Often narrow, boxy, awkwardly shaped or lacking light, hallways can be tricky to elevate. But they should not be overlooked — they set the tone for the rest of our home so should strike the right note.
The key is to view this area as a room in its own right, rather than a transitional space.
Treat it to a redesign that is both practical and decorative and it will serve as an impactful introduction to your home.
Deck the halls: Add warmth to your hallway with pictures, dark paint and patterned wallpaper
A warm welcome
A well-designed entrance hall will incorporate clever storage, a finish to withstand wear and tear and, where possible, a place to put on shoes, take off coats and store necessities such as keys and post.
Often, a less-is-more approach works best, so start by clearing the area of clutter and assessing where to introduce storage. Bespoke joinery can help with this.
‘I recently commissioned a storage space to accommodate shoes and umbrellas,’ says interior designer Laura Stephens. ‘The shape tapers in, so the front door can open around it.’
Conceal unsightly radiators by doubling them up as console tables. ‘Either clad them with a radiator cover or a simple floating shelf — I’m seeing lots of lovely scallop designs around,’ says interior designer Alice Leigh.
Another option is a classic cast-iron radiator topped with a bench. Try The Radiator Company’s Ancona Bench Seat (pictured), from £1,759, which can be colour-matched.
Hot seat: The Radiator Company’s Ancona Bench Seat (pictured), from £1,759, can be colour-matched
In period properties, consider highlighting features such as cornicing, ceiling roses, encaustic flooring and handrails. In contemporary spaces, aim for a central feature, such as a glass staircase, a frameless picture window or statement lighting.
A significant change such as replacing a solid wall with striking Crittall windows will allow light to be borrowed from adjoining rooms, while updating a front door with larger glass panels will illuminate the area.
Don’t forget your staircase, too. Companies such as Abbott-Wade can re-clad treads, risers and strings in wood, while spindles can be removed and replaced in hardwood, metal or glass.
A styled console table with a mirror can create a welcoming entryway, according to Arterior’s Helen Pett
Stylish small spaces
If space is at a premium, make the most of under-stair storage or drawers set in the stair risers, and opt for a slim table for keys and clutter. You should also install plenty of hooks for coats.
Try Amara’s Retreat Hallway Shelf With Hooks (£113) for a retro, luggage-rack feel. Mirrors will also increase the sense of space.
Let your hallway set the tone for the rest of your home. ‘A styled console table, upholstered bench and decorative mirror, lit with statement sconces either side, works beautifully as a welcoming, considered entryway,’ says Arterior’s Helen Pett. For flooring, add texture with rugs and stair-runners.
Use walls to make a splash with one or two large-scale artworks or a collection of smaller pieces framed identically for a smart look.
In a large hallway, anchor the area with a statement piece of furniture, such as a vintage console topped with a pair of tall and wide table lights.
Go bold and bright
Don’t underestimate the transformative power of paint or paper — a dark staircase in a windowless hall will come to life with a considered colour pop.
‘A bright peach tone gives the hallway a welcoming glow,’ says Helen Shaw, from Benjamin Moore. ‘And if you are working with a long, narrow space, use a moody colour, such as our Old Navy, towards the end to draw the eye through for a more spacious feel.’
Another option is to go bold with a patterned wallpaper.
‘It covers a multitude of sins,’ says Laura Stephens. ‘The busier the repeat, the better. Another approach is to add a strong colour below the dado rail — this gives the space a strong identity.’
Interior designer Roby Baldan, adds: ‘Don’t forget doors — both the inside of the front door and the doors off the hallway.
‘Black doors against a paler wall are elegant, helping to break up a long corridor while creating spatial balance.’
For the perfect finishing touch, oversized decorative pendants instantly inject interest, while a mixture of sconces and lamps will introduce soft pools of light, setting an instantly welcoming mood.
Savings of the week! Nest tables
A nest of tables is a useful thing if you like to entertain.
First made by renowned English cabinetmaker Thomas Sheraton in the late 18th century, these small tables reduce the risk of drinks being spilled on carpets and rugs.
You can also use them to display a vase or other accessories.
Built to last: The Ercol Windsor nest of three tables has been reduced from £1,336 to £1,059 at Furniture Village
Bargains are on offer on various styles of these tables. At La Redoute, the set of two Edric Nesting Side Tables in Brass has been reduced from £160 to £104 — that’s a 35 per cent reduction.
If you favour a mid-century Scandinavian aesthetic, Oak World’s Herning two-table set in beech and white oak veneer should suit.
The price has come down nearly 30 per cent, from £309 to £219. Or, for a style to complement a cottage interior, try the Carmel three-table set from Wayfair. It’s been reduced from £137.99 to £115.99, a 16 per cent cut.
Ercol Windsor’s nest of tables has been reduced from £1,335 to £1,059 at Furniture Village.
That may not seem much of a bargain, but this solid ash piece, designed in the 1950s, is made to last.