Leading the way
First impressions can be everything – so here are some tips for transforming your hallway into a room that will set the stage for anyone entering your home.
A marathon’s worth of shoes tread along our entrance halls over their lifetime. This well-trodden route leads the way to the heart of the home, but it’s often taken for granted as the means to the end – a bit of a dumping ground on the way to the kitchen for a cuppa when you get home from work, to the living room for some after-school TV, or the place where you stand to shout ‘supper’s ready’ up the stairs to your teenagers.
First impressions aren’t just for Rightmove, though they can make or break a house viewing - it’s hard to give the rest of a house a chance if the hall lets you down. More importantly though, our hallways create a sub-conscious feel-good factor, our own first impression, when we come home. It’s time to go the extra mile.
The catchphrase ‘basic, better, best’ borrowed from the Antiques Roadshow is a great one to have in mind. The basics are the floor and the walls; useful solutions for coats and shoes make it better. And best of all are your own finishing touches that make this a lovely space that welcomes you in.
Take four steps into your hallway – flooring, walls, storage and lighting – and you’ll be well on your way to making a grand entrance.
Top tip: Think of your hallway as another room in your house. It’s a statement about what you like, a glimpse of what makes you feel at home. It’s not just about slimline furniture and coat hooks, though of course you need to make the most of an often limited space in a practical way.
The floor is yours
Hallway flooring can be vibrant to catch the eye or neutral to keep things cool, calm and collected - but it does need to be practical if it’s going to stand up to all the traffic. An inset doormat, fitted from wall to wall, is a practical option for catching muddy footprints. A simple bench to sit on, with baskets tucked underneath, is a polite invitation to sit down and take off outdoor shoes. And, if the message is still not loud and clear, a patterned runner will save the day at the same time as looking warm and cheerful. A heavy-duty style is less likely to have a will of its own - it’ll stay in place, and won’t do battle with the vacuum cleaner!
Tiles, wood or laminate flooring will all stay the course. Bright patterned tiles will hide stray footprints and pawprints whilst adding a hint of heritage to a modern home. Real wood floors are often on a wish list but will need some TLC over time, whilst the ‘can’t tell the difference’ laminates and vinyls are game-changers and are easy to keep clean. Whatever your preference, thinking carefully about hallway flooring is always going to be a step in the right direction.
Off the wall
The golden rule on wall colour in a small space used to be the paler the better. However, some rules are there to be broken, and we’ve all become brave and bold with signature walls in our homes. Think carefully before you add wallpaper patterns on the walls - although we've seen some of our ambassadors creating bold statements which are a joy to behold. A darker, rich hallway colour with white skirting boards, white picture frames, and simple white accessories. It’s all about give and take, and it’s a slimline version of what you might do on a larger scale in your other rooms.
You can also go to town hanging your favourite pictures in a hallway. Frames, spacing, and scale create an art collection in their own right. Draw a line if you need to create a child-friendly version though, they need to be safely out of reach.
Top tip: If you want to keep colour to a minimum, don’t forget the greens. A little house plant on a hallway shelf, or a tall one in a pot between two doorways, is a perfect finishing touch. A little bit of inside-outside in the very space in your home that’s there to link the two.
In an ideal world, cloakrooms and understairs cupboards would be the answer to our storage solutions. In the real world coats, shoes and school bags seem to miraculously multiply until those purpose-built spaces overflow. If you can keep coats out of the hall and out of sight, then so much the better. Hanging hooks on the back of a cloakroom door will leave the walls in the ‘smallest room’ clear, making the most of the utility room for a row of coat pegs, and fitting a pull-out hanging rail in the cupboard under the stairs will save you any hang-ups about clutter.
There’s a whole range of free-standing storage to choose from with hallways in mind. From friendly baskets that add a natural look, to sleek space-saving lockers for an out-of-sight approach, the main thing to remember is that it’s got to be easy, or the neat and tidy novelty might wear off!
Light the way
At last, it’s time to shine a light on all your ideas. Treat a ceiling light as you would a stylish clock or mirror on the wall. It’s a focal point whatever the time of day, so splashing out on a shade is money well spent. Time for a light bulb moment too, as that’s a choice that can make all the difference between bright instead of harsh, gentle instead of dull. Give yourself the option of wall lights to create a different atmosphere. Finally, you could make the most of a console table for a well-placed lamp on a time-switch – a very grown-up version of a nightlight – just the thing to light the way for a discreet midnight trip to the fridge.
SHOWCASE YOUR STYLE
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