The view from the front door is the first impression that anyone gets of the inside of your home. So you want it to be warm and welcoming and perhaps give a bit of a clue as to who you are. But hallways can also often be quite difficult spaces; we don’t tend to think of them as a ‘room’ as such, more a passing through place. In the UK, hallways can also often by tiny, difficult spaces to work with. However, as we all do indeed pass through this space multiple times a day, why not try to make it feel special?
What Do You Need From Your Hallway?
For most of us, as well as being the gateway to our home, the hallway is also an area for storing coats and shoes and therefore some practical storage is a must. The decor also needs to be hard-wearing as it has to deal with wet coats and mud from shoes, as well as (in my house!) small hands on the walls as they walk through. The natural light in hallways can also often be muted – they often don’t have any direct light coming in, so colours need to be carefully considered.
I once lived in a house where there was very little natural light in the hallway, and what there was, was north facing. North facing rooms never get bright sun light shining directly into them. The previous owners of the house had painted a feature wall (the wall going up the stairs) in a very dark blackish purple. To me, it just made the space feel incredibly dark and much smaller than it actually was. Several coats of a warm pale neutral later, it felt so much lighter, brighter and more open.
Whilst decor is always very much personal choice, it is worth considering when decorating a hallway, where the natural light comes from and how the light changes during the day. Whilst a really dark colour in a north facing living room might make it feel cosy, in a hallway it could just make it feel claustrophobic. The opposite argument to that is that a really dark hallway can help to emphasise how light and bright all the other rooms are! It just comes down to the look and feel that you want to achieve and what you think feels right in your home.
The other thing to bear in mind when decorating a hallway, is that it links all the other rooms together. So colour choice can be key to helping the rooms to flow and also to achieving a consistent feel across the home.
Paint or Wallpaper (or Both?)
Again, this is entirely personal choice, though from experience the hallway tends to take a bit of a beating – children, dogs, large pieces of furniture; they all go through the front door! So I would always choose hard-wearing paint for a hallway. While wallpaper is great, it might get dirty quite quickly in a high traffic area, and it can’t be easily washed or patched up. That said though, it can look absolutely stunning:
I’ll hold my hands up, I’m the absolute worst for dumping my coat over the end of the newell post! We are very lucky in our house to have a large cupboard under the stairs, however it’s right at the far end of the hallway from the door – so our coats and shoes don’t always make it in there! There’s nothing worse though than coming in to shoes and coats all over the place.
A hallway bench if you have space, gives somewhere to sit while putting shoes on, but also gives a place to store shoes underneath out of the way. Coat hooks or a coat stand are also really useful, personally I prefer to have them on a wall that is behind the area where the front door opens – so that they aren’t the first thing you see when you come in. This all helps to keep the hallway clutter free and give that open welcoming feeling.
The Finishing Touches
As the gateway to your home, it’s important to give your hallway those finishing touches that tell people a bit about you.
Mirrors can be great for adding a bit of personality to a space; they are also practical in a hallway for giving yourself a once over before you go out the door! In a dark hallway they are also good for helping to bounce the light around the room.
Pictures and art work can transform a space and really give it character. A stairs wall can be a great area to have a gallery wall as they are generally the biggest wall in the whole house! Pieces of art can also help to break up a long corridor.
I hope that’s given you some ideas? I’m working on my hallway at the moment – I’m looking forward to showing you what I’ve done!