Purlfrost.
Don’t Forget The Front Door
You may think the outside view of your front door is the most important view. Well that may be the case, but it’s no excuse for ignoring the view from the hall. It’s a great place to experiment with bold and unexpected colour for starters. Door curtains my be out of fashion currently (never say never) but window film will add colour or pattern whilst providing some welcome privacy too.
Ferm Living Plant Box from Nest.
Add Some Decorative Items
Now here’s the chance to add some personality with those all important last touches. A table lamp if space allows, an art wall, house plants, or a vase of fresh flowers. All of which say welcome. This is not the time to add a bowl of dusty pot pourri, last year’s dried flowers or anything that isn’t practical or stylish.